Jacksonville has been described as an NFL wasteland, a franchise replete with perennial failure but perhaps the future is looking brighter which means you may want to add the Jags to your NFL picks this season.
Doom and Gloom
Yes those are the words that epitomize this woeful franchise but it wasn't always this way. Who am I kidding, of course it was! Actually the Jags have dabbled in the postseason six times during their 20 year existence with the most recent trip to the playoffs back in '07. But Jacksonville has been primarily an afterthought even in a good year and a downright disgrace during a bad one as in the 2012 season when they registered a 2-14 record which culminated in head coach Mike Mularkey and GM Gene Smith getting the axe.
Last season could only get better and it did, ever so slightly. The Jags added two whole wins and wound up with a regular season record of 4-12 and were only slightly better against the spread where they posted a 5-11 mark in NFL odds. Once again another winter in Jacksonville where the weather may be great but the football - not so much.
The Jaguars are like the nerds in school only without the smarts. They're like tofu if tofu had a thousand calories per serving. They are that really hot string bikini worn by a fat chick that should know better, reminiscent of bread baking around twine. But hope springs eternal and now we look at the only season that really matters - this one!
Jags Coming Along?
Before we get all carried away with our bad selves and declare the Jaguars as the next Cinderella story in the NFL let's not forget they are just 1-1 in the preseason with their only win over the equally dreadful Tampa Bay Bucs. However, it should be noted that if you're inclined to dabble in NFL preseason betting then the Jags are A-Okay in your book. That's right: Jacksonville is actually 2-0 against the spread, defeating the Bucs 16-10 in their opening preseason game moving from a pick to -3 point favorite in NFL odds. And again last night where they dropped a 20-19 contest to the Bears but covered the all important number as four-point road dogs.
But preseason action is still far removed from the reality of the team that will ultimately take the field when the games count for real. There are guys on the field who are linebackers one week and line cooks the next. Yet there is no better way to determine who is ready for prime time and who is not. Here are a few things to take away from the game against the Bears last night.
Blake Bortles was lauded as the most NFL ready quarterback in this year's draft and he's doing nothing to dispel that notion. He was cool and composed during the game against the Bucs and last night he was an efficient 11 of 17 passing for 160 yards. The veteran Chad Henne is not going quietly into that good night by allowing the highly touted and drafted rookie to claim the starting job. Henne acquitted himself nicely with a 12 for 17 passing effort garnering 130 yards and one touchdown through the air. So far so good.
Starting right tackle Austin Pasztor left the game with a hand injury and sixth-round pick Luke Bowanko retreated to the sidelines in the second quarter where the University of Virginia product sustained an ankle injury after getting his reps at center.
The first team offensive line as a whole struggled at times with the Bears getting pressure in the backfield and disrupting both the passing and rushing game. If the Jaguars are to have any chance of eclipsing the 4 ½ game win total that offshore bookmakers like Bet365.com are posting in their NFL odds then the offensive line will need to protect their passers and blow holes open for their runners.