Today's Pigskin

03 January 2016: Jaguars WR Allen Robinson during 30 - 6 loss to the Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. (Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire)
Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars the 0-2 team with biggest reason for continued optimism

(John Rivera/Icon Sportswire)

It can feel a bit deflating when the team you follow is sitting at 0-2 after the first two weeks of the NFL season. This year, there are eight teams sitting at the dreaded 0-2, and unfortunately, the odds aren’t in favor of these teams to turn it around and make the postseason.

As NFL.com’s Marc Sessler pointed out, only 12.1 percent of teams sitting in this spot since 1990 have come back to make the playoffs. That’s a pretty low number, and it’s tough to justify any of the current winless teams doing it.

Except, the argument can be made for one of them at the very least. While all eight teams have a few positives, the Jacksonville Jaguars are the team that should remain optimistic. There are a few reasons for it, but we’ll start with the fact that their division is, well, not looking so hot.

The Houston Texans are a good team, there’s no denying that. They’re 2-0, but their wins have come against two disappointing teams in the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs. With that said, the Texans are (rightfully) the favorites to win the division, and probably will. But, the conversation isn’t about the Texans, it’s about the Jaguars.

It’s widely apparent that Jaguars fans aren’t interested in playing the waiting game for their talented roster to get things figured out. With that said, their defense, which is loaded with playmakers, has allowed 32.5 points per game this season, tied for the third-most in the NFL. Names like Malik Jackson, Dante Fowler, Jalen Ramsey, Telvin Smith, Myles Jack and Tashaun Gipson all come to mind. All are new additions, and to be honest, expecting them to mesh right out of the gate and go into full shutdown mode is just far too much to ask.

The Jaguars’ defense will get there. The offense is another concern. But not to worry because help is on the way.

While second-year running back T.J. Yeldon has been brutally bad, averaging just 2.4 yards per carry this season while tallying 67 yards, let’s not forget that the Jaguars paid up to sign Chris Ivory in free agency. Ivory has missed the first two games, but should be back in Week 3.

With Ivory back in action, and potentially taking over the run game, he’s going to make life easier for every single aspect of this team. Blake Bortles’ life is going to get easier passing the ball, Allen Robinson will be able to get more open thanks to seeing less double coverage and the defense will finally be able to get some rest. Ivory’s ability as a runner can and will change the game for Jacksonville.

How quickly can the defense mesh and Ivory help ease the pressure? That’s the real question, because it has to happen before the Jaguars fall into an even larger hole and wind up looking at a massive uphill climb to potentially earn a playoff spot. In the worst case, the Jaguars have upside, and may have the most upside of any team in their division.

Jaguars the 0-2 team with biggest reason for continued optimism

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