Jacksonville Jaguars Real Strength of Schedule for the 2023 NFL Season

What do the sportsbooks think of the 2023 Jacksonville Jaguars and what is a reasonable expectation for the number of wins?
Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars / Mike Carlson/GettyImages

Many analysts still rely on 2022 NFL season records when evaluating strength of schedule (SoS) for the upcoming football season. Whether it be a reluctance to embrace the sports gambling world or believing the past is the best indicator of future success, this outdated philosophy misleads fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars and every other club nearly every year.

Instead, using information such as projected season win totals posted by sportsbooks can provide a much clearer picture of the projected success and SoS for an upcoming year.

Why the Jaguars 2022 records shouldn't be used to predict 2023 success?

Using your opponent’s record in the previous year is not an indicator of how strong your schedule is in 2023. Instead, it is an indicator of how strong that schedule would have been the prior season. Look no further than a team playing the New York Jets in 2023. According to this old-age metric, the Jets are projected to be a seven-win team in 2023.

Compare this to the Minnesota Vikings, who finished with 13 wins in 2022. According to the major sportsbooks right now, New York has an over/under (essentially expected win total) of 9.5, while the Vikings have an O/U of 8.5. Yet, according to the older metric, you would rather face the Jets than Minnesota this season.

Using sportsbook O/U’s and its shortcomings

Instead of looking at the past year’s record, it is better to look at the projected win totals for your opponent’s upcoming seasons. Of course, these are far-from-perfect projections but the fact of the matter is that these sportsbooks make their money by setting accurate projections and adjusting based on experts.

Of course, using this approach alone has its downsides. Aside from the unknowns (injuries during the season), there are factors that can lead to easier or tougher schedules that are not taken into account just looking at season win totals.

For example, you want to play teams that are starting rookie quarterbacks early in the season. While the Jags benefit from this early (Colts Week 1, Texans Week 3, Colts Week 6), they play Carolina in Week 17, giving Bryce Young an expected 15 weeks as a starter under his belt.

What do the numbers say about the Jaguars’ Strength of Schedule?

The traditional approach gives the Jaguars the 23rd toughest schedule with an average 2022 opponent winning percentage of .477. Using 2023 season win total projections, Jacksonville is tied for the 16th toughest schedule with an average opponent winning percentage of .503.

The Jaguars’ current 2023 season O/U win total is set at 9.5 (Tied-7th) and they are favored to win 10 of the 17 games. According to league-average, this does mean their season win total is slightly inflated based on the individual games:

The Browns and Jaguars projected win totals for the 2023 season are not the same

Notice in the graphic above, the Jaguars have the same O/U and number of games they are favored in as the Browns. But why?

Looking just at the sportsbooks game lines, both teams are favored in 10 of their 17 games. However, in the games they are favored in, the Jaguars have an average spread of 4.25 points while the Browns is 2.75, meaning that for the games the sportsbooks expect the Jaguars to win, they expect them to beat their opponent by an average of 4.25 points.

On the other hand, bettors expect the Browns to beat their opponents by 2.75. In fact, the only game where the Jags are favored by less than three points is against the Ravens (one point), while Cleveland is a slim favorite (less than three points) in five games.

Looking at the projected losses, the Jaguars are heavy underdogs (expected to lose by 3+ points) in 2 games (Chiefs and Bills) with an average spread of 1.6 points. Meanwhile, the Browns are also heavy underdogs in two games (Bengals Week 18 and Ravens Week 10), but their average spread is 2.2 points.

What does this mean for the Jaguars in 2023?

Using more modern metrics, the Jaguars' strength of schedule is a bit tougher than the traditional metric would indicate. Regardless, the Jaguars do appear to be slightly undervalued in their season win total when compared to current sportsbook game spreads.

Do you have any questions on the data or anything else you would like to see in these articles going forward? Post your comment below or reach out to me on Twitter @DuvalAndrew904.

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