In hindsight, perhaps the Jacksonville Jaguars were a bit overhyped coming into their 2023 NFL season. Last year, the Jags started their campaign with virtually no expectations. Fans and analysts expected to see some tangible improvements from their young cornerstones, particularly from their second-year franchise quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, but no one was expecting Jacksonville to win the division or make the playoffs.
And through the first 12 games of the 2022 season, those dissenters seemed to be proven right. While there were plenty of signs of encouragement, Jacksonville had just a 4-8 record with three-quarters of the season finished. Any delusional supporters who had playoff hopes certainly abandoned their postseason dreams at that point.
And yet, miraculously, the Jaguars won their 13th game, and their 14th game, and didn’t drop a single contest for the remainder of the regular season. Lawrence led his team to a 5-0 finish to his sophomore season and looked like an absolute superstar the whole way. Their luck didn’t run out in the postseason either.
In fact, the Jags would go on to win their Wildcard match-up against the Los Angeles Chargers in a chaotic shootout, outgunning opposing star quarterback, Justin Herbert, 31-30. Jacksonville ultimately fell short against the eventual champion Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round, but even their one-score defeat only gave fans further encouragement for the future.
This season appears to be the polar opposite for the Jags. Coming into the year, they had heavy expectations laid upon them to build on the promise they showed last year. Still, there were plenty of dissenters who had risen up to cast their doubt against Lawrence and the Jags, claiming that they would have a tough time winning the weak AFC South, let alone improving upon their divisional round appearance from last season.
And through the first 11 games of the year, those doubters looked absolutely foolish, as the Jags started off their campaign at 8-3 and seemed to be well on their way to claiming the AFC South crown. Now, though, their lead on the rest of the division has completely dissipated, as their currently locked in a three-way tie with the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts at 8-6 after dropping three straight games.
The Jags are still technically leading the AFC South, but Lawrence has looked lost the last three games. He may still be recovering from what appeared to be a brutal ankle injury suffered in Week 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he and the rest of this Jacksonville team will have to work quickly, lest they lose the remainder of their confidence and the AFC South crown.
Two weeks ago, Trevor Lawrence drew attention after suffering an ankle injury and walking all the way to the locker room instead of using a cart.
This week, he got the Jaguars’ entire offensive line golf carts for Christmas ⛳pic.twitter.com/Rb8ElOVO5f
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) December 18, 2023
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| Title: The Jacksonville Jaguars are reeling
| Author: Andy Quach
| Date: December 20th, 2023