The Jacksonville Jaguars managed to reverse a sluggish 1-2 start this year by winning their third game in a row. With the result against the Colts (who lost both of their games in this divisional series), the team moved to 4-2, just below the top of the AFC and fighting for the AFC South with the Texans. With all this it is fair to ask: how good is this team and how far can they go this time?
The AFC South does not offer great competition for the Jaguars.
The first goal is to win this division for the second straight season, but after starting out fairly evenly matched, it is slowly becoming clear that the talent gap is too wide among its members.
Outside of Houston, who beat Jacksonville a few weeks ago, neither Tennessee or Indianapolis seem to complicate the picture at the moment.
The second game against the Texans should clear up a lot of doubts, but it is almost certain that we will not see the same version of the Jaguars that faced them in week 3. In fact, neither of the former because little by little QB C.J. Stroud is starting to make gross mistakes, as in his first interception last Sunday:
The defense finally stepped up this year.
Anyone who remembers the elimination against Chiefs knows how glaringly obvious it was how poorly they played defensively. Months later, it's fair to say that that version is totally foreign to what we see on the field right now.
Credit goes to the defensive coordinator, because really the personnel is still the same as it was in 2022. In good measure, because the investment again was almost exclusively from the offense, with three picks dedicated to offensive players and one spent on WR Calvin Ridley; also with a portion of the available money going to renovate certain offensive players.
While the defensive line shines because of DE Josh Allen with seven catches, the best fit came in the secondary with something very simple: maturity. Young players are starring after a year of experience in this system - CB Tyson Campbell, S Andre Cisco, along with veteran, DB Darious Williams.
All of this resulted in a team that can win games beyond the arm of QB Trevor Lawrence, which today seems more than necessary.
What about Trevor Lawrence?
Despite clear week-to-week improvement in his numbers, the fear is that Lawrence may not be able to play this week due to a physical issue he had last Sunday against Colts.
The third-year passer is "day-to-day" for what was described as a "sprained knee" that is not considered significant. However, his status for the upcoming game against New Orleans is up in the air, given that they face each other on short week this Thursday night. If he is unable to play, QB C.J. Beathard will be given the start in place of the injured QB.
Lawrence has 67.1% pass completions for 1 439 yards, seven TD passes and three interceptions. At the moment it shouldn't be a problem to replace him with an offense as wide-open as this one, but he should be back in time because it's clear this team will only go as far as their QB allows them to go, which could be an AFC Championship eventually.