The Jacksonville Jaguars have mostly been projected to finish third in the AFC South, with the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts finishing ahead of them in some order in most cases. Additionally, they’ve been projected to receive a top-10 draft pick again, which means most feel they will have more wins than losses.
However, ESPN’s Domonique Foxworth believes the Jags have a chance to be this year’s Cincinnati Bengals by going from a fourth-place team in 2021 to competing in the Super Bowl. As many witnessed last season, the Bengals went to the Super Bowl after going 4-11 the year before and placing fourth in the AFC North. However, they quickly turned things around and stunned the football community with a 10-7 record and Super Bowl berth.
In a recent episode of “Get Up” this week, Foxworth told Dan Graziano that the Jags would bring the same element of surprise that Cincinnati did if they could go from worst to first. He also added that the Jags have some pieces in some key positions that could give them a shot.
“I’m going to go with the Jaguars,” Foxworth said. “I think that the point of being the Cincinnati Bengals is not just to go from worst to first, but it also has to be a bit of a surprise. So, I could pick the Ravens because they were the worst in their division last year, but they had a lot of injuries and things like that.
“The Jaguars, like the Bengals, have a young very talented quarterback and they’ve addressed some offensive line issues, which as we know makes life easier for that quarterback, and they brought in Travon Walker to help with that defensive line pressure. So, I’m not sure that they will do it, but if you look around that division, I think the Colts are a very, very talented team and we’ll see what happens when Matt Ryan gets there. But it’s not a division that has a bunch of juggernauts. I think the Titans have taken a step back and I don’t think that the Texans are trying his year. So, I think it’s possible, it’s a long shot.”
Foxworth is probably the first analyst to say this about the Jags, and though it’s a long shot, he makes some good points.
The Indianapolis Colts have a lot of talent, but at the same time, the Jags have been an issue for them, especially in Jacksonville. With the Addition of Travon Walker, they could be even more of an issue because he helps them against the run in a big way, which is what the Colts do best.
As for the Titans, they have the Jags’ number. However, as Foxworth pointed out they may have taken a step back, especially on offense. They traded receiver A.J. Brown to Philadelphia, which gives the Jags one less issue to deal with, though Derrick Henry still is there. Even with Henry, though, losing a talent like Brown can’t be overlooked.
Then lastly, there are the Texans, who’ve been very successful against the Jags, too. On paper, the Jags are more talented, but fans should know by now not to go by that when it comes to the Texans, who are 27-13 against the Jags overall. That said, there is still room for optimism when it comes to the Jags being successful against the Texans this season as they have a more competent staff than the one Houston beat up on last season.
The Jags will have to overcome a lot of potential weaknesses to make a run like the Bengals did last season, but they have a coach that can get the most out of their talent in Doug Pederson. Many will point to the receivers corps and call it a weakness, but it can’t be forgotten that Pederson won a Super Bowl with his backup quarterback and a receivers group that didn’t have a 1,000-yard player.
It also can’t be said enough that the right quarterback-coach combination can elevate the team. Trevor Lawrence is the most talented quarterback prospect that Pederson has had as a head coach in the eyes of most, and the two have a great relationship so far.
All of that said, Pederson has a résumé that proves he shouldn’t be doubted. Still, it feels like a realistic mark for the Jags may be six to seven wins this season, but that can change as there is plenty of time before the regular season.