The Jacksonville Jaguars have been road favorites just once in the past two NFL seasons: Oct. 20, 2019, in Cincinnati. However, this is a new Jaguars team with Trevor Lawrence under center and the Jags have opened as 1.5-point favorites for their 2021 opener on Sept. 12 at the Houston Texans. Jacksonville will have another home game in London this year, but the team did not get a Monday night spot -- Jacksonville has not been on MNF since 2011, the NFL's longest drought.
The Jaguars had a franchise-record 15-game losing streak last season – shocking the Colts in Week 1 and not winning again – and the team's 1-15 record was its worst ever. However, the Jags were one of the big winners of the 2020 season in that being terrible earned them the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and mega-touted quarterback prospect Lawrence. William Hill Sportsbook gives the Jaguars an Over/Under win total of 6.0 this season, while the SportsLine Projection Model forecasts 5.9 victories.
The model is actually quite high on Lawrence, the +220 Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite, as Jacksonville's win total went up from a projection of 4.3 to 5.9 (more than 37 percent increase) simply because of adding the former Clemson star considered the best QB prospect to enter the NFL since Andrew Luck was the No. 1 overall pick by Indianapolis in the 2012 draft from Stanford. The model only gives Jacksonville a playoff percentage of 5.3.
Some scouts even think Lawrence, who was 34-2 at Clemson as a starter, is the best prospect since John Elway. This was the first time Jacksonville ever had the top pick. The Jags have never had an Offensive Rookie of the Year winner. They have a potential second candidate in former Clemson running back Travis Etienne, who was a surprise pick at No. 25 overall. Etienne was one of the best running backs in ACC history but wasn't really a need considering the Jags have James Robinson at No. 1 and Carlos Hyde as a backup. Previously, the Jaguars had taken only one Clemson player via the draft in team history: Defensive end Andre Branch in 2012.
Luring three-time national championship Urban Meyer was another coup for owner Shahid Khan. True, many top college coaches have failed at the NFL level – including another former Florida legend in Steve Spurrier – but there have been success stories like current Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
Jacksonville had the most cap salary space of any team this offseason. The biggest additions were cornerback Shaquil Griffin, safety Rayshawn Jenkins, defensive tackle Roy Robertson-Harris and receiver Marvin Jones. Griffin will start opposite C.J. Henderson, the ninth overall pick in 2020. Jenkins had 138 tackles and five interceptions combined the last two seasons with the Chargers under former Jags coach Gus Bradley. Jacksonville's pass defense was atrocious in 2020.
Jones, formerly of the Lions, is coming off a career high in receptions (76) and the second-highest yardage total of his career (978). He replaces the departed Keelan Cole. Jacksonville also slapped the franchise tag on left tackle Cam Robinson.
The Jaguars' 2021 schedule is ranked as the 18th-toughest in the league as their 17 opponents – hosting Atlanta is the 17th game -- were a combined 133-138-1 last season.
Jacksonville Jaguars trends/William Hill Sportsbook odds
- 2020 record: 1-15 (7-9 against the spread, 8-8 Over/Under)
- 2021 strength of schedule rank: 18th (opponents' combined winning percentage of .491)
- 2021 Over/Under win total: 6.0
- SportsLine Projection Model forecasted wins: 5.9
- Odds to win Super Bowl 56: +8000
- To win AFC: +4000
- To win AFC South: +1000
- To make playoffs: No -500, yes +370
- NFL MVP odds: Trevor Lawrence +10000
Jacksonville Jaguars Schedule
Week 1 at Houston Texans: Houston has won three straight at home in series (2-1 ATS)
Week 2 vs. Denver Broncos: Jacksonville won last meeting 26-24 in Denver two years ago
Week 3 vs. Arizona Cardinals: Cards are 3-0 ATS & SU in past three meetings overall, last in 2017
Week 4 at Cincinnati Bengals (TNF): Lawrence vs. 2020 No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow; Bengals beat Jags 33-25 last year
Week 5 vs. Tennessee Titans: Consider the Under here as past three in Jacksonville have landed well Under total
Week 6 vs. Miami Dolphins (in London): Trevor vs. Tua! Fins won 31-13 in Jacksonville last year
Week 7 BYE
Week 8 at Seattle Seahawks: Jags are 3-5 SU & ATS all-time and won last meeting four years ago
Week 9 vs. Buffalo Bills: Teams have split last four ATS & SU overall and last met in 2018
Week 10 at Indianapolis Colts: Jags' only win at Indy in past eight was in 2017, but they covered last year
Week 11 vs. San Francisco 49ers: Jags covered first meeting in 1999 but 0-4 ATS since
Week 12 vs. Atlanta Falcons: Added 17th opponent; Jacksonville 1-6 ATS all-time in series
Week 13 at Los Angeles Rams: L.A. has covered spread in all five meetings, last in 2017
Week 14 at Tennessee Titans: Tennessee hasn't lost at home in series since 2013 but lost ATS last year
Week 15 vs. Houston Texans: Jags have won just two of past 10 at home in series but covered close loss in 2020
Week 16 at New York Jets: Jacksonville is 2-0 SU & ATS in past two meetings, both in Florida
Week 17 at New England Patriots: Jags have covered past two in series, including AFC title game close loss
Week 18 vs. Indianapolis Colts: Somehow, Jacksonville is on six-game SU & ATS home win streak vs. Indy
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