Best and worst case for 2022

Welcome to FanSided’s 2022 NFL preview! It’s time to look into our crystal football and take a glimpse at the Jacksonville Jaguars season prediction.

Does the 2017 season seem all that long ago? That was the year that the Jacksonville Jaguars rebounded from a last-place finish the previous year to win the AFC South for the first time since 1999. The club then embarked on a strong playoff run, defeating the upstart Buffalo Bills and then stunning the Steelers at Pittsburgh before reaching the AFC Championship Game.

The team owned a 20-10 fourth-quarter lead at Foxborough before succumbing to the New England Patriots. And it has been nothing short of a catastrophe ever since. After winning a total of 12 games (including playoffs) in 2017, the Jaguars are a combined 18-50 since. Former Super Bowl champion head coach Doug Pederson now looks to resurrect this struggling team.

Jacksonville Jaguars 2021 season in review

  • 3-14 record
  • 4th place in AFC South
  • Failed to qualify for playoffs

Led by Urban Meyer, who was making his NFL debut as a coach, the Jaguars took the field in Week 1 at Houston looking to end a 15-game skid. But the club would fall to the Texans and drop four more games before coming away with a 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins overseas. A few weeks later, there was a stunning 9-6 upset of the playoff-bound Buffalo Bills.

But all was not well within the organization. And 13 games into the season and with a 2-11 mark, Meyer was dismissed by the team. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell took over for the final four weeks and there really wasn’t much difference in the club’s performance. This was a team that scored the fewest points in the league (253) and finished winless on the road.

Still, the season ended on a good note for this undermanned club. The team came up huge and spoiled the playoff plans of the Indianapolis Colts via a 26-11 home victory. Still, it was only the third win by the club in 2021 and it marked the fourth consecutive year that the Jaguars finished dead last in the AFC South. And in each of those seasons, the team lost at least 10 games.

Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Draft class 2022

  • Rd 1: Travon Walker, LB/Georgia
  • Rd 1: Devin Lloyd, LB/Utah
  • Rd 3: Luke Fortner, C/Kentucky
  • Rd 3: Chad Muma, LB Wyoming
  • Rd 5: Snoop Conner, RB/Mississippi
  • Rd 6: Gregory Junior, CB/Ouachita Baptist
  • Rd 7: Montaric Brown, CB/Arkansas

For the second consecutive year, the Jaguars owned a pair of first-round draft choices. In 2021, the club opted for a pair of performers from the University of Clemson in quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne. The former started all 17 games as a rookie and took his lumps. Meanwhile, Etienne missed all of the 2021 NFL campaign with a Lisfranc injury.

This time around, the franchise opted for defensive help in linebackers Travon Walker and Devon Lloyd. The former Georgia Bulldog was the top pick in April’s draft is making the move from defensive end to outside linebacker. Lloyd was a tackling machine and big-play performer in his final season with the Utes. The Jaguars used five of their seven picks to aid the defense.

Previewing Jaguars offense for 2022 season

  • Key offseason additions
    • WR Zay Jones
    • TE Even Engram
    • G Brandon Scherff
  • Biggest X-Factor: RB Travis Etienne
  • Squeakiest Wheel: WR Christian Kirk

There is nowhere to go but up after you score an NFL-low 253 points and your offensive unit reaches the end zone just 25 times in 17 outings. That’s what head coach Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Press Taylor inherited in Jacksonville. But the club also has 2021 first overall pick Trevor Lawrence, who is expected to blossom under this new combination.

It should also help that Lawrence’s teammate at Clemson, running back Travis Etienne, is now available. He missed his entire rookie season due to injury. And the club’s top rusher for the past two seasons, James Robinson, is expected to return this week. He’s bouncing back from an Achilles injury suffered last in 2021. Jacksonville averaged just 103.2 yards rushing a year ago.

It’s the team’s pass-catching corps that has a new look. Tight end Evan Engram comes over from the New York Giants. And Christian Kirk and Zay Jones join fellow wide receiver Marvin Jones, the latter leading the team with 73 catches a year ago. And a tweaked offensive line features rookie center Luke Fortner as well as five-time Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff.

Previewing Jaguars defense for 2022 season

  • Key offseason additions
    • LB Foyesade Oluokun
    • LB Travon Walker
    • LB Devin Lloyd
  • Biggest X-Factor: CB Tyson Campbell
  • Squeakiest Wheel: CB Shaquill Griffin

Jacksonville’s last playoff team in 2017 featured defensive unit that was not only opportunistic when it came to forcing opponents into crucial mistakes. And that group not only took away the football but returned it for a score. But a unit that featured performers such as Calais Campbell, Myles Jack and Jalen Ramsey is ancient history as all of those players are elsewhere.

