Well, that was ugly.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been taking their licks in the national media ever since the final whistle of Sunday's 37-21 loss to the Houston Texans. For good reason, too, since the Texans were picked by every major outlet to finish dead last in the NFL in 2021.
Instead, the Texans more or less mopped the floor with the Jaguars. The Jaguars looked more like the team the Texans were supposed to be, allowing big plays at key moments, making fatal penalty mistakes, and turning over the ball in bunches.
As a result, it is hard to find anyone buying Jaguars stock heading into Week 2. The Jaguars didn't just lose to the team picked to be this year's worst team; they got outclassed in all three phases of the game. As a result, it is hard to find many publications singing the Jaguars' praises entering Week 2's game against the Denver Broncos. At least, that is what this week's Power Rankings Roundup shows.
So, where does the national media see the Jaguars after Week 1? We take a look below.
Sports Illustrated - No. 32
Unlike in some other cases, the Texans weren't given much credit for beating the Jaguars. Instead, the Jaguars open the season at No. 32 following Week 1, while the Texans take their spot at No. 31. The Jaguars won't have many pitying them after Sunday's loss considering the expectations around the Texans.
"Most collegiate coaches who are unsuccessful at the NFL level are lumped together, but the much-lampooned Chip Kelly, for example, was never this ill-prepared for a season opener. The Jaguars were walloped by the worst team in football. Their offseason personnel strategy seemed to ignore many of the team’s foundational issues in pursuit of a lofty and ultimately difficult to accomplish vision. Urban Meyer’s top offensive lieutenants, Darrell Bevell and Brian Schottenheimer, both required generational defenses to see their core philosophies succeed. Jacksonville couldn’t slow the pick-heavy Texans."
ESPN - No. 32
The Jaguars dropped three spots after the loss to Houston, going from No. 29 all the way to the bottom spot at No. 32. They essentially just switched places with the Texans, who jumped from the last spot on the totem pole up to No. 29 following their home upset of the Jaguars.
"Lawrence threw for 332 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in his NFL debut. He dealt with six dropped passes, but was wild on some other throws, too. The bulk of his yards came after the Jaguars fell behind by 20 points late in the first half. He made some really good throws on the TD passes to tight end Chris Manhertz and wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. Lawrence clearly has the goods, but there are areas for improvement."
Another edition where the Jaguars fall three spots -- to No. 32 -- while the Texans take their place at No. 29. This is more or less an indication that the Jaguars' loss on Sunday really was that bad in terms of national perspective, even if the Texans are likely a better team than they are given credit for in the media.
"Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer are not accustomed to losing. That might be about to change after what we witnessed on Sunday in Houston. The 2021 Jags looked a lot like the 2020 version that ended the season on a 15-game losing streak. Turnovers, penalties, mental lapses -- it all added up to a 37-21 loss to a Texans team that figures to be one of the worst squads in football. And if that's the case, where does that leave Jacksonville after Week 1? The Jaguars can only go up from here."
If these are all starting to run together, it is tough to blame you. The Jaguars once again went from No. 29 to No. 32, falling behind teams such as the Lions (29), Giants (30), and Falcons (31). The Texans did get a bit of a bump, though, jumping to No. 27 from the No. 32 spot. The Texans beat down the Jaguars in all three phases, so they likely are a bit better than many think.
The Jaguars were at No. 30 entering the season, so they didn't exactly fall very far here. If anything, this shows us that expectations for the Jaguars entering the season weren't exactly high, at least outside of Jacksonville that is. The Jaguars could have changed that with a win in Week 1, but they instead reinforced it by losing in convincing fashion.
"It's not that the Jaguars lost in Houston on Sunday; we are talking about a team that has now lost 16 regular-season games in a row and was starting a rookie quarterback. But Jacksonville didn't just lose. They got waxed by a Texans team considered by most to reside somewhere between laughable and dismal."
The Jaguars slipped from No. 30 to No. 32 following the Week 1 loss to Houston, but what is instead most noteworthy is how quickly it appears national media members have jumped ship from the Meyer experiment entirely. It is too early to do that, but the Jaguars looked bad enough in Week 1 to get that reaction out of some folks.
"Through all of the offseason nonsense with Urban Meyer, it was still fair to wait and see how he fared in a game that counted. And the Jaguars looked absolutely lost against a Texans team that was expected to be the worst in the NFL. Well, the Jaguars are the worst team in the NFL. And after one game, it's clear they made a bad hire with Meyer. Maybe an all-time bad hire. The question becomes, how quickly will the Jaguars admit a mistake and move on? Hopefully it happens before they waste too much of Trevor Lawrence."
Pete Prisco rarely holds punches back and we see this in this week's rankings. It is hard to find any false statements in his evaluation of the Jaguars, however, making this a reasonable ranking of the Jaguars at the bottom of the NFL through one week.
"That was a terrible showing at Houston. The defense is terrible and the offense didn't come close to doing enough. Urban Meyer has a lot of work to do."
Again, hard to put any blame on the author for this ranking. The Jaguars came in at No. 32, falling immediately behind teams like the Texans (No. 27), Lions (No. 28), New York Jets (No. 29), New York Giants (No. 30), and the Atlanta Falcons (No. 32).