After Sunday’s 33-16 loss at home against the now 5-2 Oakland Raiders, the Jacksonville Jaguars are beginning to see a season filled with such promise and potential slip away as we enter the halfway point of the 2016 NFL season. What’s gone wrong for a team with great talent and the 23-ranked schedule in terms of difficulty in the league?
Underperforming players, for one, have played a huge role in getting the Jaguars off to such a rocky start. Jacksonville is ranked 31 in total offense thus far, with only 355 rushing yards and 1,245 passing yards in seven games. Chris Ivory was supposed to bring his reckless running style from the Jets down to Jacksonville, but so far has rushed for only one touchdown and 75 yards. Blake Bortles hasn’t lived up to his previous two seasons and has his Jaguars offense ranked 26 in total passing offense with only eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. The duo of Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson at wide receiver has also been a huge let down after monster seasons in 2015, with the two combining for only four touchdowns and 587 receiving yards on Jacksonville’s fall to 26 in total receiving statistics.
Fortunately for Jacksonville, their season is far from over, and with an awful AFC South where the first-place Houston Texans are at 4-2 and the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans are at 3-4 respectively gives Jacksonville a chance to get right back into the mix with back-to-back wins in the coming weeks. Weak divisions around the AFC also bode well for Jacksonville in their quest for a playoff birth, and I don’t see any team from the AFC East or North besides the division winners making it in. In the AFC West, Oakland,Denver, and Kansas City are all in the running, and one wildcard team will likely emerge from there, leaving one open for Jacksonville in the South if they can manage to get to 9-7.
With seven out of their remaining 10 games against teams with winning records, the odds are stacked against the Jaguars. It’s too early to tell Jaguars fans to wait until next year, but their playoff aspirations certainly took a hit this weekend and that light at the end of the tunnel, though still visible, looks much dimmer.