The Jacksonville Jaguars are destined for a late season collapse and will come within a divisional win of an AFC Wild Card playoff berth — if ESPN’s predictions are to be taken with anything more than a grain of salt.
ESPN recently simulated the 2019 NFL season a bunch of times to come up with their best picture of how this year will go. Here’s how they explained the process worked:
Before each season, we simulate the entire NFL slate 20,000 times using the ESPN Football Power Index (FPI), our prediction and projection system. In the preseason, it is based on a few factors, including each team’s preseason win total matched with its schedule, past performance in all three phases of the game, returning starters and who the starting and backup quarterbacks are expected to be. Altogether that gets us a strength rating for every team, which we in turn use to determine game predictions and the likelihood of one team beating another.
Today, we took just one of those 20,000 season-long simulations — No. 1,721 — and played out the entire slate with final scores for all 267 games.
So how does the season go?
Week 1: Jaguars lose 27-24 to Chiefs (0-1)
Week 2: Jaguars win 30-25 over Texans (1-1)
Week 3: Jaguars lose 51-17 to Titans (1-2)
Week 4: Jaguars win 26-17 over Broncos (2-2)
Week 5: Jaguars win 38-14 over Panthers (3-2)
Week 6: Jaguars win 42-17 over Saints (4-2)
Week 7: Jaguars win 38-14 over Bengals (5-2)
Week 8: Jaguars lose 34-21 to Jets (5-3)
Week 9: Jaguars lose 37-22 to Texans (5-4)
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: Jaguars win 30-25 over Colts (6-4)
Week 12: Jaguars lose 23-16 to Titans (6-5)
Week 13: Jaguars lose 34-27 to Buccaneers (6-6)
Week 14: Jaguars lose 37-27 to Chargers (6-7)
Week 15: Jaguars lose 27-24 to Raiders (6-8)
Week 16: Jaguars win 34-6 over Falcons (7-8)
Week 17: Jaguars win 26-20 over Colts (8-8)
Well... I can definitely see the season taking a similar arch as what’s presented. Come out with a 5-2 record and then lose six of your next seven? Those are my Jaguars!
However, the scores are a bit strange. You tell me this team scores 21 or more points a total of 13 times this season and I’m slapping you. That’s 442 points over the course of the season — and average of 27.6 points a game! WHAT? If our defense lets us down this badly, defensive coordinator Todd Wash is either dead or the team’s starting free safety.
And while I don’t expect us to sweep the Titans, I don’t expect us Marcus Mariota to put up 51 on us away from Nashville.
What do you think? How does this ESPN simulation compare to what you think will happen this season? Let us know in the comments below!