From 0 to 100? This is only in the NFL! The Jacksonville Jaguars have been the worst team in the American Football League for the past two seasons. This year they are suddenly in the playoffs. There, the surprise team meets the Los Angeles Chargers.
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The Jacksonville Jaguars play the Los Angeles Chargers at home on Saturday night. It’s been four years since the Chargers made the playoffs, and the Jaguars five. Both teams are symbolic of the balance in the NFL, in which teams can even go from 0 to 100 in just one year. Just as Jacksonville demonstrates in the current example.
As recently as last April, Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke was the first to pick a young player in the draft. This right is given to the weakest team of the past season every year. His choice fell on defense attorney Travon Walker. A good choice, as soon became apparent.
But let’s rewind to the beginning. Jacksonville endured a disastrous year in 2021. Although they landed a hopeful quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, he was unable to develop any chemistry with his new head coach Urban Meyer. Because Meyer was more concerned with off-field escapades and a lack of proper interaction with his players, he was released before the end of the season.
GM Baalke therefore brought in Doug Pederson, an experienced Super Bowl coach who should bring calm to the team and install something like an identity. Pederson seems to have achieved this within a year. After a 2-6 start, five wins in a row followed at the end of the season. That doesn’t make them suddenly favorites, but they do have the potential to be the surprise team of the playoffs.
Lawrence is finally playing as one would expect from a young hope and the defense has grown significantly, especially up front. Arden Key, Josh Allen and Rookie Walker allowed virtually no team to run with the ball on offense during the regular season. The constant pressure on the opposing quarterback caused a significant increase in turnover.
And in Lawrence’s attack, three receivers experienced their best career performances in receiving yards and receptions. Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Evan Engram are next to lure the Chargers defense out of reserve.
The defensive line from Los Angeles also managed fewer touchdowns, more turnovers and more sacks compared to the previous year. Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Derwin James and Co. gave the offense around quarterback Justin Herbert the necessary tailwind. They paid it back with one of the best pass attacks in the NFL.
The only downside for the Chargers: At the moment, bad luck with injuries seems to be returning to them. The impending failure of wide receiver Mike Williams may have to be compensated for in this difficult wild card playoff game.
Still, the L.A. Chargers are the wild card team most likely to have a deep playoff run. With Justin Herbert, one of the best NFL quarterbacks is in their ranks. Mack and Bosa are nominally the most dangerous pass rush duo of the playoffs, and Derwin James is a special playmaker who finally seems to be at his best at the height of the season.
While the Chargers even have to question their season in the event of an early end because they have invested significantly, Jaguars fans are mainly hoping for the future perspective. With Trevor Lawrence and Travon Walker, key players from both parts of the team have been brought in in the last two drafts and are now gradually growing into their leadership roles. Your experienced coach will help you to reach your full potential.
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This also gives hope for teams that currently have nothing to do with the playoffs. The Chicago Bears may have already found their quarterback for the future, and in turn are providing a chance to go “from worst to first” next year. Home division rivals Houston and Indianapolis can also learn from how quickly a team can advance from last place to the playoffs.
Such a journey from 0 to 100 is only possible in the NFL with its special regulations. One last example please. Of 14 playoff teams from the previous season, only seven made it back. What is particularly disastrous is the performance of the current champions, the Los Angeles Rams, who had to give up a few weeks ago.
That’s the other side of the coin. Where there are teams that can get out of trouble in a very short time, there must also be former favorites who fall.
The original of this post “NFL doormats for years, now the Jaguars can dream of the Super Bowl” comes from touchdown24.de.