As each week passes and we get deeper into the 2021 NFL Season, sports fans and analysts alike pay increasing scrutiny to the changing fortunes of NFL teams.
Despite the fact that we are only a little over a month into the season, we are already beginning to talk about the potential winners and losers of the upcoming Super Bowl LVI.
One team that seems to have had a particularly bad run of luck this season, and who fans and analysts alike have been increasingly critical of, are the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With 19 straight losses to their name following their most recent performance against the Cincinnati Bengals, doubt about the fate of the Jaguars has never been greater.
This sense of uncertainty was palpable following their recent loss to the Bengals, with head coach Urban Meyer looking physically and emotionally drained during the post-game media scrum that followed. This loss was made all the more heart-breaking by the narrow margin they lost by, with a single field goal at the end of the game tipping the balance in the Bengals favor, leaving them 24-21 up at the end of the game.
It is these sorts of recent events that have cemented such a strong lack of faith in the Jaguars’ chances this season, with sports fans and analysts both dismissing their chances.
Despite the gloomy outlook and poor performances, however, some savvy NFL fans have identified an opportunity in the Jaguars. In fact, some have even gone as far as to suggest they might be one of the best football bets today on a given Sunday.
As we look towards the rest of the upcoming season, why are a small minority on sports betting and fantasy football websites hopping with buzz about the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Part of this buzz is certainly rooted in their previous playing history. Since being established 27 years ago in 1993, the Jaguars have always had a promising, if slightly underwhelming at times, playing history.
Early into their franchise history, the Jaguars made an impact in the NFL by qualifying for the playoffs during four of their first five seasons — no easy feat given how young the team then was. This early run included four consecutive playoff runs, two division titles and two AFC Championship Game appearances — not a bad resume for a young team!
They also earned the unique honor of being the youngest expansion team to appear in a conference championship — which happened in their second season, eventually securing a top seed ranking in their conference by 1999.
Despite a lack of subsequent success — winning only three playoff appearances, one division title and zero Super Bowl appearances — they have always been viewed as a team whose time is yet to come.
A question remains, however, as to whether the Jaguars actually have what it takes to regroup and move forward. At 19 consecutive losses — a record which is secondly only to Tamp Bay’s 26-game losing streak for the longest ever recorded — there are understandable doubts.
A glimmer of hope to reverse the Jaguars’ fortune might be found in head coach Urban Meyer. Since being appointed this year, a decent amount of hope has built up around him.
Although the Jaguars are his first posting for an NFL team, Meyers has a glittering career behind him in college football — having coached teams such as Ohio State, the Florida Gators and Notre Dame.
For this reason, Jaguars fans have given Meyers a lot of leeway in his early games even though he has failed to secure a single win. This may explain his visibly emotional state following the most recent loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, with his sense of personal frustration easy to see.
Despite this, as seems to happen every season, the Jaguars will continue to gather a bit of buzz behind them. Whether this will pay off in the long run for all the plucky punters out there remains to be seen.
What does remain a slightly surer thing, however, is that until they start stringing together some wins, the Jacksonville Jaguars will continue to be the underdogs. For those sport betting fans willing to risk it, this underdog might provide a lucrative payoff when they finally do secure a win.