[Playoffs 2023] Jacksonville Jaguars: fight until the end


Worst team 2021 with only three wins, the Jaguars have made the switch in just one year! Although they are not the most intimidating, they should and will be taken seriously.

Jacksonville Jaguars: 9 wins-8 losses

Fairly qualified. Narrow Division Winners: Jacksonville wasn’t dazzling in 2022. But they’re here and deserve their place! No, their schedule wasn’t the toughest of the 32 franchises entered. But such a progression in one season is considerable.

The new coach knew how to bring his paw: nothing crazy but a solid and reliable team. He was well helped by good additions during the market: Oluokun, Williams, Scherff, Kirk and Engram. Also by a profitable draft with defenders Walker, Lloyd and Muma as well as a starting OC (center).

Applied, the Jaguars bring little glitter but a lot of realism: like his trainer Doug Pederson.

How did they get there?

Their record on the first eight games of the season: six defeats! With a Trevor Lawrence throwing six interceptions for just nine touchdowns. Of the remaining nine games, the young quarterback throws only two interceptions (and 15 TDs) and the record is seven wins for only two losses!

There was a turning point in the Jags’ season and it was during the game in London against the Denver Broncos on October 30, 2022. After this new defeat, Trevor Lawrence publicly apologized and proclaimed that he was going to do everything to play better. Promise kept.

The key player: Travon Walker

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is by his position, and his progress, an obvious choice. But when the playoffs come, it’s most often the defense that makes the difference. Foye Oluokun tackles anything that moves, cornerbacks Darious Williams and Tyson Campbell defend the air, while a Josh Allen-Dawuane Smoot-Arden Key line brings pressure. As a bonus, the handyman Rayshawn Jenkins.

But, although a rookie, the man capable of changing everything in this squad is Travon Walker. Already because of his presence against the race and in the playoffs this counts enormously. Then, because his incessant activity disrupts the opposing offensive lines. During the so important last game of the regular season, he certainly signed only four tackles and only one QB Hits against Tennessee.

What does not appear in the statistics but which was visible in the match is that his activity was decisive: he, for example, imposed two penalties for holding (withholding of the shirt). He therefore did not sign a sack on these actions but he should have had it not been for the opponent’s fault: the referees therefore pushed the opponent back and that too is precious.

Athletic and able to attack from different angles, he is the one who can sign the decisive defensive game during a cleaver match.

Why are they going to go all the way?

Because the attack has become, over the season, very clean. Six of their eight losses have been with a difference of a touchdown or less! But where the Jaguars lost that tight game at the start of the season, they won it in the second half. Not losing balls in attack and recovering them in defense: the winning recipe in knockout matches.

After a white rookie season in 2021, runner Travis Etienne justified his selection in the 1st round of the draft in 2022: 1125 yards on the ground! And receiver Christian Kirk has silenced the critics on his imposing contract: he too has more than 1,000 receiving yards. It was very well completed by Zay Jones, Evan Engram and Marvin Jones: more than 2000 yards in total for the three.

Ground game: check. Passing game: check. And of course, this was made possible by an offensive line that was announced to be catastrophic before the season and which thwarted this prognosis: 5th in conceded sacks! Often underestimated, the importance of the special team: Jamal Agnew is undoubtedly one of the best returners in the game, as is punter Logan Cooke. If need to try the “3 points”, Riley Patterson must make Detroit regret not having extended it.

Why won’t they go?

The experience seems an evidence worthy of a remark of Captain Obvious. But Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne and Travon Walker have known the stakes of a college final. And they came out victorious! Coach Doug Pederson won a Super Bowl with Philadelphia. It seems unlikely that this team will have shaky legs when it comes to playing in the NFL playoffs.

But if the Chargers do not seem to come from a higher level, the Bills and the Chiefs seem to come from another world! Trevor Lawrence was drafted with the hope that he would become one of those guys: the few who can lift everyone up. But in his second season only, he is still far from the level displayed by Josh Allen (Bills) and Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs).

The defense offers quality players but many are still a little tender: the average age of the eleven starters is only 25 years and 3 months! If Darious Williams was able to play nine playoff games with the Rams, only two other defenders experienced the postseason : Arden Key with the 49ers (3 games) and Rayshawn Jenkins with the Chargers (2).

Injured players

The biggest salary of the team is on the flank! Only five games for cornerback Shaquill Griffin: the one supposed to carry the back line. Young Tyson Campbell shows he’s more than just an outstanding athlete and Darious Williams brings his expertise. But the presence of a CB1 making quarterbacks hesitate to launch on his side, is missing from this unit. Shaquill Griffin is missing in Florida.

The loss of Cam Robinson as the all-important left tackle position is detrimental. Extended in the off-season for 54 million dollars over 3 years, the amount of this contract had made many observers jump! After 14 games in 2022, no one is saying a word. Effective in protection and dominant in his blocks for the running game, the loss of Cam Robinson is very bad news for Trevor Lawrence and this attack: his replacement, Walker Little, is a young quality player but the damage is real!

Prognosis

Not flamboyant, this team is nevertheless legitimate. Applied in attack and athletic in defense, the Jaguars will not make any complex. But from there to consider them as going to Arizona to play the Super Bowl, the bet seems daring.

One game after another and fight to the end. This is Jacksonville’s philosophy this year: and more if you like…



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