NFL Analysis: Can MJD Rescue Jacksonville From More Misery?

There was never any real chance for the Jacksonville Jaguars to be any good in 2012. When running back Maurice Jones-Drew went down for the count in Week 7, the season turned into an unmitigated disaster at 2-14. If nothing else, 2013 has to be a little better doesn’t it? That’s the question our NFL analysis will look at here.

MJD is back in the fold, and the front office used the second overall pick in the draft to take offensive tackle Luke Joeckel. Jacksonville finished near the bottom of the league running the ball a year ago, and they should at least get back to having a competent ground game.

What they are not going to have is a competent passing game, and won’t, so long as Blaine Gabbert is in town. Despite a 77.4 QB rating and having shown zero signs that he can be a competent NFL passer, Gabbert has been given the starting job, while Tim Tebow has to beg for scraps anywhere he can find them. But Gabbert’s incompetence is done as a classic dropback passer, and no one ever accused NFL teams of wanting to think outside the box.

Jacksonville’s running game and its respectable ability to defend the run  could enable them to keep games close, but the problems on pass defense will likely become overwhelming. The Jags had the worst pass rush in the league, with defensive end Jason Babin a shadow of himself at 33. The team brought in new corners, with veteran Alan Ball and rookie Dwayne Gratz. Maybe shuffling the deck will bring up some better cards, but there’s no reason to bet on it.

The Jaguars have an Over/Under win prop of 5 posted in Las Vegas. That’s about as low as the conservative bookmakers will go, and even getting push would still require the Jags to increase their win total by a multiple of 2 ½. I can’t go there-there’s no way the Jags do any better than five wins on the dot, and I suspect they slip in under. But to answer our original question—they’ll win more than two games this time out. 

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