By Jeff Moeller
It’s time to pull out the measuring stick again for the Jaguars. And it likely won’t be the last time.
Their recent victory over the Raiders reignited the embers back to a steady flame of having a
respectable football team again this season. They had been saddled in a five-game losing
Now, the Jags have life again. Unfortunately for them, they will travel to Kansas City Sunday to
meet the upstart Chiefs, who appear to be back on track with two straight wins and four in their
This is another example of the Jags’ roller-coaster season. Yet, this has been a year that
already has exceeded expectations. There has been progress beneath the surface.
It appeared fate may have been on the Jags’ side at the start of the season when they won two
of their first three games, losing a tight game to the Commanders, and then posting an
impressive shutout over the Colts and a thrashing of the Chargers.
This appeared to be the quick evaluation of quarterback Trevor Lawrence, head coach Doug Pederson, running back Travis Etienne, and a resurgent defense.
Those elements are still evolving, and they have planted their roots in the team’s 3-6 season.
Against the 9.5-point favorite Chiefs Sunday, the Jags are expected to make it respectable.
Anything less would be a disappointment.
The problem that has been there all season has been finishing.
At this moment, that’s where this team is. The 3-6 Jags are still within striking distance of the
AFC South -leading 5-3 Tennessee Titans. They still have two meetings left this season with
The Chiefs have been vulnerable this season, and they can be beaten at home. However, the
Jags will need to play a complete game, which means Lawrence has to avoid the turnover, and
the secondary needs to avoid the big play.
Both of those factors have flipped winnable games into frustrating losses. Ironically, though, the Jags’ passing yardage allowed is 22nd and the Chiefs is 24th.
Their losses to Texans, Colts, Giants, and Broncos were all with a scoring drive. Even in the
eight-point Eagles’ defeat, the Jags were there in the end.
If the Jags somehow find themselves in contention for the division, all of those losses can come back to haunt them in the end. With their bye week in the offing after Sunday and more than half the season behind them, it’s time to face the reality of the Jaguars.
Looking at their remaining eight games, the Jags possibly could win two of those. That would
result in a 5-12 mark, two more wins than last year’s 3-14 record. The important takeaway is the
club has matured despite the three wins.
Still, it will be an improvement with Lawrence and Etienne pacing the offense along with wide
receiver Chrisitan Kirk and tight end Evan Engram. Rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd was worth
the first-round pick at linebacker, and top pick edge rusher Travon Walker has shown that he
So, don’t worry about the final score in Kansas City this weekend. It’s about staying close
enough to a seven-point threshold to make it interesting at the end. That’s the way to evaluate
the measuring sticks.
Finishing would be the proverbial cherry on the sundae. A lopsided blowout would be a severe
(Jeff Moeller covers the Jacksonville Jaguars and other sports for SportsDay and the Florida Sports Wire.)