Young and hungry, the Jaguars are primed for the playoffs

  paul-puls

What’s up y’all, Week One of the NFL is in the books and boy was it a good one!

The San Francisco 49ers surprised us all with a 28-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. The San Diego Chargers are 0-1 and lost wide receiver Keenan Allen for the season with a torn ACL. And the New England Patriots found a way to win without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski as Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 262 yards and one touchdown–notching a QBR of 106.1.

However, the most interesting team after Week one is the new-look Jacksonville Jaguars. In their first game of the season, the Jags took on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers putting on a show at home.

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The Jaguars look confident following the week 1 loss

If the term “good loss” bares any weight, then that’s what the 27-23 defeat meant too many fans. Blake Bortles threw an interception early in the game but finished strong with 320 yards passing and a touchdown. Reserve running back T.J Yeldon was thrusted into the spotlight after Chris Ivory was ruled out and scored a touchdown (21 carries for 39 yards).

Defensively slowing down the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers offense was an arduous task, however, through one quarter the Jags and Packers were tied at 7.

At times while watching the game, I believed the Packers would pull away but that didn’t happen. This Jacksonville team is resilient and was impressive to watch against one of the best units in football.

It was mistakes in the tackling game and poor execution in the clutch that costed the Jags the win. Jacksonville had an opportunity to take the lead on its final possession of the game, but a screen pass to Allen Hurns went just short of the first down marker on 4th-and-1 with seconds remaining.

Last season, despite a 5-11 finish, the Jags were one of the upstart teams in the league. Bortles, in his second year, threw for the second-most touchdowns (35) and broke a team-record with 4,428 passing yards.

Linebacker Telvin Smith was named to the NFL Top 100 list (No. 86) after he posted a sophomore campaign with 99 total tackles and 2.5 sacks.

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Will the 2016 Jaguars make the long-awaited return to the postseason?

Receiver Allen Robinson puled in 14 touchdowns and added 1,400 receiving yards in his breakout sophomore campaign.

Looking ahead, the Jaguars travel to San Diego for Week 2, then will host the Ravens and Colts at home in the following weeks. I am calling it now, going into week 5 for their bye, the Jags will be 3-1. After the bye, the Jags will likely beat the Chicago Bears and lose to the Raiders on the road. That has the Jaguars 4-2 at the halfway point which would put them in position to challenge for the best record in the AFC South. Ultimately, I have the Jags finishing 10-6 in 2016 —best in their division. That would mean a postseason berth for the first time since 2008.  

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