Simulation reveals the Jaguars have tough path to the playoffs in 2024

• A simulation predicts that the Jaguars may regress in 2024.
Jan 14, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16)
Jan 14, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars made several upgrades in the offseason, but they aren't the only team that has gotten much better since the end of 2023. That's why several analysts have a hard time believing they'll be supplanting the Houston Texans as the team to beat next season. One of them, in fact, thinks the Jags could regress.

Cynthia Frelund of NFL Media ran a simulation that had the Jags winning 8.4 games next season. If you round it up, that's one fewer victory than last year. She points out that the total isn't a round number due to a myriad of factors.

For the sake of clarity, Frelund says she ran over 150,00 for all 272 regular season games using the projected 53-man rosters — as of May 14 — for all 32 NFL teams. Regarding Jacksonville, she has an interesting thought.

"We're going to learn a lot about the success of the Jags' offseason moves early in the 2024 campaign, with Jacksonville set to kick off the year with the hardest four games of any team in the league (at Dolphins, Browns, at Bills, at Texans). The Jags' median projection is a wild-card berth, but my models show they need to make it to their Week 12 bye with at least six wins to have a strong probability of clinching a spot in the tournament."

Frelund is right the Jaguars' early slate will reveal how much they've really improved. They'll be facing teams that either made the playoffs or were in contention in the first five games of the season. The truth is that it's hard to see them going 5-0, and there will be a reason for concern if they manage to win just two of them.

Things get a bit easier when Jacksonville travels to London, though. Not only do they have experience playing overseas but they'll be facing a pair of rookie quarterbacks. Let's say the Jags rack up three wins in the first five weeks and go 2-0 in their London slate. They would be 5-2 by the time they get back home to face the Green Bay Packers.

To get to the six-win threshold before their BYE, the Jaguars would then need to beat Green Bay or the Minnesota Vikings in Week 10. They'll also face the Philadelphia Eagles and the Detroit Lions before their week off but beating either one as visitors may prove to be too tall an order.

Their BYE Week will be a pivotal point in the Jaguars' 2024 NFL Season

While it won't be a walk in the park, things could be a bit easier for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second half of the season. They'll still have three division games, starting with the Houston Texans in Week 13 (those are never easy), but they should have a favorable chance of beating the Las Vegas Raiders and the New York Jets.

Both clubs will enter the 2024 season with questions at quarterback. In the Raiders' case, they're letting Aiden O'Connell compete with the always-reliable Gardner Minshew. On the other hand, the New York Jets are counting on Aaron Rodgers to make a full recovery from the Achilles tear he suffered last year. If the Jaguars regroup and take advantage of their BYE, they should be able to beat both clubs. But that's the thing.

Last year, the Jaguars got into their BYE with a 6-2 record but only won three of their last eight games. It didn't matter that they got off to a strong start to the season. They weren't able to finish hot, like they did in 2022, despite the fact that they had a manageable slate.

This is to say that Jacksonville Jacksonville must enter their BYE with a winning record, but we may not truly know what kind of team they are until then.

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