While the Jacksonville Jaguars are only 1-8 on the season, they're already a much better team then they were at the same point last season. Sure, they have one win sooner than they did last year, but it's not really about the win-loss record. Overall, the team just looks functionally more like an NFL franchise than it did 12 months ago.
First of all, the team is more competitive than they were last season through the first nine weeks. Last year the Jaguars had a 178 point differential through Week 9 (in only 8 games) while this season it's just 110, with an extra game factored in. They've given up 68 less points at this point, even though the start of the season was so awful.
Through the last six games the Jaguars have been in every game entering the fourth quarter and if a few plays go differently, they could have two to three more wins. Part of that is because the defense is playing better than it was at this point last year and the offense is playing better than it was at this point last year.
In fact, the Jaguars are better in virtually every statistical category compared to last season.
|Total offense per game||278.4||319.6||+41.2|
|Total defense per game||388||386||+2|
|Points scored per game||12.78||15.67||+2.89|
|Points allowed per game||32.3||27.9||+4.4|
|Rushing yards per game||65||101.1||+36.1|
|Passing yards per game||213||212||-1|
Losing always sucks and the fact that the Jaguars have lost close games the past five weeks makes it suck more, because when you're being blow out week in and week out, you don't have hope during the game. As mentioned before, if a couple of more plays go their way, the Jaguars could have beaten the Tennessee Titans and the Miami Dolphins, sitting at a 3-6 record rather than 1-8, but that's who it goes when you're a young football team.
The Jaguars offense is easily outpacing last years offense with half of the players starting/contributing as rookies. It took a few weeks to get things sorted out, which isn't uncommon when a team has a high turnover rate and when the team is exceedingly young, but over the past four to five weeks the Jaguars have settled in and now they just need to learn how to win. Last season at this point they'd scored single digits in half their games. This year they've scored single digits just once.
The team may not pass the four win mark the 2013 squad had, but it's already a better football team and it's easy to see on Sundays. The Jaguars feel like they're this close to things clicking and turning a few of these close losses into close wins.
They feel like a team who can make a huge leap in 2015, because of what they've done in 2014 in playing a lot of young players and getting them experience.
There's your silver lining, moral victory, sunshine pumping or whatever you call it for the week.