The 2018 season was an absolute disaster and change couldn’t come soon enough. It’s hard to imagine it’s only been 2yrs since this team was 10-6 and just barely lost to the Pats in the AFC Championship.
The lowly Jags won just 5 games last year as it was a return to the 2011-2016 era where the organization went 22-74.
2019 brings us a new offensive coordinator a new QB in Super Bowl savior Nick Foles and some renewed optimism over a fresh start. I’m expecting a re-energized and productive defense now that the apparent rift with the offense is in the past (for now)
One has to think that the removal of Blake Bortles does so much for the mentality and the overall ‘effort’ level from the defense. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they weren’t trying but the sheer nature of being an NFL defender requires anger, aggression, preparation and the sheer desire to make the tackle and that’s hard to maintain for 16 games when you know that as soon as you do your job and get the ball back your offense gives it right back.
Now if only they can find a way to score some points…..
Super Bowl Odds: +3300
Odds to Win the AFC: +1600
Odds to Win the AFC South: +500
Season Win Total: 8
(Lines Weeks 2-16 from CG Technology as of May 16, 2019)
Week / Opponent / Line / Expected Wins
1 Kansas City +3.5 (.36)
2 @Houston +3.5 (.36)
3 Tennessee -3 (.59) TNF
4 Denver +3 (.41)
5 @Carolina +3.5 (.36)
6 New Orleans +4 (.34)
7 @Cincinnati PK (.50)
8 New York Jets -4 (.64)
9 Houston PK (.50) (London)
11 @Indianapolis +6.5 (.28)
12 @Tennessee +3 (.41)
13 Tampa Bay -4.5 (.67)
14 LA Chargers +1 (.49)
15 @Oakland PK (.50)
16 @Atlanta +5 (.32)
17 Indianapolis +1 (estimate) (.49)
Total Expected Wins: 7.22
I suppose the biggest story is the loss of the infamous Blake Bortles and the addition of Nick Foles. Call him big dick Nick, call him Peter North, or call him John Holmes. Whatever it is, he’ll have an offense to himself this year to show everyone what he’s got.
He’s partnered up with another new addition and old friend John DeFilippo as the OC, reuniting them back from their days in Philly. (John was the QB Coach). DeFilippo was the OC last year in Minnesota but was released before season’s end. The offense put up some good numbers statistically but never looked right and the Vikings had a down year. Reports suggest he wanted to pass the ball more while Head Coach Mike Zimmer wanted to run it.
Outside of those two changes, they brought in WR Chris Conley and Dallas’ TE Geoff Swain. Zzzzzz
Some positive news! The Jags crushed the draft this year. Well at least in the first two rounds so take a second and rejoice in some rare positive news. It was a bit of a surprise that Josh Allen fell (Draft position over/under was 3.5), but the Jags grabbed the edge rusher out of Kentucky #7 overall and have bolstered their pass rush. Allen isn’t a project by any means and should make an immediate impact.
On Day 2, the Jags grabbed OL help with Florida’s Jawaan Taylor 35th overall. Pro Football Focus had Taylor as their #15 overall player so this is a good pick up, provided he stays healthy.
The Jags were expected to fill a need at tight end in the early rounds but couldn’t pass on up on Allen and Taylor so they had to wait for the 3rd round to grab Josh Allen, out of San Jose State. They don’t have many offensive options at TE so Allen may be required to jump in early and learn the hard way.
I can’t forget to mention 6th round pick Gardner Mustache, uh I mean Minshew, from Washington State. I like these types of late round picks. Why not take a flyer on a young arm with potential. Worst case, the camera crew should get some great shots of his stache on the sideline every week
Let’s start with this….Nick Foles is an improvement over Blake Bortles and this team should improve. It can only go up, they averaged just over 15ppg (31st) and 302yds per game (27th) while coming in at 30th in DVOA. (Football Outsiders) For those of you owning Bortles in fantasy, you know that those 302yds per game are bogus as he routinely threw for 100+ during fourth quarter garbage time. Shame on us for owning him.
Outside of Foles, there were no major changes to their skill position players. Yes, this is probably troublesome. Leonard Fournette will lead the way again in a running attack that posted 107ypg, good for 19th in the league. He is the key and how they use him and his health will determine their success this year. They lack legitimate depth behind him with an ensemple of journeymen (Alfred Blue, Thomas Rawls, Benny Cunningham) and a 5th round rookie (Ryquel Armstead) so that’s troubling given Fournette has yet to play a complete 16 game season and missed 9 games last year (8 to injury / 1 to suspension).
I mentioned tight ends already, but this is also an area of weakness and back when Foles played with OC DeFilippo in Philly, they featured quite a few two tight end sets – which they’ll have to move away from with this roster.
A new offensive mind should reap some dividends for number #1 WR Dede Westbrook who is poised to see an increase in targets and production (fantasy alert) There is some potential in other young wide outs – Marqise Lee, DJ Chark and Keelan Cole provided the team veers away from its ‘run first’ mentality.
The kicker here is how big of an impact old school Tom Coughlin has. He’s already called out a couple players and there’s potential for the 72yr old to piss off all the youngsters. He’s like the grumpy Grandad lecturing all the youngsters about their work ethic. He also likes to run the ball, as does Head Coach Doug Marrone so we’ll see if DeFillipo gets his way with the offense and is able to add some creativity and dimensions to the playbook. Hopefully this isn’t the same situation he went through in Minnesota.
This is a legit unit poised for a return to glory. They have two monsters up front with Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, who combined for 20 sacks last year. Myles Jack leads the line backing corps and welcomes in rookie Josh Allen to the front seven. Unfortunately, they lose their leading tackler, Telvin Smith for the year as he’s sitting out for personal reasons.
They were second in the league in passing yards allowed thanks to CB’s AJ Bouye, DJ Hayden and are led by pro bowler and shit talker Jalen Ramsey. After the season they had, it’s no surprise he’s been quiet this summer.
This team was one of just 5 teams last year to hold opponents to under 20/ppg, which was extra difficult due to their offense giving the ball away 29 times (-12 differential)
As good as they are, they’ll have their hands full up with this schedule going up against some of the league’s top offenses – INDY/HOU/KC/NO/ATL/TB.
Notes & Nuggets
The schedule gods were not kind to the Jags. Similar to the rest of the AFC South, they rank near the top for difficulty based on both last year’s win percentages and this year’s projected win totals.
Their defense is their strength and they’ll be tested mightily to start the year opening up at home versus KC and then going on the road for Houston’s home opener. This looks very much like an 0-2 start which will hamper team morale as they need some early wins to get their confidence back.
Once again, the Jags get to play in London (counted as an away game) where they should have a home field advantage in terms of familiarity, travel planning and comfort. (3-1 over last 4) Whether or not the fans in the stadium are cheering for the Jags is another story.
The line has moved from 8.5 down to 8 in most spots so be sure to shop around. For the third straight AFC South team, I’m on the under. I obviously like the 8.5 better and that would be my second strongest play in this division after the Colts, but I still like the UNDER 8. I’m sure we’ll see some improvement over their 5 win season last year, but take a look at that difficult schedule and try to find 9 games that they’ll win – you won’t be able to.