The Jacksonville Jaguars came out on top in Week 1. It was a tremendous week for a team that will send shockwaves through the AFC or the rest of the year. Yet, with everything going Jaguar's way, ESPN's Football Power Index still disrespects the Jags and has their rank unchanged at No. 12. With this in mind, let's take a deeper dive into the wins and losses to find out where the Jaguars sit in the AFC's landscape.
Good teams win, great teams cover. Even though the Jaguars weren't flawless, they were still impressive and doubled the spread of -4.5, winning by 10. The margin of victory would have been even higher if not for the ridiculous complete fluke of the Tank Bigsby fumble. It was a solid win all around.
The Jaguars were the only AFC South to win. The rest of the division dramatically underperformed. Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud struggled, Ryan Tannehill was atrocious for the Tennessee Titans with three picks, while Anthony Richardson showed some exciting promise but left the game limping. What the consensus believed pre-season is true: the AFC South belongs to Jacksonville.
14 of the Jags' 2023 opponents went 5-9, but four of these wins came against another opponent. The San Francisco 49ers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cleveland Browns beat the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Carolina Panthers lost to the Falcons. Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneer's win over the Minnesota Vikings was a pure, unaffected win.
The Bengals, Steelers, and Bills were exposed, weighed, and found wanting in Week 1. Those were three games on the schedule that the Jaguars were underdogs in at the beginning of the season. The Chiefs, Bills, and Bengals all lost and ranked higher than the Jaguars on the power rankings.
The Ravens and Dolphins were the only AFC team ranked above the Jaguars that won. Neither had as impressive of a win as the Jaguars. The Browns leaped the Jaguars after their moderate win over a below-average Pittsburg team.
The Jaguars should be ranked fifth by all reasonable standards. While it looked like a fantasy for the Jaguars to seize the No.1 seed in the Playoffs, everything is coming up Millhouse in Jacksonville. It was the most ideal shakeout in Week 1, topped off by a season-ending injury to the Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Now, the Jags have a better-than-anticipated chance of sweeping the South, while there are contentious battles in every other division.
Week 2 will most certainly not go as well for the Jaguars. They will face their biggest challenge of the season in hoasting the Chiefs, where they are now 3-point underdogs, down from +7 last week. But if the Jaguars can manage the upset, the Bengals show up and challenge the Ravens, the Raiders continue their play and pull off a win against the Bills, and the Chargers walk all over the Titans, it will be another impeccable week.
If it all shakes out, the Jaguars should be in the top three of the NFL Football Power Index next week, and I'll follow up with you then. Hopefully, the disrespect will end then.