For a team that’s a combined 6-26 the last two seasons, the Jaguars are generating a decent amount of positive buzz. The early reviews on rookie quarterback Blake Bortles — still the backup for now — are promising, and the club has built a solid defense. Two of PFT’s writers even selected the Jaguars to make the 2014 postseason.
However, while the best might be ahead for the Jaguars, the Week One point spreads suggest they still have some work to do. No team is a bigger underdog in the opening week than Jacksonville, which visits Philadelphia on Sunday. The Eagles, the defending NFC East champions, are 10-point favorites.
According to the Spreadapedia point spread database, the Jaguars are the 34th double-digit underdog in Week One since 1978. Overall, these underdogs of 10 points or more are just 6-27 in their openers. Only the 2008 Bears (at Indianapolis), 2003 Texans (at Miami), 2001 Panthers (at Minnesota), 1992 Steelers (at Houston), 1985 Vikings (at San Francisco) and 1981 Chiefs (at Pittsburgh) have managed to pull off upsets.
Of these six surprising underdogs, only the 1992 Steelers made the postseason. And they did not win a playoff game, falling to Buffalo in the divisional round. Nevertheless, it was a nice start to Bill Cowher’s tenure as head coach.
Finally, history suggests the Jaguars have a better chance of beating the spread than beating Philadelphia outright. Per Spreadapedia, underdogs of 10-plus points are 17-14-1 against the number in Week One.