Team Capsules: Jacksonville Jaguars

August 23, 2023

A look at every NFL franchise heading into the 2023 season

© Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars will look to follow up their 2022-23 season with yet another trip to the postseason. Jacksonville has not made it to the postseason in back-to-back years since the 1990s, although the Jags are in an excellent position to do so entering this season.

Trevor Lawrence is another year wiser. Doug Pederson has had an entire season to sit back and reflect on his first go-around as head coach. And generally, the Jags have a pretty talented roster. Still, the Jags are an organization that has yet to have a history of consistent success, so you never know what you might get from Jacksonville throughout the season.

As it stands, the Jaguars are -170 to win the AFC South, 12/1 to win the AFC and 20/1 to win the Super Bowl. If last season indicated what the Jags might have in store for this coming season, then sports bettors should have them on their radar for the Sunday slates.

What to like about the Jaguars…

  • Trevor Lawrence finally looked like the top overall pick last season and helped lead the Jags to the postseason. Lawrence passed for more than 4,000 passing yards last season along with 25 touchdowns compared to just eight interceptions, which was a massive improvement from his 2021 season. He made the Pro Bowl last season and has all the intangibles to play at a high level again this season. His stacked receiving core features Calvin Ridley and Zay Jones, plus his Clemson running mate Travis Etienne in the backfield. It’s a quarterback-driven league, and the Jags have one with as much upside as any in the NFL. If Lawrence continues progressing, the Jags will be in a good spot.
  • The Jags’ offense was middle-of-the-pack last season, although they are in an excellent position to leap forward. Outside of Lawrence having another year of experience under his belt, the Jags will have Ridley on the field now that his suspension is over with. Ridley is a dynamic receiver who joins a deep Jags wide-receiver room featuring Jones, Christian Kirk and tight end Evan Engram. There are plenty of weapons for the Jags’ offense, which should set Lawrence and his teammates up for success this season.
  • The AFC South might be the weakest division in the conference. The Titans are a well-coached team, but they have plenty of issues they need to resolve to contend for the postseason once again. Beyond Tennessee, the Colts have a rookie head coach and quarterback, with the same being said for the Houston Texans. The Jags are the most complete team in the division and have the most straightforward path toward the crown.

What not to like about the Jaguars…

  • We are talking about the Jags at the end of the day. The team has only made the postseason eight times during the franchise’s mostly downtrodden history. Reputation only means so much, but the Jags are one of the worst franchises in pro sports since the turn of the century. Winning is not in their DNA, and while they have a bunch of talent at the moment, no guarantee translates to success for a second consecutive season.
  • Losing Jawaan Taylor will be challenging for the Jags. While they have plenty of talent at the skill positions, it won’t matter if they can’t provide ample time for the offense to run the plays. Taylor got a big payday from the Kansas City Chiefs and is one of the highest-paid offensive linemen in the NFL. There is a reason the defending champs went out and dropped a bag on Taylor as he is a premium player at a premium position; replacing him will be no easy task.
  • The Jags need to improve their pass rush to succeed this season. Josh Allen led the team in sacks with seven last season, which leaves plenty to be desired. Travon Walker will need to step up, among others, but the Jags need to generate more pressure from their pass rush this season than they did last year. The Jags allowed 238.5 passing yards per game last season, the fifth-worst in the league. Their run defense is average, but with the pass-happy nature of the NFL today, Jacksonville needs to generate more pressure across the board.

Steve Quinne’s Pick: Jaguars over 9.5 wins in 2023 (-140)

While it is hard to trust the Jags year-to-year, they have the makings of a solid team entering the 2023 NFL season. Doug Pederson is an established, Super Bowl-winning head coach and Trevor Lawrence showed last season that he has the ability to thrive in a non-toxic environment. The Jags have plenty of depth at the skill positions to pair with Lawrence’s skill set and ability to adjust on the fly. Jacksonville should play an up-tempo style of game that builds off its success from last season. Furthermore, the Jags are by far the best team in the AFC South on paper. Really, it’s up to Jacksonville to not mess things up this season, because it has a road map to a division crown should the Jags manage to take care of business. With the odds to win the division juiced, let’s look toward their win total, with the Jags winning double-digit games in the coming season.