Jags on the Clock (07/23/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Bold Predictions – an interesting player or team prediction for the 2015 NFL season.

Each day, over the next two weeks (July 13th – 24th), we will reveal an interesting player or team prediction for the 2015 NFL season. The first five articles of the series will have a fantasy focus while the next five will be bold predictions for the upcoming season.

Previous Articles: Hill leads NFL in rushing, Luck highest scorer in fantasy, Landry over 100 receptions, Peterson is No. 1 running back, Mariota over Winston, New Playoff Teams, Steelers Miss Playoffs, Most Likely Super Bowl

Prediction: Jacksonville is on the clock

Teams around the NFL are optimistic entering the new season. Free agency, coaching changes and the NFL Draft has given franchises reasons to expect bigger and better things in 2015. Unfortunately, for one fan base, there are dark clouds on the horizon.

Actually there have been dark clouds over Jacksonville for some time. The Jags have not been to the playoffs since 2007. In that time the team has had a losing record in six of the last seven seasons. The franchises best finish was an 8-8 campaign in 2010.

Why do the Jags continue to struggle year after year? Poor quarterback play. Over the last five seasons Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Blaine Gabbert, Luke McCown, David Garrard, Todd Bouman and Trent Edwards have all started.

Bortles, the third overall pick in the 2014 class, was disappointing in his rookie season. While young quarterbacks do improve, we have no reason to believe Bortles is a franchise quarterback. Before the 2014 draft, Bortles earned an impact score of 7.8 out of 10 – indicative of replacement level talent. Bortles completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He was also sacked a league-high 55 times in his first season.

This upcoming year doesn't look much better. We project the Jags' passer to throw for 2,958.5 yards (the lowest total for a quarterback projected to attempt more than 500 passes), 18.5 touchdowns and 17.0 interceptions (second most behind rookie Jameis Winston). A positive touchdown-to-interception ratio is a modest improvement but not enough to make Jacksonville competitive in the AFC South.

Jacksonville is projected to finish last in the AFC South with a 4.5-11.5 record (the lowest win total in the NFL). The Jags have a 1.6 percent chance to make the playoffs, the only team in the NFL without at least a five percent chance to reach the postseason.

Bottom 5 NFL Teams

Team Record Playoff Probability
Jacksonville Jaguars 4.5-11.5 1.6%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5.8-10.2 8.2%
Chicago Bears 6.5-9.5 11.9%
Tennessee Titans 6.6-9.4 13.6%
Cleveland Browns 7.0-9.0 23.0%