The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season on Sept. 6. Up next in our preseason rankings are the finally-scary Jacksonville Jaguars.
2017 in a nutshell: Fully rebuilt with a kick-ass defense and a no-longer-embarrassing offense, they make the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and fall just short of what would have been their first-ever Super Bowl berth in a tough AFC title game loss to the Patriots.
What’s different: Star guard Andrew Norwell has joined the fray on offense. More broadly, they’re no longer sneaking up on anyone.
Why they could be awesome: They’re one of the deepest and most talented teams in the NFL, and they appear to be getting better as they gain experience.
Why they could suck: Blake Bortles remains their quarterback.
Major additions: Norwell and wide receivers Donte Moncrief (free agent) and D.J. Chark (second-round pick).
Major losses: Wide receivers Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee (season-ending knee injury), nickel cornerback Aaron Colvin, linebacker Paul Posluszny (retired).
Breakout watch: Now three years removed from the crushing knee injury that sank his draft stock in 2016, linebacker Myles Jack appears ready to break out. He hardly played as a rookie but looked tremendous as a regular starter in 2017 and is now receiving strong offseason reviews as he prepares to replace Posluszny in the middle.
Position to watch: Bortles needs help, and things are wide open at wide receiver with the Allens gone and Lee hurt. Moncrief has potential and we’ll see what Chark brings to the table, but both Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole flashed signs of brilliance at various points in 2017. A lot of unanswered questions there right now.
Prediction: I still don’t trust Bortles or the offense and I’m not sure they’ll suddenly become consistent or reliable in 2018. Not even sold on Leonard Fournette in the backfield. That defense will still lead them to a division title and maybe even on a Super Bowl run in the weaker of the two conferences, but this team might still have a ceiling.
10-6, 1st place in the AFC South