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Is the Jacksonville Jaguars offense good enough to win a Super Bowl? 2000 Baltimore Ravens Edition!

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In September, we ran a series on Big Cat Country comparing the Jacksonville Jaguars “Sacksonville” defense to some of the all-time greats.

This month, I wanted to conduct a case study on how the offenses of those respective teams statistically compare to the Jaguars unit and ascertain just how much the defense had to carry those units on their back to a championship.

Rather than doing a career snapshot like the last series, I extrapolated the numbers from the first four weeks of the Jaguars 2018 season and matched those figures up with the final regular season statistics for respective players positions on each team’s offense.

Here goes nothing:

QB | Blake Bortles vs. Trent Dilfer

REGULAR SEASON COMPARISON:

Bortles: 388/600, 64.7% completion, 4,380 yards, 28 TDs, 12 INTs, 2.0 INT %

Dilfer: 268/452, 59.3% completion, 3,004 yards, 24 TDs, 22 INTs, 4.9 INT %

People forget that Duval’s favorite media personality (sarcasm font) actually didn’t begin the season as the Ravens starter (Tony Banks) and only started eight regular season games. Because of this, I extrapolated Dilfer’s numbers over an additional eight games, and boy is it ugly. So ugly, as a matter of fact, that any public criticism of Bortles from Dilfer is a textbook example of the pot calling the kettle black, as Blake is on pace for 10 less interceptions than Dilfer. It might not always be aesthetically pleasing, but 2018 Bortles has been an incredibly efficient Bortles, especially when comparing his numbers to the first quarter of the 2017 season.

Advantage: Blake Bortles

RB | Leonard Fournette vs. Jamal Lewis

REGULAR SEASON COMPARISON:

Fournette: 320 carries, 1,136 yards, 3.6 YPC, 64 catches, 304 yards

Lewis: 309 carries, 1,364 yards, 4.4 YPC, 27 catches, 296 yards

Thanks to an incredibly frustrating hamstring injury that has limited Fournette to a total of four quarters in the first four games, I extrapolated his 2018 production over 16 games to see what he would have been on pace for had he been healthy. Lewis was a rookie during the 2000 Ravens season and similar to Fournette, was a top five draft pick. Lewis wasn’t used much a as a receiver out of the backfield (the Ravens left that to Priest Holmes), but his numbers would pass even an extrapolated Fournette stat line.

Advantage: Jamal Lewis

RB| T.J. Yeldon vs. Priest Holmes

REGULAR SEASON COMPARISON:

Yeldon: 196 carries, 820 yards, 4.2 YPC, 4 TDs, 56 catches, 500 yards, 8 Rec TDs

Holmes: 137 carries, 588 yards, 4.3 YPC, 2 TDs, 32 catches, 221 yards, 0 Rec TDs

This isn’t really fair since Yeldon has had to step in as the leading rusher in the wake of Fournette’s injury, but it also wasn’t fair to compare Jamal Lewis to a hurt Leonard. Holmes was an NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year and three-time All Pro with the Chiefs, and while he may have a much more impressive overall resume than Yeldon, the fourth-year back out of Alabama has the edge in single-season production for the purposes of this exercise.

Advantage: T.J. Yeldon

WR | Keelan Cole vs. Qadry Ismail

REGULAR SEASON COMPARISON:

Cole: 68 catches, 900 yards, 13.2 yards per catch, 4 TDs

Ismail: 49 catches, 655 yards, 13.4 yards per catch, 5 TDs

Before starting on the receivers, the 2000 Ravens offense hinged on running the football and feeding tight end Shannon Sharpe, hence the paltry production of the pass catchers. Qadry Ismail was a journeyman player in the league and while his yards per catch and touchdowns are pretty even with Cole as of now, Cole has a sizeable lead in volume with the Jaguars attempting six more passes per game on average.

