Videos by OutKick
The 2023-24 NFL season kick-off is almost here! OutKick is unveiling its team-by-team preview series. Over the past two weeks, we covered the AFC West and NFC West and the AFC North and NFC North. This week, we’re tackling the two South divisions, finishing with last year’s champion in the AFC South, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jacksonville Jaguars 2022-23 Record: 9-8
Jacksonville Jaguars 2023-24 Win Total Over/Under: 9.5
The Jacksonville Jaguars mostly stood pat this offseason. They re-signed tight end Evan Engram, who had a good first season in Jacksonville, setting career highs in catches and yards. Plus, they get Calvin Ridley back from a season-long suspension. The biggest losses were starting right tackle Jawaan Taylor and veteran wide receiver Marvin Jones.
The Jaguars offensive line was a disaster last season and easily the team’s biggest weakness. They elected to address it with their first-round pick in the NFL Draft, selecting Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison. That made a lot of sense.
What didn’t make as much sense is what the team elected to do in rounds two and three. In the second round, they took Penn State tight end Brenton Strange despite re-signing Evan Engram. Then, in the third round, they picked Auburn running back Tank Bigsby. That’s in spite of having former first-round pick Travis Etienne — who had over 1,400 total yards last season — already on the roster.
For a team that needed help on the offensive line and could have used some help on defense, taking two low-priority position players made little sense. The Jags did also possess a stockpile of later picks, making 10 selections from round four on — seven on which they used on defense.
I understand that the Jaguars are the hot team in the AFC. They are young and surprisingly captured an AFC South division title last season — along with an incredible comeback victory in a Wild Card game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Jags started the season 4-8 before going on a five-game winning streak to overtake the Tennessee Titans to win the division.
That’s great. But their final three wins came against quarterbacks who aren’t even starting this season (Zach Wilson, Davis Mills and Josh Dobbs). I’m not trying to diminish the accomplishment (maybe a little) but for Vegas to install the Jags as odds-on favorites (-155) to win the AFC South and put them as a 10-win team to hit their over is a little excessive.
Trevor Lawrence is legitimate and should be better in his third year in the league. Plus, they now have Calvin Ridley. I understand the optimism. But the offensive line didn’t improve that much and they’re counting on a mid-first-round rookie to step right in to fix it.
Plus, the Jaguars had a middle-of-the-pack defense that didn’t improve over the offseason. They have major question marks in the secondary outside of cornerback Tyson Campbell. Same with the defensive line, outside of Josh Allen. And linebacker.
Look, I think the Jaguars are a fun team and are up-and-coming. But last year’s finish pushed the expectations too high. The Titans are still the best team in the AFC South and the Jags are basically the same team. Except now they have to play a first-place schedule. Nine wins feels like the right number.
Jacksonville Jaguars Predicted Win Total: UNDER 9.5
LISTEN: Dan Zaksheske and Geoff Clark Break Down The AFC and NFC South On The Latest Episode of “OutKick Bets”
Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak