Listening to Jaguars Today on 1010XL on Thursday, the hosts fielded calls where fans gave their predictions for various things, one of which was the Jaguars record. Quite a few of the callers ended up predicting the Jaguars to go in the 9-7 to 10-6 range as hope springs eternal in the doldrums of the offseason.
I don’t think fans are wrong to expect or want that kind of season out of the 2017 Jaguars. As I wrote about earlier in the week, that really should be the expectation given the timeline of the rebuild. The team should have been much better last season, so they should be pushing for the playoffs this year.
The problem is, the Jaguars wen 3-13 in 2016.
The Jaguars are, no doubt, going to improve next season. It’s almost impossible not to, but the big question is just how much they’re going to improve. Going from three wins to a winning record means a swing of +6 wins. That is a huge swing in win total and pretty abnormal in the NFL, especially if you’re returning the same quarterback as the previous season. Typically teams who make that big of a swing went through a coaching change AND a quarterback change, or at the very least a quarterback change.
I’m not sure fans giving their predictions of a winning record truly understand the kind of swing that is in wins, but I wouldn’t really expect them to. The times it happens are memorable, especially when there had been a division in the NFC South that routinely had the “worst to first” thing going. But, out of curiosity I went and took a look at how often teams who had less than five wins ended up with a winning record the following year.
I started with the 2000 season and ended with the 2015 season, ending up with 73 teams who ended a season with less than five wins. Of those teams, only 19 times (26 percent) did they end up with a swing the following season of six or more wins. I focused on six because that’s what it would take for the Jaguars to pass an 8-8 record, based on their 2016 3-13 finish. If you want to bring it down to an 8-8 record and include teams having a +5 win swing, that’s only happened 24 times (32.9 percent) in that time span.
The average change in wins for a team who won less than five games from one season to the next was +3.4 wins, which would put the Jaguars in the six to seven win range, which is about what a few people have predicted and close to the line Vegas has set for the over/under on the win total.