Friday, August 26, 2005

The Jacksonville Jaguars aka The Warlord

The Jaguars are much like the Bills in the fact that their offensive struggled early last year. Unlike the Bills, the Jaguars struggled on offense late too. If it weren’t for the defense, Jacksonville could’ve finished 5-11 or worse. Byron Leftwhich put up big numbers but they didn’t translate into points on the board. The difference between winning and losing in the NFL is the difference between touchdowns and field goals. The Jags didn’t score thirty points in any games last year and they only scored more than 23 points twice. I can't believe that's even possible. If Jacksonville has any hope of making the playoffs this year, they’ll need to figure out how to finish drives.

If you look at the stats of Leftwich, Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith, you’d think that the Jags have something going on offense. Leftwich had a decent quarterback rating of 82.2. Fred Taylor had over 1,200 yards rushing and averaged close to five yards per carry. Jimmy Smith had close to 1,200 yards receiving. The pieces are in place for this team to score points. They need a second receiving threat to take the pressure of Jimmy Smith. The Jags second leading receiver last year had 533 yards receiving. That’s not good.

The defense is very impressive. Everything starts with John Henderson and Marcus Stroud at the defensive tackles positions. There probably isn’t a better tandem in the league. Jacksonville only allowed 17 points per game last season and they’ll probably come close to that again. Nate Wayne and Mike Peterson are sold linebackers. Donovan Darious and Deon Grant are a great safety tandem. The defense is talented all over the field. The only question is whether the offense will score more points than the defense allows. That didn’t happen last year.

The Jaguars have two distinct schedules wrraped in one. The first half is unpleasant. The second half couldn’t be easier. The first portion features Seattle, Indy, NY Jets, Denver, Cincy, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Houston and Baltimore. The Jags would be lucky to go 3-6 in those games. The second half has Tennessee (2), Arizona, Cleveland, Indy, San Francisco and Houston. The Jags should go 5-2 in those games. I don’t think that’ll be enough to get them in the playoffs.

Predicted record: 8-8

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