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    5 Bold Predictions for the Jacksonville Jaguars 2024 NFL Season

    Following a disastrous end to the 2023 season, the Jaguars are looking for improvement in 2024. Here's five bold predictions for the upcoming season.

    Despite coming into 2023 with high expectations, the Jacksonville Jaguars suffered a collapse in the second half of the season that resulted in no playoffs and an offseason full of reflection. Now, the 2024 NFL season is being viewed as playoffs or bust. Here are five bold predictions for the team ahead of training camp.

    The Jaguars Will Win the AFC South

    It’s not something they do often, and it won’t be easy, but I think Jacksonville will win the AFC South again in 2024.

    After their incredible 2022 run and 2023 start, the Jaguars had gone 13-3 over a stretch of 16 games. However, the biggest reason for their collapse after that was injuries.

    Both star receiver Christian Kirk and quarterback Trevor Lawrence went down in the team’s Week 13 Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Jaguars went on to lose that game 34-31, likely winning if those two stay healthy.

    For Kirk, his injury ended his season and knocked Lawrence’s most reliable threat out of every game. On Lawrence’s side, he was able to return the following game but went on to suffer two more separate injuries to finish the season.

    Long story short, the Jaguars’ best players are healthy again and, barring new injuries, will be able to prop Jacksonville back up.

    Additionally, beyond just returning healthy players, the Jaguars spent the offseason improving their weakest points: Center, inside defensive line, wide receiver.

    First, a struggling Luke Fortner was replaced by a skilled veteran in Mitch Morse. Second, Jacksonville invested heavily into the IDL signing Arik Armstead and drafting Maason Smith and Jordan Jefferson. Finally, they brought in Gabe Davis and drafted Brian Thomas Jr. in the first round for their WR room.

    On paper, the Jaguars should be more than able to compete once again for the title. While the division isn’t “easy” anymore, especially with the Houston Texans bringing back a strong roster, Jacksonville has proven the ability to beat every team in the division once, and they can do it again.

    Brian Thomas Jr. Will Surpass 1,000 Yards

    While it’s not easy for a rookie receiver to burst onto the scene with 1,000+ yards in year one, Thomas has the talent and the situation to do so. Additionally, several rookies have been doing it more and more each year in recent memory (Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Puka Nacua, Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, etc.).

    In terms of Thomas as a player, he’s a premiere deep threat who can run by and go up over anyone. At the 2024 NFL Combine, Thomas measured in at 6’3″ and 209 pounds, also running a 4.33 40-yard dash. For reference, that’s a 9.84/10 RAS score (Relative Athletic Score).

    That showed in college, as he caught 68 passes for 1,177 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2023 despite being the second option behind Malik Nabers. Nevertheless, Thomas’ touchdowns led the nation, and his 17.3 average yards per catch was one of the best in the country as well.

    Now, in terms of his fit with the Jaguars. With Calvin Ridley out the door, Jacksonville was in need of a better fit. They needed an outside, X receiver who could go up and get the football. They also needed someone who could be a deep threat and stretch the field.

    Thomas does both of those things at once.

    Lawrence was known in college for throwing to big receivers down field (Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross, etc.). However, with the Jaguars, he’s never really had a guy like that. Whether it be Ridley, Kirk, Zay Jones, Marvin Jones Jr., etc., Lawrence has never really had a big receiver to just give a chance, nor has he had one with game-breaking speed.

    What does that mean, exactly? Lawrence can go back to doing what he does best. He can make plays, but he has a receiver who can make his plays even greater. He doesn’t have to be the only one doing everything.

    I doubt Thomas will be Jacksonville’s top option on offense, mostly because Kirk will still have a strong repertoire with Lawrence. However, he won’t be far behind, and if he’s going deep often, the yards will come.

    Trevor Lawrence Throws 30+ Touchdowns

    This one shouldn’t be too bold, but based off the reactions to his recent contract, it might be. According to DraftKings, Lawrence’s TD prop is set at 22.5, with +115 odds for the over and -135 for the under.

    In three years, Lawrence has thrown for 12, 25, and 21 touchdowns, respectively. Simply, it will require a career year. However, it’s more than attainable. While his numbers looked down in 2023, there was much reasoning for it.

    For one, Lawrence’s receivers dropped several passes. According to Dan Pizzuta of The 33rd Team, Lawrence had the most EPA (expected points added) lost due to dropped passes of any quarterback in 2023.

    The other reason? His late-season injuries. While he was able to play, the number of injuries simply took a toll on Lawrence’s performance.

    Now, with new receivers that better fit his mold as a quarterback, I expect a return to the mean. The high number of dropped passes will return to normal, with many of them being caught. That, plus a potential improvement on his own play, is enough to prop Lawrence over 30 touchdowns and potentially into the MVP conversation.

    The Jaguars Will Have a Top-20 Offensive Line

    This one might be the boldest of them all, but it’s not impossible.

    The 2023 Jaguars offensive line was a mess, whether it be injuries or poor play. They weren’t good, and they provided some of the worst run blocking in the NFL and far less-than-average pass protection.

    Let’s start with the tackles: Cam Robinson, Anton Harrison, and Walker Little. The Jaguars head into the season with three starting-caliber tackles. Robinson has been a solid player for most of his career, and that likely won’t change.

    Then there’s Harrison, who was arguably the team’s best offensive lineman as a rookie. He’ll need to improve his run blocking, but Harrison’s pass protection as a rookie was more than a sign of what was to come for the former first-rounder.

    Little could start at left tackle or provide a very good swing tackle option. The moral of the story is that the Jaguars are more than fine at OT.

    Now, the interior is where it gets suspicious. At left guard, the Jaguars return Ezra Cleveland, who they re-signed this offseason. He struggled at times for Jacksonville following the trade for him, but Cleveland also wasn’t at 100% health. Now, fully healthy and only playing left guard, he could find much improvement.

    On the right side, there’s former All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff, whose run blocking has fallen off over the years, especially in 2023. Yet, he remains one of the best pass-protecting guards in the NFL.

    Finally, there’s the most important part of it all: center. After watching Fortner struggle greatly all around for two seasons, the Jaguars brought in his replacement in the form of nine-year veteran Morse. Whether it be his experience or performance, there should be nothing but improvement at the center position.

    With an improved center and everyone else healthy, there are no guarantees. Despite that, there is room for growth that the Jaguars will hope to and could very well see if things go right.

    Antonio Johnson Leads Jacksonville in Interceptions

    With the departure of Rayshawn Jenkins, who was cut earlier in the offseason as a cap casualty, that means second-year safety Antonio Johnson will take over. Many thought coming out of college he’d be a nickel, but it’s strong safety where he’ll actually play and likely start.

    As a rookie, Johnson received minimal playtime, but he took advantage of it. In three starts, he recorded 17 tackles, three pass deflections, two interceptions, one forced fumble, and one sack.

    He’ll have to beat out teammate Andre Cisco, who starts at free safety and is known for having ball-hawk ability (seven career interceptions), but it’s likely one of those two will take the team lead for interceptions, as none of the Jaguars’ cornerbacks are really known for high interception numbers.

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