SI makes bleak bold prediction for the Jacksonville Jaguars' 2024 NFL season

• The Jaguars are expected to bounce back in 2024 but what if they don't?

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) wipes his face as he walks off the field after
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) wipes his face as he walks off the field after / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY

The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to rebound after an underwhelming 2023 season. The pieces are certainly there to reclaim their spot as the No. 1 team in the AFC South. They have a franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, and Ryan Nielsen should turn the defense into a top-10 unit. But what if that's not enough? What if the Jags fell short and missed the playoffs for the second straight year? Connor Orr of Sports Illustrated believes that's the way things will unfold in 2024.

Orr drew up a list of bold predictions for each NFL team and has Jacksonville missing the playoffs in 2024, arguing that they won't be good enough to keep up with the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts in the division arms race. On the other hand, Orr has a silver lining for the Jags. He foresees that their defense will finish in the top 10 in the league due to the arrival of Ryan Nielsen.

"I’ve written this in multiple posts and told other mediums at this point. Hiring Ryan Nielsen was the best nonhead coaching move of the offseason, and not just for Jacksonville. For every team. Nielsen will unlock the raw, amoebic potential of this defense, though I am not optimistic that Jacksonville will consistently outplay the Colts and Texans en route to a playoff berth."

The Jaguars finished second in the AFC South. While they had a 99 percent chance of qualifying for the postseason after beating the Texans in Week 12, they proceeded to lose five of their last six games, paving the way for Houston to seize the division title. While the Colts finished third, they won the same number of games as Jacksonville, and they did it without Anthony Richardson, who missed most of the season.

On the bright side, Orr's prediction for the Jags isn't as demoralizing as the one he made for the Tennessee Titans. He thinks they won't win more than four games in 2024 due to a daunting schedule and Bill Cahahan's inexperience at the helm.

The Jaguars will have their work cut out to catch up to the Texans

The Jags got off to a promising start in 2023, going 6-2 before their BYE. Unfortunately, they couldn't overcome self-inflicted wounds. Whether the team couldn't deal with the weight of expectations, or the coaches didn't make their players execute properly, Jacksonville wasn't good enough to get into the postseason. It didn't help that injuries hampered the roster and the front office didn't make the necessary upgrades last offseason.

If the Jaguars want to become a legitimate contender for the division title, they'll need to make considerable changes. Head coach Doug Pederson will need have a more hands-on approach and make sure his staff is putting the players in a position to succeed.

Offensive coordinator Press Taylor will need to come up with a more creative game plan, eliminate communication issues, and get the running game going. For his part, Ryan Nielsen will need to put an emphasis on execution and fundamentals, something his predecessor, Mike Caldwell, didn't always do. Last but not least, general manager Trent Baalke must get outside linebacker Josh Allen a new deal and fortify the line of scrimmage.

Simply put, the Jaguars have enough talent to bounce back and seize the AFC South in 2024. But if they once again operate without a sense of urgency, Orr's prediction will come to fruition.

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