Anything can happen in the NFL, especially in the early weeks. And that anything in 2022 just happens to be the Jacksonville Jaguars sitting alone at the top of the AFC South.
The Jaguars (1-1) had a statement 24-0 win over AFC South rival Indianapolis Colts (0-1-1) in Week 2. Thanks to the Houston Texans (0-1-1) losing 16-9 to the Denver Broncos and the Tennessee Titans (0-2) laying a primetime egg against the Buffalo Bills to the tune of a 41-7 blowout.
As a result, the Jaguars are not only alone in the AFC South's top standing for the first time since Week 2 in 2018, but they are the only team in the entire division with a win. The Jaguars lost 28-22 to the Washington Commanders in Week 1, but to date they are the only team in the division that has scored 20 points in both games, as well as leading the division in points per game scored and points per game allowed.
"Again to me, it goes back to practice and the way they practice is the way they play. They expect to practice well so they expect to play well and win those games," Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said on Monday.
"Credit the players for having that mindset and having that attitude each week. It just shows confidence in them and kind of where they are, the maturity of the football team. Not every weekend’s going to be like that but yesterday it was and it’s something I think that the guys can kind of feed off of.”
It is obviously a long season, but the Jaguars are looking much better on the stat sheet this year than at any point last year or in the last several years. The Jaguars have a tough road tilt against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 3. But for a Jaguars team that has finished in last place in the AFC South for four consecutive seasons, it is fair to say that any signs of success are welcomed ones for the Jaguars.
“To me, it’s up to the team, it’s up to the players really. But for me, it’s kind of easy because the message is always going to be the same thing," Pederson said on Monday when asked about keeping the team grounded. "It’s all about us and going 1-0 this week and it doesn’t really matter what we’ve done in the past. It’s a short-term memory each week.
"It’s a new set of challenges, so it’s my job to make sure the guys stay focused that way and never lose sight of that because that’s when you get beat and you start kind of feeling full of yourself just a little bit after something like this on Sunday or you have success a couple weeks in a row. You want to build on the momentum of course, but at the same time, you have to stay humble and grounded and continue to improve at what you’re doing.”