The NFL’s most average team is in for another average season but will anybody be watching? Al Dannity says the Jags could prove a key player in deciding who makes the playoffs.
Off-season changes Rookie Tyson Alualu will be under as much pressure as any player on the Jacksonville roster. The defensive end was considered a risky choice in the first round but Jack Del Rio had to take a risk to boost his under-performing defensive line. Alualu is joined up front by former Green Bay Packer Aaron Kampman. Kirk Morrison, formerly of the Raiders, will likely start at linebacker in 2010, after joining the Jags in free agency.
On offense there are no notable additions to the starting line-up but we should still see a very different approach from the Jaguars in 2010. Dirk Koetter is under orders to open up the offense, meaning David Garrard will have to switch from game manager to game breaker. He should be better protected in the coming season, with tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton likely to become more confident in their second seasons in the NFL.
Mark your calendar Jacksonville’s trip to Qualcomm Stadium in week 2 should tell NFL betting fans plenty about how the new look Jags offense will cope under pressure. The week 4 visit of Indianapolis will be notable as it’s probably going to be the only Jaguars game that isn’t subject to a blackout. The only game in Jacksonville to avoid a blackout in 2009 was the Colts’ visit and 2010 doesn’t look to get much better.
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The Texans come to town in week 10 for a game that will probably have playoff implications as will the return game in Houston in week 17. The Jaguars could also influence the NFC playoff chase with critical games at Dallas in week 8 and at home to Washington in week 16.
The verdict This doesn’t look like a good year Jacksonville. It doesn’t really look like a bad one either. Jack Del Rio has gone 57-55 with this team and enters 2010 poised to make a slight improvement on last year’s 7-9 showing. While the Jaguars need to improve in the passing game, I’m not confident in David Garrard’s ability to get the job done. Over his career, Garrard has shown he can make the occasional big play while in a normal game managing role. He has however failed to demonstrate an ability to lead this offense. I expect normal service to resume within a few weeks of the season starting, with Maurice Jones-Drew carrying the Jags offense. That should be enough for Jacksonville to finish 8-8, albeit probably last in the AFC South. Take the over of 7.5 games at +160 with Sports Interaction.