The Jacksonville Jaguars went with a rookie at quarterback last year, and got about what you’d expect – five wins. The problem is they also got no real answer as to whether young Blaine Gabbert is their quarterback of the future. This year Jacksonville goes forward with a new head coach, after finally getting rid of Coach Del Rio during last season. Can new Coach Mularkey combine Gabbert, a good running game and a sound defense into success?
Last Season in Review
The story of J-Ville’s 2011 season began when they let QB David Garrard go a week before the opener, opting instead to go with, initially Luke McCown, and then Gabbert. The Jags then won their first game, but lost their next five, and the countdown was on for Del Rio’s ouster. In the end Jacksonville sat at 5-11 and home for the playoffs for the fourth-straight season. At least five of the Jags’ losses could be considered “close, but with an offense that got held to two touchdowns or less 10 times they didn’t stand much of a chance.
Jacksonville ranked dead last in the league in offense last year at 259 YPG, but thanks to the league’s leader rusher they ranked 12th in rushing at 123 YPG. On the other side of the ball the Jags fared much better, ranking sixth overall at 313 YPG and ninth vs. the run, allowing 104 YPG.
Overall Jacksonville ranked 29th in total yardage at -54 YPG, but 11th in total rushing at +19 YPG. Last year teams that outrushed their opponents covered the spread 69 percent of the time, although the Jags were only able to go 7-8-1 ATS.
J-Ville games averaged just 36 total points, fourth-fewest in the league; consequently the Jags played 4-11-1 on the totals.
Jacksonville, with its limited ability to move the ball through the air, rode RB Maurice Jones-Drew like the little workhorse that he is, giving him the ball 343 times for over 1,600 yards. Meanwhile, Gabbert completed just 51 percent of his throws for 2,200 yards and a 12/11 TD/INT ratio, and while that’s not great, we’ve seen a lot of rookies do worse.
Jacksonville wasn’t too active on the free-agent front, other than signing WRs Laurent Robinson and Lee Evans and adding CB Aaron Ross to the defensive backfield. In the draft the Jags grabbed Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon with the fifth overall pick, and Clemson DE Andre Branch with the 38th pick. So at least they’ve upgraded the receiving corps.
Jacksonville also signed former Miami Dolphins starting QB Chad Henne, just in case Gabbert doesn’t progress.
2012 Jags Schedule
According to last year’s W-L records J-Ville will play the 14th-toughest schedule in the league this year, with six games against teams that made the playoffs last year. The Jags get the Vikings and Colts in Weeks 1 and 3, but both on the road, while they later host quality teams like the Texans, Bengals, Bears, Lions, Titans, Jets and Patriots. And they have to play at Green Bay. So winnable games seem few and far between.
2012 Jacksonville Jaguars Betting Odds and Prediction
The Jags are getting +1500 at Bovada to win the AFC South, 75/1 to win the AFC and 150/1 to win the Super Bowl. Jacksonville has also been pegged with a regular-season wins ‘over/under’ of 5.5 at Bookmaker (O +115/U -145).
New Coach Mularkey comes from serving as Atlanta’s OC, where they ran the ball with a young quarterback and had good success. He’ll try to duplicate that here, and they might get it done. But not this year. We’re leaning toward the ‘under’ 5.5 wins on the Jags this season.
Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.