2021 Record: 3-14 4th AFC South
2022 Win Total: 6 wins
Yards Per play: 24th 5.0
Yards per pass attempt: 29th 6.1
Offensive QB Sack percentage: 7th 5.03%
Yards per run: 8th 4.5
3rd down conversion rate: 28th 35.85%
Turnover Margin: 32nd -1.2
Yards Per Play allowed: 25th 5.6
Yards per pass attempt allowed: 27th 7.1
Yards allowed per rush: 14th 4.3
Defensive QB sack rate: 21st 5.57%
Notable losses: Urban Meyer HC, DJ Chark WR, Carlos Hyde RB
Notable additions: Doug Pederson HC, Christian Kirk WR, Zay Jones WR, Evan Engram TE, Brandon Scherff OG, Foyesade Oluokun LB , Folorunso Fatukasi DT, Darious Williams CB,
1st Round Draft Pick(s): Travon Walker DE Georgia
Strength of schedule: 12th (1 Easiest, 32 Hardest)
From scandals at the bar to dead last in the division, the Jags probably had the most disappointing season in the entire NFL. What was supposed to be a team that was headlined by elite college talent, turned into a toxic workplace that ultimately led to the firing of Urban Meyer. Trevor Lawrence looked nothing like a number one overall pick and ended the year 29th in yards per pass attempt. What’s worse is that of the three games the Jags won, two of them were by three points and one of them was won in London. It’s somewhat remarkable they were even top 10 in yards per carry.
Let’s start on what went well for the Jags in 2021 and how they can build on it. The Jags ran the ball well and were 8th in yards per carry in 2021. They also protected the QB well and were 7th in QB sack percentage. Considering they were often down in games, it’s impressive to see them top 7 in anything let alone protecting the passer. Perhaps the Jags will lean on that offensive line more in 2022. It helps that they get back 2nd year running back Travis Etienne Jr. who missed all of his rookie season with a lisfranc foot injury. Between Etienne Jr. and James Robinson the Jags could have one of the better backfields in the league. If they can maintain the ground game then the additions elsewhere should make a sizable impact. Trevor Lawrence will need to put in a lot of work this offseason to get acclimated with his new receivers. Among the 5 eligible receivers in an 11 personnel package, 4 did not play for the Jags last season. Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Evan Engram, and Travis Etieene will all be playing with Trevor Lawrence for the first time this season. It’s reasonable to assume that this offense will improve overall in 2022, but perhaps they might struggle at first.
While the Jags did give up over 125 rushing yards per game last season, they actually were decent when you evaluate per run. Given they were often down in games, it’s encouraging to see them just 14th in yards allowed per run. The addition of Okuokun, who made 102 solo tackles last season, should help in that field. In the secondary, the Jags can only go up. For a team that was 27th in yards allowed per pass attempt, the addition of Darious Williams should help. Tyson Williams, Shaquill Griffin, and Rayshawn Jenkins will all be playing their 2nd season with the Jaguars which should hopefully improve communication. The Jags used 5 of their 7 2022 draft picks on defense including the number one overall pick on Travon Walker who should be able to provide extra pass rush. Perhaps what may help the most is getting close to neutral in turnover margin, and sustaining drives on offense. When you are dead last in turnover margin per game, and 28th in 3rd down conversion rate, you tend to leave your defense on the field longer than they should be.
Given all the additions, the neutral strength of schedule, and the decline of a few other teams in the division it’s hard not to see this team playing better this year than last. However the market seems to agree with that, and as a result pushed their win total all the way to six wins which would be double the previous year. Assuming the Jags win both games against the Texans, and away games against the Jets and Lions, they will need to find three other wins to hit the over. Some potential targets include: home-Colts, home-Giants, home-Raiders, home-Titans. They will likely be underdogs in all of those games if not short home favorites. Seven wins just seems too high of a bar for me. If Lawrence turns out to be a bust, which could still be the case, this number is way off. At plus money, I like taking the under and assuming that this team is a ways off from being a .500 team.