The Jacksonville Jaguars are 3-2. This team only won three games in all of 2016. Something has clearly changed since then, whether it be coaching, new player additions, a new attitude or all of the above. But the one thing the Jags still don’t have is consistency.
Now, no big deal, but yours truly was the only one on the BCC staff to correctly predict a Jacksonville win against the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday. But I’ll be honest, the reason I chose the Jaguars to win was not because I had a lot of faith, but more so because it was an odd-numbered week, the team was coming off of a bad loss and the Jaguars were expected to loss handily. That seems to be this team’s mantra — show up when everyone expects you to get dominated and lose the games they’re expected to win.
I just can’t figure this team out. In three wins the Jags have outscored opponents 103 to 23 and out-gained opponents 1,021 yards to 760 yards. In all of those games the Jaguars were an underdog, away from EverBank Field and really not given a chance by the majority of fans and media to pull off a win, yet blew out each foe.
In Jacksonville’s two losses, the team was outscored 59 to 46 and out-gained 861 yards to 621 yards. While Jacksonville was a slight underdog to the Tennessee Titans in Week 2, it was favored against the New York Jets in Week 4. Both losses came in even-numbered weeks. The Jaguars made bone-headed penalties and bad turnovers in those losses, and looked like a completely different team compared to the games they won.
In the great words of Michael Scott:
I’m not sure I believe in this whole odd-numbered week thing, yet, but it is an interesting pattern to start the season. This week, the Jags open as a favorite against a (good) Los Angeles Rams team. It’s an even week and the game is at home. Well, the Jaguars are 0-1 at the Bank, 0-1 as a favorite and 0-2 in even-numbered weeks.
When trying to analyze which version of the 2017 Jaguars will show up this week, I think signs are pointing toward the bad version. If the Jaguars continue this pattern of inconsistency, the team that we saw in Weeks 2 and 4 is in line to make an appearance this week.
This Rams team has been surprising this year with Jared Goff coming into his own and Todd Gurley looking like, or perhaps even better than, his 2015 self. I’ll tell you this much — L.A. is a much better team than the New York Jets. The Rams also enter the contest at 3-2.
Nobody would have predicted this in the preseason, but this is actually an interesting matchup. The Rams rank second in the NFL in points per game with 30.4, fifth in total yards per game at 390.8 and fifth in passing yards per game at 280. The Jaguars defense ranks first in sacks (20), first in interceptions (10), 2nd in points allowed per game (16.6) and third in passing yards allowed per game (177.8).
With that said, the Jaguars offense ranks highly in areas as well. After Leonard Fournette’s big performance, the Jags are No. 1 in rushing offense and fifth in points scored per game. However, as a whole, Jacksonville ranks just 22nd in total yards per game and dead last in passing yards per game.
So, this game will come down to Jacksonville’s elite defense versus L.A.’s potent offense. The problem with that is that the defense can only hold for so long. We saw this in Week 2 when the defense broke down in the second half and the Jaguars offense couldn’t get anything going. Without any semblance of a passing attack, the Jaguars are going have to get an early lead and then win it with defense and running the football, or else it could get ugly.
My expectations are lowered for this week because the Jaguars are experts at breaking our (the fans’) hearts. Based off of all of this information, I think we may be see the less mighty version of the Jags in Week 6 — but I sure hope I am wrong.
Which Jaguars team will show up this week? Let us know in the comments section below.