Why the Jaguars Are Facing Down a Perfectly Bad Season, Again
Last year, when the 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars started their season 0-8, it wound up being outscored by the largest margin in the entire NFL and became the butt of a half-joking, half serious bout of curiosity regarding whether or not they’d be able to beat even an NCAA team. This was a big deal. After all, no non-expansion team save the 2008 Detroit Lions had ever had an imperfect, perfectly bad, or winless season since the merger, and Detroit had been the first team to do it in a full season since 1976 (the ’82 Colts lost eight games straight, the most they could have in a strike-shortened year). There was a touch of anticipation in the air — the same sort of rubbernecking that goes on during a car accident and the same reason why people keep watching any sort of catastrophe, doubly so if it’s in sports — where, at the end of the day, there’s nothing at stake except pure emotional involvement. That year, the Jaguars managed to double their wins from 2012, all the way to four, but they were never more exciting than that 0-8 stretch.
This year? This year they’re facing down 0-7 with a team that’s arguably worse than last year (even if you consider no Blaine Gabbert addition by subtraction, Toby Gerhart is no Maurice Jones-Drew, and not even bad MJD), and they’re kind of an afterthought. They’re just bad. Historically bad, but not historically bad in the same way that they were in 2013 when their point differential was miserable through two games. Plus, because this is mandatory, they’ve got a pool in their stadium. Hard to stay mad when there’s a pool in the stadium.
That said, let’s examine the Jags remaining schedule, keeping in mind that any team can win on any given Sunday — and for the record, the Jags would have completely crushed an NCAA team, even if you cherry picked the best of the best college players.
Their first game left is against Cleveland, which, you know, normally would be a “probably win,” but the Jags just lost to the Titans, so all bets are off. After that, they’re playing only competitive teams, with the exception of a rematch with those very same field goal blockers from Tennessee. They could look to steal a couple of games against the Texans, who are in their own rebuilding mode, but even then, those don’t look to be cheery encounters — using that all important points differential, the Jags are the only team who’ve cracked triple digits so far this year. That sounds like it could be good, but to clarify, Jacksonville has a point differential of -104 through six games, meaning that they’ve given up that many points more than they’ve scored.
In summary, the team struggles to score, they struggle to defend, and while there are elements of the team that have improved from last year (the quarterback, the offensive line), they’re still far from good. The only difference between this year and last? They’ve lost their novelty. If you’re curious, the Jaguars’ full schedule is here.