For years, fans and the media have been tricked into buying hype surrounding the Jacksonville Jaguars. Big spenders with high drafts picks annually, and a roster that has been loaded with talent since at least 2014. But the Jags kept letting us all down when it mattered, which is why so few of us have been willing to embrace their strong start to the 2017 campaign.

I’m biting. I’m a believer in Sacksonville.

I know it’s still early and they’re still just 4-3, and I know it’s important not to read too heavily into a 27-0 victory when that 27-0 victory came against the Indianapolis Colts. I also know it’s concerning that the Jaguars have yet to win back-to-back games this season (although they’ve also yet to lose back-to-back), and that Blake Bortles remains their quarterback in a league in which teams can’t typically afford to have Blake Bortles as their quarterback.

But a 27-0 win on the road against a division rival does mean something, especially when your bread-and-butter pass rush comes through the way Jacksonville’s did. They had 10 sacks in that affair, marking the second time this season they’ve accomplished that.

The Jaguars have all of the pieces in place on defense. NFL sack leader Calais Campbell was worth every penny in free agency, as was stellar corner A.J. Bouye. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey make up one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL, and Bouye, Ramsey, Tashaun Gipson and Barry Church make up one of the best secondaries. Telvin Smith has become a star at linebacker, and he’s well-supported by Myles Jack and Paul Posluszny. And I haven’t even mentioned beast interior defensive lineman Malik Jackson or edge defenders Dante Fowler Jr. and Yannick Ngakoue, who is the only player in the AFC with more than five sacks and three forced fumbles.

That defense is on pace to record an NFL-record 75 sacks, and I’ve yet to touch on the non-Bortles offense. The receiving corps is deep, the offensive line has held up and rookie sensation Leonard Fournette has become the centerpiece at running back. The No. 4 overall pick ranks fourth in the league in rushing and is the only player in the NFL with multiple 75-yard touchdown plays.

And yet that blowout victory over the Colts came without Fournette, who was dealing with an ankle injury. The defense came through, though, and Bortles completed 69 percent of his passes for 330 yards. It marked the second time this year he’s posted a 120-plus passer rating.

It’ll still be hard for the Jaguars to suddenly win a Super Bowl with Bortles under center. He’s had some moments, but hasn’t been consistent. He still has a sub-60 completion percentage and a passer rating that ranks 20th in football. He’s less of a liability than he was a year ago, but I wouldn’t call him an asset. And unless you’re the 2015 Denver Broncos, you don’t win championships these days with quarterbacks that aren’t assets.

The Jaguars aren’t the 2015 Denver Broncos. They’re still probably a year away from having a chance to be considered a force. But they’ve scored 73 more points than they’ve allowed, while nobody else in the AFC has a points differential total at or above 50.

Jacksonville has a lot of momentum now, with just one regulation loss dating back to Week 3, and they’ll have a good chance to put together a strong November coming out of their Week 8 bye (their next five opponents are the Bengals, Chargers, Browns, Cardinals and Colts).

Face it — for the first time since they last won more than a handful of games (amazingly, that was way back in 2010), the Jaguars are good. And in this weird year in which nobody is better than good, that’ll be more than enough to contend.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at, Deadspin,, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.