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NFL power rankings: Jaguars firmly a top-10 team entering Week 9 bye

The Jacksonville Jaguars are as good as the NFL’s second-best team in the eyes of national media.

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Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

To get a feel for how the Jacksonville Jaguars are viewed around the league, here’s a look at national media power rankings going into Week 9 of the 2023 season.

Pro Football Talk: 2 (last week: 3)

From Mike Florio:

A San Francisco showdown — and potential Super Bowl preview — is coming after their bye.

CBS Sports: 3 (last week: 4)

From Pete Prisco:

They’ve won five straight to right things as they head to the bye. They are definitely in the conversation for best team in the AFC.

Bleacher Report: 3 (last week: 5)

USA Today: 4 (last week: 5)

From Nate Davis:

At 6-2 and leading their division, are they the AFC’s best team? They certainly seem like its most adaptable, Jacksonville’s five-game winning streak spanning the length of October in five different stadiums, two in London, with another victory occurring on a Thursday night in New Orleans. Their Week 9 bye is well deserved. 5 (last week: 6)

From Eric Edholm:

With a five-win October, Jacksonville exorcised the demons of its 1-2 start and now is 6-2 for the first time this millennium. The victory over the Steelers lacked style points, but the Jaguars’ recent travel schedule, the number of starters they were missing and the Pittsburgh weather all were contributing factors. The Jags were lucky their three turnovers (two in the red zone, one just outside it) didn’t hurt more, and it’s a little concerning how dependent on Travis Etienne they’ve become. The Week 9 bye will provide some much-needed rest; then we’ll find out if the Jaguars can stack up against the AFC contenders left on their schedule. Right now, they look like they belong.

Fox Sports: 5 (last week: 6)

From David Helman:

Five straight wins match the Jags’ total at the end of 2022, a run which propelled them into the playoffs. With a businesslike performance in Pittsburgh, they’re starting to put a chokehold on the AFC South again in 2023.

ESPN: 6 (last week: 6)

From Michael DiRocco:

Trevor Lawrence’s stats might not be leading-the-league impressive — 1,935 yards, 9 TDs, 4 INTs — but he’s playing consistently good football. He has had a passer rating of at least 90 or better in his past five games (a career-high streak) and has posted a passer rating of 90 or above in six of the team’s eight games. He’s still making some of those young quarterback mistakes, like his end zone interception on a ball he should have thrown away, and he tries to keep plays alive too long (a major reason for his six fumbles), but Doug Pederson has praised Lawrence’s leadership, his toughness (he’s playing on a sprained left knee) and the clutch throws and plays he has made during the Jaguars’ 5-0 stretch in October.

Pro Football Network: 6 (last week: 7)

From Dalton Miller:

The Jaguars were all about Trevor Lawrence and Doug Pederson’s offense a season ago. Adding Calvin Ridley to the mix was supposed to take them to the next level. But it’s been the Jaguars defense that has led them to 6-2.

Lawrence has been good in 2023, but there are still confusing instances, like his red-zone interception, that have kept him from elevating his standing among the league’s greatest passers.

Yahoo Sports: 8 (last week: 8)

From Frank Schwab:

Among all the top teams in the AFC playoff picture (unless you count Cleveland), the Jaguars have the easiest remaining schedule according to Tankathon. The Jaguars aren’t the best team in the AFC, but they are tied for the best record with the easiest remaining schedule of anyone who has a realistic shot at the No. 1 seed. Keep that in mind.

The Athletic: 10 (last week: 8)

From Josh Kendall:

We could have just added “in the playoffs” to this one because Jacksonville feels as good a bet for the postseason as any team right now. After Sunday, they have three more wins than the other three teams in the AFC South. The Jaguars have won five in a row, and Lawrence, who was 24-for-32 for 292 yards against the Steelers, looks like he’s starting to find his groove.

The Ringer: 10 (last week: 9)

From Austin Gayle:

The Jaguars lost the turnover battle 3-2 and scored just three points on three red-zone trips in a 20-10 win over Mike Tomlin’s Steelers in Week 8. Trevor Lawrence threw an ugly interception on first-and-goal from the 6-yard line and both Evan Engram and Tank Bigsby lost fumbles in Steelers territory, but it didn’t matter. The Jags defense picked up the slack. Lawrence and Engram bounced back from their mistakes. Running back Travis Etienne Jr. was responsible for multiple explosive plays, including a 56-yard receiving touchdown and the two-point conversion that followed. The margin for error is widening for Jacksonville because the team isn’t overly dependent on any one player or one side of the ball to have success.

Etienne has the third-most rushing yards (583) and second-most receiving yards (266) of any running back in the NFL. Tight end Evan Engram leads all at his position in receiving yards after the catch (289). Both guard Brandon Scherff and tackle Cam Robinson rank inside the top six at their respective positions in Pro Football Focus pass-blocking grade. Defensively, the Jags are sixth in offensive points allowed per game (17.8) and 10th in success rate (60.6 percent). The fact that Lawrence—who ranks just 20th in EPA per dropback—doesn’t have to be everything for Jacksonville to have this kind of success bodes well for its postseason aspirations.

Sharp Football Analysis: 10 (last week: 10)

From Raymond Summerlin:

They probably should have won by more, but the Jaguars took care of business in Pittsburgh and now have firm control of the AFC South. They still have tough games against the 49ers (after the bye), the Bengals, the Browns, and the Ravens left on the schedule, but they should have enough to win this division.

Here’s how I would rank the top-10 teams entering Jacksonville’s bye:

  1. Ravens -- Roquon Smith is responsible for the league’s best defense since Baltimore acquired him at last year’s trade deadline. Mike Macdonald should be the frontrunner for NFL Assistant Coach of the Year, and Lamar Jackson has sprinkled in some MVP-caliber performances. The Ravens have been my Super Bowl pick since the spring.
  2. Chiefs — The first NFL team of the millennium to rank top 5 in DVOA for all three phases (offense, defense, and special teams) through the first eight weeks of the season. Spags showing up this early in the season has me less concerned about Kansas City’s receivers.
  3. Eagles — A.J. Brown just broke Calvin Johnson’s record for consecutive games with 125-plus receiving yards (5). He’d have a case for midseason MVP if not for Tyreek Hill.
  4. Dolphins -- Hill has 1,014 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns... through eight games. What?!
  5. Jaguars — Jacksonville’s defense ranks fourth in DVOA and EPA per play allowed. Hopefully the offense will catch up with Ezra Cleveland now in the fold and Walker Little and Zay Jones coming back from knee injuries.
  6. Seahawks -- Seattle is a real contender and they know it.
  7. Bengals -- Joe Burrow looked all the way back after completing 28-of-32 passes for 283 yards and 3 touchdowns (good for a 134.8 passer rating) to hand San Francisco its third straight L.
  8. 49ers -- Turnovers are finally catching up to Brock Burdy’s erratic play, but the Niners should be okay once Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams return from injuries. And they just added Chase Young.
  9. Cowboys -- A power rankings shakeup could come next week as Dallas and Philadelphia face each other on Sunday afternoon.
  10. Bills -- Buffalo has never been a fully trustworthy team, and season-ending injuries at each level of its defense (DaQuan Jones, Matt Milano, Tre White) make its rest-of-season outlook dire. That said, I still have more faith in Josh Allen and the Bills than Jared Goff and the Lions.

Where would you rank the team heading into Week 9, Jaguars fans? Let us know in the comments!