After pushing the New England Patriots to the limit in the AFC title game following the 2017 season, the Jacksonville Jaguars entered last year with some lofty expectations. The Jaguars were even being viewed in many circles as a potential Super Bowl contender in 2018.
Things didn’t go according to plan. The team opened up the year looking like a force with wins in three of its first four games. That span included a 31-20 home win over the Patriots. Unfortunately, it would all go downhill from there.
The club would go on to lose its next four games in a row to enter the Week 9 bye with a record of 3-5. Some time off didn’t cure the team’s ills. The Jaguars lost another three in a row to plummet to 3-8. The close of the year didn’t go any better.
Jacksonville would win just two of its final five games to close out the year with a mark of 5-11. For the year as a whole, five of the team’s losses were by double digits. While there are plenty of fingers to be pointed for what went wrong, many were wagged in the direction of the offense as the defense continued to play well for the most part.
The NFL betting sites aren’t sold on that. The Jaguars are the third choice to take down the AFC South, behind the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans with the Tennessee Titans expected to bring up the rear.
Are the Jaguars being sold short, or is this a team that’s destined to disappoint once again? Let’s take a look and find out.
Jacksonville Jaguars 2018 Season Recap
Record: 5-11 | Standings: 4-AFC South | Playoffs: N/A
Jacksonville opened up the season in the road for a date with the New York Giants, picking up a 20-15 victory. That was followed by the big home win over the Patriots. Naturally, expectations remained high for a team that started off the year at 2-0.
Some air came out of the balloon in Week 3. The Jaguars welcomed the Tennessee Titans to town, losing a 9-6 slugfest. A 31-12 home win over the New York Jets righted the ship, and it was looking like the Jaguars were going to be a factor in the AFC. It wasn’t meant to be.
Jacksonville would lose its next four games in a row. The first three defeats over that span were of the double-digit variety. It was hoped that the Week 9 bye would stop the bleeding for a team which had fallen to 3-5, but that didn’t happen.
Three more losses would follow, with all four of the defeats coming by four points or less. A 6-0 home win over the Colts in Week 13 finally snapped a dreadful seven-game losing streak. A 30-9 shellacking on the road at the Titans the following week killed any good vibes from the Colts win.
The Jaguars closed out the year with losses in two of their last three games, including a 20-3 road defeat to the Texans in the regular season finale. It was a thoroughly disappointing season in Jacksonville, especially when the ineptitude of the team’s offense is factored into the equation.
The Jaguars checked in at 31st in the league with 15.3 points per game. The talent-laden defense continued to do its job, holding opponents to 19.8 points per contest, which was tied for 4th in the league.
Jacksonville Jaguars Offseason Moves
A number of changes were made to the coaching staff when the season came to a close. The most notable addition was the hiring of John DeFilippo as offensive coordinator. DeFilippo was relieved of his duties last season by the Minnesota Vikings, where he also had the reins of the offense.
Doug Marrone remains as head coach, while Todd Wash will continue to lead the defense. In free agency, the club signed QB Nick Foles to replace Blake Bortles behind center. Other notable additions include wideout Chris Conley and OT Cedric Ogbuehi.
Players on the way out include DT Malik Jackson and S Tayshaun Gipson. The Jaguars hit paydirt in the NFL Draft as Kentucky OLB Josh Allen unexpectedly fell into their lap for the 7th pick in the first-round. The defense wasn’t the issue last year in Jacksonville, but Allen will make the unit even better.
Round two would bring OT Jawaan Taylor out of Florida to further shore up the offensive line. Later round selections included San Jose State TE Josh Oliver and Murray State LB Quincy Williams.
Is backup QB. Bortles and Cody Kessler have moved on, and that leaves a group that includes sixth-round draft pick Gardner Minshew battling to serve as primary backup behind Foles. Leonard Fournette will lead the way in the backfield, while Alfred Blue and Benny Cunningham are among those in the mix for snaps.
Foles will have some talented targets at his disposal. Marquise Lee, Keelan Cole, and Dede Westbrook project as the top wideouts, while Geoff Swaim tops the tight end depth chart for now. The addition of Allen will only improve a defense which is already among the most ferocious in the league.
Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 Schedule
|1||Sun. Sept.8||vs. Kansas City Chiefs||1:00 PM||CBS|
|2||Sun. Sept.15||at Houston Texans||1:00 PM||CBS|
|3||Sun. Sept.22||vs. Tennessee Titans||8:20 PM||NFL|
|4||Sun. Sept.29||at Denver Broncos||4:25 PM||CBS|
|5||Sun. Oct.6||at Carolina Panthers||1:00 PM||CBS|
|6||Sun. Oct.13||vs. New Orleans Saints||1:00 PM||CBS|
|7||Sun. Oct.20||at Cincinnati Bengals||1:00 PM||CBS|
|8||Sun. Oct.27||vs. New York Jets||1:00 PM||FOX|
|9||Sun. Nov.3||vs. Houston Texans*||9:30 AM||NFL|
|11||Sun. Nov.17||at Indianapolis Colts||1:00 PM||CBS|
|12||Sun. Nov.24||at Tennessee Titans||4:05 PM||CBS|
|13||Sun. Dec.1||vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1:00 PM||FOX|
|14||Sun. Dec.8||vs. Los Angeles Chargers||4:05 PM||FOX|
|15||Sun. Dec.15||at Oakland Raiders||4:05 PM||CBS|
|16||Sun. Dec.22||at Atlanta Falcons||1:00 PM||FOX|
|17||Sun. Dec.29||vs. Indianapolis Colts||1:00 PM||CBS|
*Game to be played at Wembley Stadium in London
The Jaguars face a stiff test in opening week when the Chiefs come to town. That’s followed by the team playing three of its next four on the road, with two of those games coming against divisional foes. The team will be home for two of the next three before heading off to London for a date with the Texans.
After a Week 10 bye, Jacksonville will face two divisional rivals on the road. They close out the year with three of their last five at home. Included over that stretch is a pair of home games versus the Chargers and Colts, two playoff squads from 2018.
Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 Outlook
According to the current odds to win the division, the Jaguars are the third-best team in the AFC South. There’s no question the division will be tough this year, as it wouldn’t be stunning to see any of the four squads take it down. A record of 3-3 in the division is possible and may be the best the team can hope for.
The Jaguars have a tough schedule versus the rest of the AFC, but it looks like the home games will be the hardest of the group. They’ll welcome the Chiefs, Jets, and Chargers to town and be on the road for games with the Broncos, Bengals, and Raiders. A split of these six games is doable, while a record of 4-2 is possible if the team’s offense shows some life this year.
Interconference play brings road games with the Panthers and Falcons, and road games with the Saints and Buccaneers. Once again, a split is likely the best outcome the Jaguars can bank on.
Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 Win Total Odds and Pick
As the oddsmakers see it, the Jaguars will improve slightly and be a .500 team.
Total Regular Season Wins:
Betting odds provided by: MyBookie.ag
There’s enough talent here for the Jaguars to contend for a division crown. We expect the defense to do its job. The offense continues to make us nervous, even with the addition of Foles. If he happens to go down or miss any time, it’s going to be a long season in Jacksonville.
If the offense clicks, this could be a nine-win team. Since we’re not sold on that, we’re rolling with the Under for the Jaguars.