There's been a handful of the always fun "best and worst case scenarios" floating around the NFL in recent weeks. I thought I'd take a stab at giving my opinion of the Jaguars best and worst case scenarios. I'm breaking this into two posts just because there's the potential for me getting long-winded in explaining myself, and I don't particularly like dropping 1,000+ words on my readers in one post.
In the middle of April, Colts blogger and AFC South Lead Blogger Nate Dunlevy posted the Jaguars' best and worst case scenarios, putting their top achievable mark at just 8-8 and their bottom mark at 3-13. He was also kind enough to project the Jaguars' final record in 2012, putting it at just 6-10.
Paul Kuharsky took a stab at these scenarios for the Jaguars as well, putting their dream scenario at 10-6 and making the playoffs while having their nightmare scenario playing out with just a 4-12 record.
With apologies to Dunlevy and Kuharsky, the Jaguars' best case scenario is much better than 8-8 or even 10-6.
I'll put my neck on the line by saying that the Jaguars' best case scenario has them at 13-3. Yes I said that. 13 wins and 3 losses. Remember people, this is the best case scenario.
In this situation, a few things have to happen. First and foremost, the team has to stay healthy. Last season, the Jaguars were hit incredibly hard by injuries, especially on defense. That unit was able to push through their problems, but they weren't the same on that side of the ball once their secondary had been wiped out.
The next process that has to go according to plan for the Jaguars to be a dominant team is their wide receivers have to be able to make plays. They have to find holes in zones, break open on cuts, and catch the [expletive] ball!
Finally, and most obviously, the Jaguars need second year quarterback Blaine Gabbert to come to life. Last season he looked lost at times, but he did show some nice progression late in the year. The Jaguars need him to enter the season a changed signal caller. With the coaches the Jaguars have placed around him, it's not that crazy to expect him to be much better.
Yes, a 13-3 record is very, very optimistic, but there are only a few teams that really terrify me as a fan (Packers, Lions, Patriots), and even those games can be considered "winnable" if the above list of factors all pan out in the Jaguars' favor. Should that happen, this roster has the talent to not only make the playoffs, but win their division and make a run at the big game.