Super Jags? Why the Jacksonville Jaguars will win the Super Bowl

Super Jags? Why the Jacksonville Jaguars will win the Super Bowl
Reading Time: 3 minutes.

Continuing Ninety Nine Yards’ look at why the remaining playoff teams will win the Super Bowl, I look at the Jacksonville Jaguars.

When the Jacksonville Jaguars made their annual pilgrimage to London they faced the struggling Denver Broncos in what many expected to be a comeback win for the Jaguars. It wasn’t, the Jaguars lost 21-7 and quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for just 133 yards and two interceptions with a lone touchdown. UK fans that watched that game might be wondering how the Jaguars have propelled themselves into the final 8 with a chance to win the Super Bowl.

While the Broncos seasoned went from bad to worse, culminating in the firing of coach Nathaniel Hackett and a 5-12 record, the Jaguars steadied the ship and went to win the AFC South with a 9-8 record. There are a number of reasons for this, the key one being:

Coaching

Doug Pederson took the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl in his second year and was loved by his players. After a slow start to the season the Jaguars won 7 of their next 9 games and a large part of this is the aggressive play calling of  coach Pederson. This was exemplified in his decision to go for the 2 point conversion in the fourth quarter of their playoff game against the Los Angeles Chargers, allowing the team to kick the game winning field goal later rather than playing for overtime.

Perhaps more important has been coach’s ability as a ‘quarterback whisperer’. Both with Carson Wentz and Nick Foles in Philadelphia, and now with Lawrence, Pederson has consistently got the best from his quarterbacks.

The Improvement of Trevor Lawrence

Lawrence’s improvement’s from year 1 to year 2 has been considerable. He threw over double the number of touchdowns (25 compared to 12) whilst halving his interceptions (8 compared to 17). He’s also reduced the number of sacks taken while becoming more comfortable in the offence and building a rapport with his receivers.

The confidence and mental toughness of Lawrence is a huge asset. Through the first eight games of the season the Jaguars were 2-6 and Lawrence was a huge reason for that. He threw 6 interceptions through this time. Since that time he’s only thrown only 2 and really put the team on his back, making frequent big plays. Despite his uneven performance in the Jaguars firs playoff games he is a huge assets for the Jaguars.

Travis Etienne

After a rookie season lost to injury, the Jaguars’ running back has consistently been one of the best players on the field for Jacksonville. He’s rushed for over a thousand yards and his speed has helped to open up the field for Jacksonville. This season Etienne has rushed for an impressive 5.1 yards bet carry. Etienne can contribute in the passing game too and may be a key player moving forward.

The Jaguars New Additions

The Jaguars were big spenders in free agency, splashing out millions on young players that had had only marginal success in their careers. The four-year, $72 million contract for Christian Kirk in particular raised some eyebrows. However, the Jaguars’ moves paid off as the trio of Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Evan Engram have all gone over 700 yards receiving. They’ve combined for 17 touchdowns. Kirk and Jones have proven to be an effective tandem whilst Engram has become invaluable on third down and in the red zone. With the Jaguars proficient across the offence it’s very much a case of pick your poison for opposing defences.

The Young Defence

Led by the NFL’s leading tackler, Foyesade Oluokun, the Jaguars’ defence has improved significantly as the season has progressed. Josh Allen has proven himself once again, pressuring quarterbacks effectively and has teamed well with first round pick Trayvon Walker. Walker himself has flashed weekly and may be saving his best for last. The team is also getting production from second year corner Tyson Campbell, who splits the teams interception lead (3) with veteran Rayshawn Jenkins.

All of these factors come together to show why the Jaguars could win the Super Bowl this year. Will they? Who knows? But they have all the ingredients to make their mark in Super Bowl history

Photos courtesy of @Cumbleton.

 

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