MJ Hurley | May 27th, 2020
The Jaguars had a terrific 2017 NFL season which ended in an AFC championship game loss to the New England Patriots. Blake Bortles led the Jaguars to a 10-6 record and was heavily assisted by breakout rookie running back Leonard Fournette. In 2018 and 2019, the Jaguars were exceedingly below average, disappointing the NFL with the talented roster that they had. Bortles left Jacksonville, and Nick Foles was unable to save football there, which led to the emergence of Gardner Minshew III at the end of 2019. With that in mind, let’s check out 5 bold predictions for the Jaguars in 2020.
Make sure to check out all of our other team bold predictions here.
The Jaguars will not make the playoffs in 2020
I have the Jaguars finishing the season at 9-7, with a very interesting schedule. Having to play division rival Houston Texans, who are an assumed playoff team, twice in addition to the reloaded Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans who were close to the Super Bowl, it will be a rough season for Jacksonville.
The Jaguars also have to play the NFC North in 2020, which will create some matchup nightmares in Jacksonville. I think the Jaguars will lose at least one game to each of their division rivals and will get swept by at least the Texans and possibly the Colts as well. The Jaguars’ lack of star defensive backs will create gameplan nightmares when playing the assumed pass-happy Colts and Texans.
Gardner Minshew will take a step forward in 2020
Minshew not only had a good season in 2019 but became a national sensation for his swagger and his mustache. He led the Jaguars to a 6-6 record in his 12 starts last season, and threw for a respectable 3,271 yards and 21 touchdowns with only six interceptions. Minshew took a lot of sacks in his 12 starts, 33, although some of that has been attributed to the suspect offensive line the Jaguars fielded in 2019. After Foles was unable to lead the Jaguars, Minshew was thrown into the fire and performed well. Now given the reins to the franchise, look for Minshew to grow as a passer and a leader in his first full season at quarterback for the Jaguars.
Leonard Fournette will make the Pro Bowl in a stellar year
For some odd reason, the Jaguars declined the fifth-year option on Fournette’s contract for 2021, making 2020 a contract year for him. After a disappointing year in 2018, Fournette returned with a vengeance in 2019 hitting career highs in yards, yards per carry, receiving yards and total touches. A new offense with Gardner Minshew not only allowed Fournette to get better carries out of the backfield, but his role in the passing game exploded with the transition from Bortles to Minshew. After not receiving a vote of confidence and having trade rumors swirling around this offseason, Fournette will be very motivated to perform in 2020 so he can receive a big payday in the offseason.
The Jaguars will struggle to win outside the division
The Jaguars not only will struggle to win inside the division but have a difficult schedule outside of the AFC South. With the Packers, Vikings, Lions all focused on the passing game, the Jaguars will have their hands full with their NFC opponents this season. Most importantly, the Jaguars will be tested by rookie phenoms Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa with the Bengals and Dolphins. That does not even take into account the aerial attacks led by Baker Mayfield and Ben Roethlisberger that will come to town in back to back weeks in late November. While the AFC South is always a close division race, the poor secondary of the Jaguars may cause them some specific matchup issues in 2020.
The Jaguars will regret trading Jalen Ramsey
Along the lines of struggling to win outside the division because of a poor secondary, the Jaguars will regret losing Jalen Ramsey to be their number one corner in 2020. Although the relationship between Ramsey and the Jacksonville management was quickly deteriorating, Ramsey still produced on the field in his few games with the Jaguars in 2019 and then with the Los Angeles Rams. A very young secondary without a number one corner in Jacksonville will lead to star receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Davante Adams likely torching the Jaguars when they come to town.
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