Advantage: Keelan Cole

WR | Donte Moncrief vs. Travis Taylor

REGULAR SEASON COMPARISON:

Moncrief: 48 catches, 692 yards, 14.4 yards per catch, 8 TDs

Taylor: 28 catches, 276 yards, 9.9 yards per catch, 3 TDs

While Jamal Lewis was the number five overall pick in 2000, Travis Taylor was the number ten pick in the same draft. Taylor wasn’t incredibly productive as a rookie, but his 276 yards was the second most on the team. Moncrief has had some frustrating moments so far across four games and isn’t yet living up to the one-year contract he signed, but he is on pace for eight touchdown passes and considerably more production than Taylor.

Advantage: Donte Moncrief

WR | Dede Westbrook vs. Brandon Stokley

REGULAR SEASON COMPARISON:

Westbrook: 84 catches, 1,176 yards, 14.0 yards per catch, 4 TDs

Stokley: 11 catches, 184 yards, 16.7 yards per catch, 8 TDs

The biggest disparity amongst all the match up so far, the Ravens almost never used slot receivers Brandon Stokley or Jermaine Lewis (who was primarily a return specialist) and ran predominantly out of heavier personnel groups. That’s certainly not the case in Jacksonville, as starting slot receiver Dede Westbrook actually leads the team in catches and yards through the first four weeks. Westbrook is quickly becoming a favorite of Blake Bortles and has lifted the crossing route mantle that was supposed to be Marqise Lee’s before his injury.

Advantage: Dede Westbrook

TE | Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs. Shannon Sharpe

REGULAR SEASON COMPARISON:

Seferian-Jenkins: 44 catches, 360 yards, 8.2 yards per catch, 4 TDs

Sharpe: 67 catches, 810 yards, 12.1 yards per catch, 5 TDs

Seferian-Jenkins may not have incredible production so far, but his mismatch ability in the red zone and run blocking have been incredibly impressive. In fact, ASJ has done so well as a blocker that many haven’t even noticed Marcedes Lewis’ absence in the lineup. All that being said, Shannon Sharpe was really the heartbeat and primary read in the Ravens passing game, comfortably finishing the regular season with the most catches and yards of all the receivers.

Advantage: Shannon Sharpe

OL | Jaguars vs. Ravens

REGULAR SEASON COMPARISON:

Jaguars: 24 sacks allowed; 4.2 yards per carry

Ravens: 43 sacks allowed; 4.3 yards per carry

So, um, I didn’t think that a Jaguars offensive line that has literally every single starter on the injury report would edge out a Ravens unit headlined by Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden, but the Jaguars are on place to allow almost 20 less sacks on the season at the current pace. Four of the starting five lineman from left-to-right were 26 years old (Ogden, Edwin Mulitalo, Jeff Mitchell, Mike Flynn) and right tackle Harry Swayne was the old man in the group at 35, which is fairly similar to the Jaguars’ situation. Josh Wells will have to continue to play well the rest of the way to hold up, but you really can’t argue with math. Considering that the Ravens threw the football six times less per game on average, this becomes even more impressive for Pat Flaherty and the Jaguars..

Advantage: Jaguars OL

Winner: Jaguars

Aside from Jamal Lewis, Shannon Sharpe, and Jonathan Ogden, the Jaguars are comfortably better at every offensive position than the 2000 Ravens unit that had to be carried by Ray Lewis and the defense.

The team statistics validate that notion. The Jaguars are on pace to finish with 28 more first downs and are converting five percent more of their third downs than the Ravens. More specifically, the Jaguars will finish with an extrapolated 228 passing first downs, which is 72 more than what the Ravens were able to produce. Additionally, the Jaguars are averaging 5.8 yards per play to the Ravens’ 4.7 and are tracking to finish with four more touchdowns.

There are two categories, however, that interestingly favor the Ravens – turnover differential and time of possession.

Of course, turnover differential is largely dictated by the takeaways that a defense can produce, but the Ravens +23 number despite Trent Dilfer and Tony Banks combining to throw 19 interceptions is staggering, especially in comparison to the Jaguars current -4 number. The Ravens also have more than two minutes time of possession per game than the Jaguars currently have. Both of these things need to change over the rest of the way.

The Jaguars offense may not be a top ten unit in the NFL, but they are certainly good enough to compliment the defense and win a potential championship.

The precedent is there.