The Jacksonville Jaguars are off to a good start in 2023. They're 5-2 and have a two-game lead in the AFC South. It's fair to say that they're currently among the best teams in the league, and that's reflected in most power rankings heading into Week 8.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and Pete Prisco of CBS Sports put the Jags at No. 3, ahead of teams like the Miami Dolphins, the Buffalo Bills, and even the Detroit Lions. Jacksonville also cracked Bleacher Report's top 5. On the other hand, they failed to make the cut in The 33rd Team, landing at No. 6 in their ranking.
For their part, B/R says it's time to start paying attention to the Jaguars after beating the New Orleans Saints, while Prisco points out that their offense isn't clicking but there are signs it's coming. Ryan Raynolds of The 33rd Team doesn't have a particular reason for keeping Jacksonville out of the top 10. He may just see the Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Ravens as better teams.
The Jaguars are among the seven NFL teams that have won at least five games (the Chiefs and the Eagles have won six each), so they are most definitely one of the top clubs in the league. That said, not everyone is going to agree on their exact place in the top 5 or 10. If they keep winning though, it will be hard to keep snubbing them.
The Jacskonville Jaguars are off to a good start in 2023, they must step on the gas pedal
That said, the Jags will have a chance to solidify their spot as an upper-echelon team when they visit the Steelers in Week 8. Pittsburgh is 4-2 but their offense has their work cut out, ranking 26th in points scored and 31st in total yards in the NFL. Their defense, led by edge rusher T.J. Watt, has lots of talent but hasn't been as dominant as it was in the previous year.
The game will be held at Acrisure Stadium, so Pittsburgh will have a home-field advantage. Then again, the Jaguars have played well on the road this season, having beaten the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints at Lucas Oil Stadium and the Superdome, respectively. Their game against the Buffalo Bills at Tottenham Hotspur also counted as an away game, so it's fair to say Jacksonville can beat the Steelers, especially when you take into account that their offense and defense have gotten better the last few weeks.
Their offense is no longer plagued by drops and the offensive line has done a good job of protecting Trevor Lawrence. Meanwhile, the defense has made it difficult for opposing teams to reach the end zone early in games. Also, they lead the league in defense in takeaways. But if that wasn't enough, several key contributors will return to the lineup soon.
Defensive end Davon Hamilton started the season on Injured Reserve but has returned to practice. Maybe he'll make his 2023 debut against the Steelers. Offensive line Walker Little and wide receiver Zay Jones may not be available for Week 8 but they're close to coming back.
Simply, the Jacksonville Jaguars are starting to turn heads, and if they go 6-2 into their BYE week, it will be hard for analysts not to see them as a top 3-5 team in the league.