Don’t look now, but the Jacksonville Jaguars might actually be legitimate Super Bowl contenders in 2017.
After posting nine-straight losing seasons, the Jaguars are off to a 3-2 start in 2017. While their win/loss record isn’t exactly eye-popping, the performance of their defense under defensive coordinator Todd Wash has been simply outstanding – especially against the pass.
Jacksonville has allowed just 177.8 passing yards per game and only 3 touchdown passes through five weeks this season season. On top of that, the Jaguars have also recorded 10 interceptions and 20 sacks. This all adds up to a minuscule 56.9 combined quarterback rating for the opposing signal callers the Jags have faced in 2017.
According to NFL Research, their success against opposing quarterbacks could mean big things are in store for the Jaguars for the remainder of the season.
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 12, 2017
Jacksonville has faced six quarterbacks thus far in 2017 – Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans, Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans, Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens, Josh McCown of the New York Jets, and Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Two of those six quarterbacks have Super Bowl rings (Flacco and Roethlisberger), and two others (Watson and Mariota) are among the best up-and-coming players in the league.
Most of Jacksonville’s success against opposing passing attacks can be attributed to a much-improved pass rush, led by defensive ends Calais Campbell (6 sacks), Dante Fowler (4 sacks), and Yannick Ngakoue (4 sacks), and the play of their secondary, led by cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey (2 interceptions) and A.J. Bouye (2 interceptions), and safety Tashaun Gipson (3 interceptions).
When it comes down to it, the Jaguars still have a lot to prove before they can truly be considered Super Bowl contenders. Their defensive play gives plenty of reason to be optimistic, but only time will tell if they are good enough to carry Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville offense on a deep postseason run.
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