ESPN wasn't kind to the Jacksonville Jaguars in their latest rankings. Despite the fact that they manhandled the Indianapolis Colts in the opener, they got a pretty low spot in their index. On the other hand, most NFL power rankings reflect the Jags' promising performance in Week 1.
Although Eric Edholm of NFL Media hasn't ranked Jacksonville in the top 5 yet, he placed them at No. 7, an improvement of two spots. Similarly, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk left them in the same spot as last week because he thinks the game was closer than it should've been.
Florio sort of has a point. At one point, the game was tied. Then, Indy got ahead of the scoreboard when defensive tackle DeForest Buckner scooped a fumble for a touchdown. Then again, the Jags bounced back and took control of the game. First, they answered with a touchdown of their own. They then scored a field goal and later reached the end zone again to make it 31-21. Also to counter Florio's argument, a win is a win no matter how dominant (or ugly) it is. And that's the thing, the Jaguars won, something the Kansas City Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills, and the Cincinnati Bengals cannot claim they did in the opener.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, for his part, ranked the Jags at No. 3, noting that even in a day in which they "didn't look great on offense", they managed to score 31 points. Surprisingly, the Bleacher Report staff placed Jacksonville at No. 9, describing their performance against the Colts as "uneven".
The Jaguars should keep moving up in Power Rankings during the 2023 season
Power rankings are fluid and most pundits understand that teams need Week 1 to get loose. This is why you will see the Chiefs, Cincy and the Bills getting high spots despite the fact that they lost in the opener. Having said that, the Jaguars most definitely deserve a spot in the top 5. You could argue that Indy doesn't look great but good teams are supposed to take care of business and Jacksonville did when they disposed of the Colts in the opener.
Now, things will get tougher in Week 2, when the Jags face a Kansas City club that will want to avoid starting 0-2 in 2023. Even though Patrick Mahomes has a subpar supporting cast, he can overcome the lack of talent around him and win games. Also working in the Chiefs' favor is that defensive tackle Chris Jones is back after a holdout. The fact that the Jags could be without starting center Luke Fortner and right guard Brandon Scherff paints a bit of a bleak picture.
The good news is that the Jaguars have more than enough firepower to counter the Chiefs' offense. Led by Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville can put points on the scoreboard at ease. In Week 1, the Colts did a good job of containing Christian Kirk but that left Calvin Ridley, Zay Jones and tight end Evan Engram with plenty of favorable matchups. If the offensive line can give Steezy Trev ample time to throw, they'll have a shot at beating the 3.5-point favorite Chiefs.
Beating Kansas City won't be an easy task despite the fact that the game will be at EverBank. But if the Jaguars manage to pull off the upset leaving them out of the top 5 in power rankings will be questionable.