It was another disappointment in 2019 as Jacksonville finished 6-10 overall. The bright spot was a rookie quarterback that was expected to be a career backup. Can the 2020 Jaguars continue to improve and eclipse this year’s Vegas-established win total of 4.5?
Last year, the Jags went all in on former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles acquiring him in free agency from Philadelphia. After giving Foles a nice $88 million contract, the former Super Bowl champion got hurt and played in just four games.
Enter rookie Gardner Minshew. The Washington State product was a sixth-round draft pick and was viewed by most as a career backup. Not for long, as fans and sportsbetting enthusiasts jumped on Minshew Mania. Minshew would go on to lead the Jags to six wins and he had the highest passer rating and fewest interceptions of all NFL rookie quarterbacks. That included Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray of Arizona.
Jacksonville did bring in Jay Gruden as its offensive coordinator. He will run a West-Coast style of offense, which will suit Minshew just fine. The Jags also added TE Tyler Eifert and RB Chris Thompson to what was a fairly exciting – at times – offense in 2019.
The Jags averaged just 18.8 points per game last year. Gruden will be the team’s fourth offensive coordinator in the past three seasons and he will have the weapons to make a turnaround possible.
The defense may have a problem if DE Yannick Ngakoue decides to sit out the season over his contract. Still, first-round draft pick K’Lavon Chaisson could step in and make Jags fans forget about Ngakoue.
Tackling machine Myles Jack returns at linebacker and the secondary features four veterans. Jacksonville allowed 24.8 points per game last season and that is going to have to improve for the Jags to surpass their win total of 4.5.
Jacksonville has the advantage of playing in the weakest division in the NFL – the AFC South. That doesn’t mean much when you are the last-place team in the division two years running. The Jags did manage to beat Tennessee last season. The Titans played for the AFC championship, making money for many that followed these free sports picks.
The Jags also have a number of very winnable games in 2020. In a span of four weeks, Jacksonville faces Miami, Cincinnati, and Detroit. The games against the Dolphins and Lions are at home.
If the Jags can steal a win in one of their first four division games – Colts, Titans, and the Texans twice – Jacksonville could have four wins in the first half of the season.
The second half of the season is much tougher as Jacksonville faces Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Baltimore. Still, there are also games against the Browns and the Bears and both of those are at home.
With Minshew at the helm of a Gruden-led offense, there is no reason why the Jags cannot surpass 4.5 wins in 2020. They have done so in each of the past three seasons and even at -120 a bet on Jacksonville is a winner.