In The Bettors Corner: Jacksonville Jaguars

When Jacksonville picked Trevor Lawrence with the number one pick in the 2021 NFL draft, it completed the "Tanking for Trevor" that saw them finish 1-15 in 2020. On the way, they lost 15 games in a row, was outscored an average of 30-19 a game, and went winless on the road. And to make sure they got "their man," Jacksonville gave up an average of 35 points a game in the final month of the season to leave no doubt who the worst team in the NFL was. Since owner Shad Khan bought the team, the Jaguars have a record of 39-105, and they have made only three playoff appearances since 1999. The franchise only has seven playoff wins in its history. It's a big culture shock for Lawrence, who has never lost a regular-season game. His only losses in his career are against Ohio State and LSU. The rookie won't have to shoulder the load alone, also brought in to get the Jaguars back to respectability and put people in the seats was head coach Urban Meyer. A fan favorite in Florida. Meyer has a 187-32 record in college and three national championships. Two with, you guessed it, Florida. Meyer has his job cut out for him in Jacksonville, with a roster that outside of the quarterback position has very little talent. Especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Defensively the Jaguars ranked 31st in yards per game(417) and points allowed (30.8). They gave up 153 yards on the ground (30th) and ranked 31st in sacks (18). Wow! Can Trevor Lawrence play defense? It will be the job of new defensive coordinator Joe Cullen to get the most out of former first-rounders Josh Allen, CJ Henderson, and K'Lavon Chaisson. Brought in by way of the trade from New Orleans was defensive tackle Malcolm Brown, also a former first-round pick from Texas. The Jaguars drafted Tyson Campbell from Georgia and Andre Cisco from Syracuse to help the secondary that gave up 264 yards a game.

After taking Lawrence in with the first pick in the draft, the Jaguars selected his buddy from Clemson, running back Travis Etienne, along with James Robinson, who rushed for 1,070 yards in 2020; the Jags have a talented one, two punch that Lawrence can lean on in the backfield. The receiver position is where Jacksonville has the most talent. Led by free agent signing Marvin Jones Jr, and Laviska Shenault, who led the team with 58 catches, and DJ Chark, who had 53 receptions. Upgrades along the offensive line were expected for a line that gave up 44 sacks last season. Instead, the Jaguars will enter the season with the same starting five from last year. All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell took less money to stay with his former college coach from Ohio State, Urban Meyer. Much is expected from former second-round picks, Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor.

The Jags play five playoff teams from 2020, Tennessee and Indianapolis, twice in their division. After opening up in Houston, the Jags play Denver and Arizona and go to Cincinnati for Thursday night football to complete the first month of the season. They play Miami in London in week six and have their bye the following week. Seattle, Buffalo, and Indianapolis are all before Halloween and trips to the northeast after Christmas in consecutive weeks to play the Jets and Patriots.

I'm going to assume Urban Meyer isn't just a college coach and will be more successful than his rival Nick Saban was in the NFL. I'm also going to assume Trevor Lawrence is the real deal and could be the next Andrew Luck or even Peyton Manning, but Las Vegas has this win total at six, so seven wins are needed to cash this bet. I'm not sure the Jaguars are six wins better than last year. The defense is learning a new system and is very young in the secondary. The offensive line may be so bad that Meyer might have to sit Lawrence to protect him. Give Meyer a couple of drafts and a chance to put his mark on this team, and the Jags will be competitive sooner rather than later. They will probably win 4 or 5 this year.

Jacksonville Jaguars under 6.

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