GAME WEEK - The two words Jags fans have been longing for since the 30-6 thrashing at the hands of the Texans on January 3rd. As the regular season draws near lets peel back the curtain and give you our predictions for the 2016 regular season. Juries are posed questions and asked to answer those questions! Sometime rhetorically but nonetheless that's theme of this article. So let us begin!
Q: Will this team live up to the pre-season hype?
A: The best thing that could've happened to the ridiculous fever hype machine was the Bengals game. Giving the absurd levels of wins people were projecting 12, 13, 14 things were getting out of control. After that game we went from double digit wins to double digit losses. Part of me cringes when I think of the reaction we would get should this team dump the Packers out of the gate. Most of me would enjoy hearing people making their playoff plans on the morning of September 12th.
Q: What does Gus Bradley have to do to get a 5th year?
A: Win 7 games. At least. Anything less than that would be viewed as not enough. I like Gus. There is no better guy in the league. "9 wins = safe" "8 wins = bubble" - It's really that simple.
Q: How will the offense line hold up?
A: It won't. The never do. And that's when they are chalked full of pro bowlers. The Jags are not. The Patriots and Panthers were eaten alive last year in the playoffs. That's with 4 & 5 starters at their regular positions for years. They won't be as bad as some think. But we are a long way from the Cowboys Big Blue Line. Let's put it this way. This team may use 3 of their first 4 picks next April on Offensive linemen.
Q: Speaking of the O-Line how will Joeckel handle the move to guard?
A: He's a pro. If he is good he'll leave in FA. If he struggles he'll leave in FA. When you go #2 overall people expect Joe Thomas or Orlando Pace. The Jags would even settle for Jake Long. They are getting a decent offensive lineman. He needs a change of scenery.
Q: Does A-Rob get his big extension?
A: Not yet. They have another year before the franchise tag hits. They haven't used it on anyone big for a while. Haven't needed to. He actually gets burned by going when he did in the draft. Allen Hurns got his $40million deal because he went undrafted. A-Rob is the Jags version of Dez Bryant. You know without all the hot-headed craziness. He will get his big deal. Just not yet.
Q: OK enough...What happens?
A: Woah... Woah.... OK. This team will be abundantly better than a year ago. This team played 12 games against teams that ending up with losing records last season. This year they exchange the AFC East for the AFC West. The West is better. Plus Andrew Luck is back and the Titans will be better and the Texans have a QB that went 5-2 on the Super Bowl Champions. It's like lady justice and her constant scale balancing act. Here is what she says happens.
"The Jags will go 7-9. This team is 1-15 in it's last two years on the road. Playoff teams are lucky to go 4-4 on the road. 3-5 is reasonable Which means if this team is to go .500 they need to go 5-3 at Everbank. With games against the Packers, Texans, Raiders and Broncos is that realistic or optimistic? The Jags are getting there. But not there yet. Telvin Smith, Allen Robinson, and Blake Bortles will all be in Orlando for the Pro-Bowl. The Post-season? It will have to wait until 2017."