It takes a special type of dysfunction for a team to go from the NFL's best scoring defense to it's expected worst in 24 months. Well, say hello to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jags defensive reputation reached a nadir when the most recent odds on which NFL team will allow the most points in 2020 were released; Jacksonville is the preseason clubhouse favorite, alongside the Giants. While both those teams could struggle with shifting personnel and little buy-in for coach Doug Marrone, and the Giants could undergo teething pains under new coach Joe Judge, there are better value bets farther down the board. How can we tell? The always-insightful Quality Stat of Bendability.
Roughly speaking, Bendability measures a defense's ability to stiffen as opponents near their goal line. Wouldn't you know that two of the bottom half franchises when ranked by Scoreability actually carry two of the longest odds to allow the most points.
While the Buccaneers have earned nearly all their offseason headlines by signing quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski away from New England, their 2019 struggles had at least as much to do with their defense as Jameis Winston's profligacy. The Bucs finished in the bottom half of the Defensive Passer Rating Standings, and, critically, Bendability. Those key stats were often obscured by Tampa's much higher standings in Defensive Hog Index and Defensive Rusher Rating. That's not to say that the Bucs' red zone defense will continue to struggle, but there's every chance that Tampa could hand out far more points than many anticipate, particularly if Brady and the offense are as efficient as they could be. With odds of +3300 per the SportsBettingDime aggregated odds, they're certainly worth a closer look.
If Tampa deserves a long consideration, so does Los Angeles' AFC franchise. As the Chargers prepare for their first season in the new SoFi Stadium, they'll be hoping for a far more stout defensive performance than they authored in 2019.
Like the Bucs, the Chargers struggled in Bendability, finishing 24th in the final standings. Unlike the Bucs, they also landed near the bottom of the rankings in Defensive Rusher Rating, Defensive Passer Rating and Defensive Real Quarterback Rating. Despite their defensive struggles, the Chargers bring odds of +5000 to allow the most points. The return of Joey Bosa should help, but whether it's enough to drive the Chargers into at least middle of the pack standings remains to be seen. but it may be worth taking a punt on those odds just in case they come through.
The Jaguars will contend for the worst defensive scoring mark for sure, but with odds of just +800, it's far more worthwhile taking a stab with contenders like the Bucs or Chargers, or other contenders farther down the aggregated odds.