All told, new defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell takes over a unit that allowed 46 offensive touchdowns in 17 games this past season. And what really hurt was the fact that there were few too many big plays provided by this side of the ball. The Jaguars finished dead last in the NFL in takeaways (9) – including seven interceptions – and failed to force a turnover in 10 games.

Now the big names are standout pass-rusher Josh Allen, who finished with 7.5 of the club’s 32 sacks a year ago, fellow end Dawuane Smoots (6 sacks in 2021) and a revamped linebacking corps featuring former Falcons’ tackling machine Foyesade Oluokun and rookies Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd. Jacksonville was near the bottom of the league in run defense a year ago.

Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff overview

  • Head Coach: Doug Pederson
  • Off. Coordinator: Press Taylor
  • Def. Coordinator: Mike Caldwell
  • 2023 Head Coach Candidate: Mike McCoy

Doug Pederson did not coach in the NFL in 2021. Before that, he led the Philadelphia Eagles for five seasons (2016-20) and three consecutive playoff appearances from 2017-19. That first year resulted in the franchise’s first NFL title since 1960. Offensive coordinator Press Taylor was in Philadelphia with Pederson those five years but was employed by the Colts a season ago.

Jacksonville Jaguars Awards Watch

When you are the first overall pick in any NFL draft, there will be a lot of eyes on you. Former University of Georgia defensive end Travon Walker is moving from defensive end to outside linebacker. If he piles up the sacks, he could get some votes for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year accolades.

Trevor Lawrence, MVP

His rookie season was obviously a learning experience for the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Trevor Lawrence completed only 59.6 percent of his passes, threw more interceptions (17) than TD passes (12), was sacked 32 times and lost five of his nine fumbles. But now he’s under the guidance of head coach Doug Pederson, who will do wonders with this talented prospect.

Devin Lloyd, Defensive Rookie of the Year

The team focused on defense in April’s draft, using five of their seven picks on this side of the ball. And with first overall pick Travon Walker moving to linebacker, the Jaguars addressed this position with three of their first four selection. Devin Lloyd had a monster 2021after playing in only five games a year earlier. He finished with 111 tackles, seven sacks and four interceptions.

Luke Fortner, Offensive Rookie of the Year

The Jaguars only picked two offensive players in this year’s NFL draft. The first was University of Kentucky blocker Luke Fortner, who is slated to be the club’s starting center. The 6’4”, 307-pound performer has been heralded for his versatility and could also be a solid prospect. If that’s the case, he could do worse than learn while playing next to star guard Brandon Scherff.

Biggest game on Jacksonville Jaguars schedule

Can this club get off to a good start with their early slate? The Jaguars play four of their first six games away from home. The franchise brings a 17-game road losing streak into this season dating back to Week 16 of ’19. The most intriguing outing comes in Week 4 at Philadelphia, where Doug Pederson will take aim at a club that he led to a Super Bowl title (LII) in 2017.

Jacksonville Jaguars season prediction: Best case scenario

In 2020, the team posted a Week 1 win over the Colts and then lost their last 15 games. A year ago, the club dropped its first five games before beating the Dolphins in London. This season, the club needs to end its road woes (17 straight) sooner than later because they travel four of the first six weeks of the season. A few early upset wins could boost this team’s confidence.

Jacksonville Jaguars season prediction: Worst-case scenario

It’s a new system so there could be some early growing pains. That’s to be expected. And it’s not easy to just start winning after four straight last-place finishes and a combined 15-50 record over that span. That early stretch of four road games in six weeks won’t be easy to overcome. And if the Jaguars continue to struggle with forcing turnovers, it will be another long year.

Jacksonville Jaguars season prediction for 2022

  • 6-11 record
  • 3rd place in AFC South
  • Playoff Prediction: Will not qualify

Look for this to be one of the more improved teams in the league. It’s easy to see this club doubling its victory total from a year ago, although that’s hardly a major accomplishment considering the Jaguars totaled only three victories. But watch how this team plays under head coach Doug Peterson, who once turned a last-place team into a Super Bowl champion in just one year. That would be an even bigger feat if he could pull that off in Jacksonville. The club’s Week 18 win over the Colts a year ago showed that there’s some grit within this team.

Read more from FanSided’s 2022 NFL Preview here. For more Jacksonville Jaguars coverage, check out Black and Teal

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