The Jacksonville Jaguars have now played eight games of their 2016 schedule, which means they have hit the halfway point of the season. That means it’s time to review the first half of the year, as well as look ahead to the second half. We will get into discussing individual players and their performances later, but for now I want to focus on the overall trajectory of the team itself.
Obviously, the Jaguars have underachieved this year, due to a plethora of reasons. Many people, both local and on the national level, truly thought this was the year the Jaguars could compete for the AFC South title, but those hopes have pretty much fallen apart. The team dug themselves a pretty sizable hole right out of the gate, going 0-3 in their first three games. There was talk of a turnaround, however, as the Jags were able to go to London and Chicago and pick up wins to sandwich their bye week. That had them sitting at 2-3, and only one game out of first place. Unfortunately, it was an opportunity the team could not capitalize on, as they proceeded to lose three straight games to Oakland, Tennessee, and Kansas City.
This leaves the Jaguars sitting at 2-6 at the halfway point, which puts them on pace for an overall record of 4-12. That would tie the mark the team set in its first year under Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley, as they went 4-12 in 2013. The Jags followed that up with a 3-13 campaign in 2014, and a 5-11 record last year. I know some folks don’t want to hear any more negative thoughts right now, but facts are facts: the Jaguars are on pace to have a worse record in year four than they did in year three.
Obviously, just because the team is on pace for that record, it doesn't mean they will end up that way. It is possible they win more than 2 games in the second half of the season, as history has shown us that this team under Gus Bradley has performed better in the later part of the year. Unfortunately, it’s also possible that they match the two wins they had in the first half of the year, or even fail to meet that mark all together. The schedule does not get any easier for Jacksonville the rest of the year. They play the Texans twice, who are currently 5-3. They have one more matchup with both the Titans and Colts, who are both 4-5. The Lions are 5-4, the Bills are 4-4, the Vikings are 5-3, and the Broncos are 6-3. So out of the eight remaining games the Jags have, they only play two teams with a losing record, and one of those teams embarrassed them on national television. Oh, and they also both have a better record than Jacksonville does, and they are both division games which are always tricky.
So what do you hold out hope for if you’re looking for something positive the rest of the season? Well, the offense did look better against Kansas City, and the team also cleaned up their penalties. As I mentioned earlier, we will be getting more into specific players later in the week, but there have been some bright spots. Jalen Ramsey, Telvin Smith, Yannick Ngakoue, Marqise Lee and of course Brad Nortman have all show things to be excited about moving forward.
Unfortunately, those few bright spots have been clouded over by the fact that the team is on pace to lose more games than it did last year, despite all of the exciting additions made in the offseason.