Big Win over Texans Proves Jaguars Are Far from NFL's Worst Team

Kristopher KnoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 05:   Geno Hayes #55 of the Jacksonville Jaguars asks the crowd for noise during the game against the Houston Texans at EverBank Field on December 5, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars entered their Week 9 bye without a win and the general perception was that they were easily the worst team in the NFL.

That perception was difficult to argue. Not only were the Jaguars tied for the league's worst record, they had lost every single game by 10 points or more. 

That, however, was a month ago. 

What a Difference a Break Makes
Before the Bye0-8862640-50-1
After the Bye4-11151084-03-0

Jacksonville has won four of five games coming out of the bye, its only loss coming at the hands of the potentially playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals.

The Jaguars have averaged 23 points per game during that five-game stretch after averaging under 11 points per game before their bye week.

The team has taken strides defensively as well. Before the break, Jacksonville surrendered an average of 33 points per game. After the bye, they have given up 21.6 points per contest.

The Jaguars also now own the longest winning streak in the AFC.

While there is finally some reason for excitement for Jaguars fans, they are still a long way away from being the best team in the league.

However, they are far from the NFL's worst.

By handing the Houston Texans their 11th-straight loss on Thursday night, Jacksonville proved it isn't even the worst team in the AFC South. In fact, the team is now 3-1 within the division.

Despite jumping out to a miserable start to the season and losing star wide receiver Justin Blackmon to a season-long suspension, the Jaguars have refused to fold.

Their resilience is a reflection of first-year head coach Gus Bradley, who has shown this young team how to fight through adversity.

Bradley lost his father prior to the team's Week 8 matchup with San Francisco in London. He did not miss that game, a 42-10 loss. While the Jaguars lost the game in London, they returned home and regrouped.

The results speak for themselves.

Eight other teams currently own an equal or worse record than the Jaguars, and it is entirely conceivable that Bradley is going to coach his team out of a top-10 draft pick.

At the very least, he has probably ensured that his job will remain safe for another season.

The Jaguars now have 10 days before beginning a three-game stretch that will give the team an opportunity to prove its resurgence is no fluke.

A winnable game against the struggling Buffalo Bills aside, the Jaguars' remaining schedule is very much based in the NFC South. Jacksonville has a realistic chance of finishing with a 5-1 division record if it can find a way to defeat the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts in Weeks 16 and 17, respectively.

If the Jaguars can pull off the sweep of the season's final month, they will be sitting at 7-9 with a 7-1 record over the second half of the season.

After an offseason's worth of free-agent and draft additions, it will be interesting to see just how far the Jaguars can take their turnaround.

For now, the team can find comfort in knowing it has taken a giant first step.