On paper, going from the 7-3 Buffalo Bills to the 4-7 Jacksonville Jaguars seemed like it would be a nice transition for the Detroit Lions. With Detroit playing at an elevated level over the last month (3-1 in their last four games), the Jaguars could be just the opponent they need to get back on track after a tough loss to the Bills on Thanksgiving.
However, this Jaguars team could be more of a challenge than they look. In their first year under Doug Pederson, this team is competing, punching above their weight class, and have found themselves in just about every game this season. They’re just still trying to figure out how to close games.
Sound like any team you know?
Last week, the Jaguars pulled off an impressive win over the Baltimore Ravens, and it looks like—similar to the Lions—they’ve got the young rebuild headed in the right direction. So can the Lions prove they’re further ahead, or is a tough comedown on the horizon?
Let’s take a closer look in our Week 13 scouting report.
2022 Jacksonville Jaguars
2022 season thus far (4-7)
Week 1: Lost to Commanders, 22-28
Week 2: Beat Colts, 24-0
Week 3: Beat Chargers, 38-10
Week 4: Lost to Eagles, 21-29
Week 5: Lost to Texans, 6-13
Week 6: Lost to Colts, 27-34
Week 7: Lost to Giants, 17-23
Week 8: Lost to Broncos, 17-21
Week 9: Beat Raiders, 27-20
Week 10: Lost to Chiefs, 17-27
Week 11: Bye
Week 12: Beat Ravens, 28-27
- 16th in points scored (22.2 PPG), 14th in points allowed (21.1 PPG)
- 18th in overall DVOA
- 14th in offensive DVOA (11th in pass DVOA, 22nd in run DVOA)
- 26th in defensive DVOA (30th in pass DVOA, 13th in run DVOA)
As you can see from both their schedule and their DVOA rankings, the Jaguars may be better than their record suggests. They’ve only lost a single game by more than a possession, and that was against the elite-tier Kansas City Chiefs. They also beat the pants off of both the Colts and Chargers, which has led them to actually having a positive overall point differential (+12). They have also won two of their last three.
However, a little closer look at that schedule will also reveal some pretty bad losses. They lost at home to the Texans and the Broncos (though the Denver game was in London). They lost on the road to the Colts.
Their performances have been all over the place, which should probably be expected for a young team in a new system. Offensively, they’ve been held below 20 four times, but they’ve scored more than 25 four times as well. They’ve held four opponents below 20 points and allowed 27 or more points five times.
Without a doubt, head coach Doug Pederson has this team headed in a much better direction than the toxic environment he acquired from Urban Meyer. Perhaps no one has benefitted more than rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who also got the benefit of a revamped receiver room that features newly-acquired Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. It’s been Jones that has garnered the most attention as of late, as he has turned 24 targets into 19 catches and 213 yards in the past two weeks.
As for Lawrence, check out his numbers from his rookie year to this year:
2021: 59.6% completions, 6.0 Y/A, 12 TDs, 17 INTs, 71.9 passer rating, 59.6 PFF grade
2022: 66.5% completions, 6.9 Y/A, 16 TDs, 6 INTs, 93.6 passer rating, 69.9 PFF grade
Despite the improvement in the passing game, this is still a team that prioritizes the run game—and is not half bad at it. Led by 2021 first-round running back Travis Etienne, the Jaguars are averaging 4.9 yards per carry (seventh).
Defensively, though, this is a team still figuring things out. They’re very young on that side of the ball, led by edge defender Josh Allen (25 years old), cornerback Tyson Campbell (22), and safety Andre Cisco (22)—all three of which have PFF grades of 70 or higher.
Statistically, however, they’re struggling. Against the pass, they’re the 12th-highest yards per pass attempt (7.3), have produced the third-fewest sacks (17), and rank 21st in dropback EPA.
They’re better at stopping the run, allowing 4.2 yards per carry (eighth) and 114.8 yards per game (15th).
- IR/PUP/NFI: LG Ben Bartch (IR), CB Shaquill Griffin (IR), K’Lavon Chaisson (IR to return)
- Other injuries: RB Travis Etienne (foot), Roy Robertson-Harris (illness), S Andre Cisco (shoulder)
The Jaguars are heading into Week 13 pretty dang healthy. Though they’re missing a few starters still on IR, it doesn’t sound like any of their non-IR injuries are considered serious.
Etienne is the one to watch the most, as he left Sunday’s game vs. the Ravens and did not return with a foot injury. Even though he was in a boot after the game, he and coaches insisted it was precautionary, and Etienne said he’d play this week.
Cisco, Robertson-Harris, and receiver Zay Jones were all also on the injury report, but all seem very likely to play this week.
Biggest strength: Wide receivers
It’s a good thing the Lions secondary may be the healthiest it has been all season, but the Jaguars receiving corps has a lot of weapons that can hurt you. Jones and Christian Kirk lead the way, but we all know about Marvin Jones’ ability to track and snag contested catches. Don’t sleep on the other former Lions receiver Jamal Agnew. He only gets a handful of snaps per game, but they like to use his athleticism all over the place.
Biggest weakness: Secondary
Despite solid play from cornerback Tyson Campbell and safety Andre Cisco, the Jaguars’ PFF coverage grade for the season is 49.1, 30th in the NFL. Their linebacking corps is certainly dragging that grade down, suggesting the Lions may have the middle of the field to exploit.
Combine that with struggles from nickel corner Darious Williams (51.6 PFF grade), and it could be another big day for Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Vegas line for Sunday: Lions by 1