Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
2017 Record: 10-6 (1st, AFC South)
2018 Record: 4-9 (4th, AFC South)
Outlook: The Jags were the surprise team of the AFC playoffs last year. They edged the Bills in a 10-3 defensive battle, then played an entirely different kind of game a week later to top the Steelers in a 45-42 shootout. They even had the Patriots on the ropes in the AFC Championship Game, leading 14-3 in the second quarter and 20-10 in the fourth quarter before New England rallied for a 24-20 win.
The Jags’ stellar defense finished #2 in the NFL in points allowed last season. Aptly-named ”Sacksonville” finished with an impressive 55 sacks, second only to Pittsburgh’s 56. They also finished with 21 interceptions, again second in the NFL. The Jags’ D boasted six Pro Bowl players, including All-Pro defensive end Calais Campbell and All-Pro corner Jalen Ramsey.
Although the defense got the headlines, the Jacksonville offense was quietly one of the better units in the NFL as well. Behind rookie Leonard Fournette’s 1,342 scrimmage yards (in only 13 games) and significant improvement to Blake Bortles’ ball security, the Jags scored 417 points, good for 5th in the league.
All of that now seems like a distant memory at best. Maybe even a dream.
The 2018 Jags started 3-1, including a convincing win over the Patriots. They then dropped seven games in a row. Bortles, meanwhile, reverted to his former shaky form and lost his starting job to Cody Kessler. The defense can still be dominant at times, but it’s less consistent, and hasn’t been helped by the offense at all. Case-in-point: Jacksonville finally snapped its losing streak with a win over the Colts (by a score of 6-0!), but then fell apart against the Titans last Thursday, surrendering a Tennessee franchise-record 238 rushing yards to Derrick Henry in a 30-9 loss.
Needless to say, expectations were very high for the 2018 Jaguars, and Jacksonville has faltered badly.
How Worried Should We Be?: Terrified. Yes, the Jags have been one of the major disappointments of 2018. Yes, they’ve lost eight of their past nine games. Yes, they’re coming off of a very bad loss to the Titans.
But have you seen the Redskins lately?
The front-running Washington squad of just a few weeks back seems like a team from another season. Two quarterbacks lost to broken legs. Numerous offensive linemen out for the year. More players on IR than anyone in the league. A defensive captain in Mason Foster who was (unfairly in my view) outed as having made some disparaging comments about the franchise and its fans a couple of days ago. A staff that is suddenly coaching for its jobs.
Amazingly, despite everything that’s happened, the Redskins still have a fairly straightforward path to the playoffs. But does anyone trust them to beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville? Disappointment or not, 4-8 or not, the Jags still have a very sturdy defense, and Josh Johnson, a makeshift line, and a determined Adrian Peterson may not be enough to generate the offense necessary to do much against that unit.
On the other hand, the Jags’ offense is pretty bad. Jacksonville is 30th in points, and Bortles has been flat-out brutal at times. Kessler isn’t much of an upgrade, but at least he’s only turned the ball over once in his two starts so far.
This one could be another low-scoring, hard-to-watch contest. Hopefully, that breaks the Redskins’ way. But, coming off a beatdown in which the Giants—without Odell Beckham—led the Redskins 34-0 at halftime, I think it goes without saying that there’s serious cause for concern.
And, if Washington can’t find a way to beat another struggling team, rest assured that more major changes are coming.
Whether you think that’s good news or depressing is up to you.
How worried should the Redskins be about the Jacksonville Jaguars?
This poll is closed
Not too worried