The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off yet another awful season in which they went just 3-13, dropping their overall record to 14-50 over the last 4 seasons. Their 7-25 record the past two years have come under the duo of head coach Gus Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell.

A lot of owners would have been quick to show Bradley and Caldwell the door, but Shad Khan believes these two have the organization headed in the right direction, though another poor showing in 2015 could certainly change his opinion.

The thing you have to keep in mind is that Bradley and Caldwell stepped into an awful situation when they came to Jacksonville. The roster was depleted of talent on both sides of the ball. While it doesn’t look like the Jaguars will be sniffing a .500 season in 2015, there is reason to be optimistic about this team being a lot more competitive.

Last Season
AFC South
Record
ATS Record
Home ATS
Road ATS
Over/Under
3rd
3-13
6-9-1
3-5
3-4-1
8-8
Offense Rank
Defense Rank
Turnover Margin
Points For
Points Against
31st
26th
-6
15.6
25.8
2015 Roster Changes
Draft Picks
Dante Fowler Jr. (OLB), T.J. Yeldon (RB), A.J. Cann (OG), James Sample (SS), Rashad Greene (WR), Michael Bennett (DT), Neal Sterling (WR), Ben Koyack (TE)
Additions
Julius Thomas (TE), Jared Odrick (DT), Stefen Wisniewski (C), Sergio Brown (FS), Jermey Parnell (OT), Dan Skuta (OLB)
Losses
Cecil Shorts (WR), Will Blackmon (CB), J.T. Thomas (OLB), Alan Ball (CB), Red Bryant (DE), Geno Hayes (OLB)
2015 Schedule & Odds
Week Opponent Spread Win Chance
1 Panthers +4 0.34
2 Dolphins +4 0.34
3 @ Patriots +11.5 0.12
4 @ Colts +10.5 0.14
5 @ Buccaneers +3.5 0.36
6 Texans +3.5 0.36
7 Bills +6 0.29
8 BYE
9 @ Jets +5 0.32
10 @ Ravens +10.5 0.14
11 Titans -1.5 0.53
12 Chargers +4.5 0.33
13 @ Titans +3 0.41
14 Colts +6 0.29
15 Falcons +2 0.47
16 @ Saints +8 0.21
17 @ Texans +8 0.21
Estimated Wins: 4.86
Roster Breakdown

The most important thing that Jacksonville wants to see this season, is improvement on the offensive side of the ball. The Jaguars have been anemic when it comes to moving the chains and putting points on the scoreboard. Last year they ranked 31st in total offense (289.6 ypg) and 32nd in scoring (15.6 ppg), giving them 4 straight seasons where they have finished in the bottom 5 in both total and scoring offense.

It all comes down to the play of 2nd-year quarterback Blake Bortles, who showed some flashes as a rookie. In 14 games, Borltes threw for 2,908 yards, but had just 11 touchdowns to just 17 interceptions. Big improvements are expected from Bortles in year 2, as the Jaguars brought in offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who is well known for his ability to get the most out of the quarterback position.

Not only will Bortles benefit from Olson’s guidance, but he figures to have a stronger supporting cast around him. Jacksonville made a big free agent signing when they landed Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas, who will team up with a trio of promising 2nd-year receivers in Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee. They also used a 5th round pick on Florida State’s Rashad Greene, who they are hoping can fill the void left by Cecil Shorts as the slot receiver.

Most importantly, the Jaguars made it a priority to improve their offensive line. They brought in Jermey Parnell in free agency to take over at right tackle and landed center Stefen Wisniewski from Oakland. They also used a 3rd round pick on South Carolina guard A.J. Cann, who will provide depth behind Zane Beadles and Brandon Linder. The key however, is former No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel playing up to his potential at left tackle. Joeckel has been receiving a lot of praise for the 15 pounds he added in muscle during the offseason, but none of that matters if it doesn’t translate to better play on the field.

Jacksonville also used a 2nd round pick on Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon, who a lot of people, including myself, thought flew under the radar in the draft. Yeldon was a productive player in a crowded Alabama backfield and it wouldn’t come as a surprise at all if he surpassed both Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson on the depth chart in training camp.

Defensively the Jaguars started to show some real positive signs in 2014. While they finished the year ranked 26th in scoring defense (25.8 ppg), most of the damage came in the first 4 games of the season. From Week 5 on, Jacksonville allowed just 21.7 ppg.

It looked like the defense was primed for an even stronger 2015 campaign when they used the No. 3 overall pick on Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr, who would have been a perfect fit in Bradley’s LEO role as the primary pass rusher. However, Fowler tore his ACL in rookie minicamp and will miss the entire season.

That’s a huge loss, especially when you factor in that emerging defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks, who had a team high 8.5 sacks, is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in Week 17. There’s hope that Marks will be ready by Week 1, but chances are he won’t be the same dynamic player, at least not early in the season.

Luckily the Jaguars were able to add in free agent defensive end Jared Odrick from Miami, though he has just 16.5 sacks in 65 games. Starting oppositive of Odrick will be veteran Chris Clemons, who was 2nd on the team with 8 sacks, but he can’t be trusted at this point in his career (turns 34 in October). Inside, Ziggy Hood and Roy Miller will be counted on to play well while Marks regains his form.

At linebacker the Jaguars figures to be in better shape. Not only do they get back talented middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, who missed 9 games in 2014, but they added a new starter in outside linebacker Dan Skuta. Rounding out the starting 3 will be promising 2nd-year outside linebacker Telvin Smith, who finished 2nd on the team with 104 tackles as a rookie. The only concern here is the lack of depth.

The secondary also got a boost in free agency. The Jaguars brought in veteran safety Sergio Brown and corner Davon House. They also used a 4th round pick on safety James Sample. Brown and Sample will compete for the starting free safety spot next to promising young strong safety Johnathan Cyprien, while House figures to serve as the nickel corner behind returning starters Demetrius McCray and Dwayne Gratz.

Future Odds
Regular Season Win Total
to Win the AFC
to Win Super Bowl L
5.5
100 to 1
285 to 1
Odds Courtesty of 5Dimes
Projections

The days of seeing the Jaguars as a massive double-digit underdog on a week-to-week basis may be coming to an end, though they will likely remain undervalued in 2015, simply due to being so bad for so long. While this team may continue to struggle to win games, they should be a lot more competitive. Just how competitive, will come down to the play of Bortles and the offense. If the offense can take a big step forward, this team could flirt with .500.

While you could argue that the AFC South has a favorable schedule, given the overall talent of their division and the fact that they get to play two of the weaker divisions in the AFC East and NFC South, no schedule is easy when you have been as bad as the Jaguars.

With that said, I do think this team is going to surprise some people in 2015. I have Jacksonville going 6-10 and finishing 3rd in the AFC South. Unfortunately the oddsmakers have set their win total at 5.5. While I have them projected to finish 1/2-game over that mark, there’s simply not enough value, in my opinion, to warrant a wager on that prop.

AFC South Finish
Division Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
3rd
2-4
6-10
OVER 5.5
Jaguars 10-Year Recap
Year W L Playoffs Coach Win Total
2014 3 13 Bradley 5
2013 4 12 Bradley 5
2012 2 14 Mularkey 5.5
2011 5 11 Del Rio/Tucker 6.5
2010 8 8 Del Rio 7
2009 7 9 Del Rio 8
2008 5 11 Del Rio 10
2007 11 5 Lost Div Del Rio 9
2006 8 8 Del Rio 9
2005 12 4 Lost WC Del Rio 8.5
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