The Jacksonville Jaguars were supposed to be the cool, new, dangerous, young team on the rise; the next threat to come up and try to unseat the Kansas City Chiefs as the latest dynasty in the storied history of the NFL. In 2022, they brought in Super Bowl champion Head Coach Doug Pederson to fix the offense around franchise Quarterback Trevor Lawrence and right the ship.
They started off the campaign rocky, finding themselves at 2-6 following a five-game losing streak through eight games. Halfway through Pederson’s first year with the Jags, though, he got through to the offense and his team caught fire. Jacksonville finished the regular season 9-7, including a five-game win streak to wrap up the year.
The run earned them a spot in the AFC Wild Card round, and their momentum came with them against the Los Angeles Chargers. They wound up upsetting LA and fellow rising star QB Josh Allen en route to their second Divisional Round appearance in over 15 years. Unfortunately, their luck ran out against the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
That second-half turnaround on the year, and their competitive showing against Patrick Mahomes and company inspired faith in the franchise, though, and many expected them to carry that momentum and improve in their second season under Pederson.
That sentiment grew only stronger, as the Jags opened the season by outgunning upstart Quarterback Anthony Richardson and the surprisingly spry Indianapolis Colts, 31-21.
|Trevor Lawrence QB||5||5||180||121||67.2||1258||7.0||251.6||45||5||2||13||71||91.9|
|C.J. Beathard QB||1||0||2||2||100.0||9||4.5||9.0||6||0||0||0||0||85.4|
|Christian Kirk WR||5||5||1||1||100.0||-1||-1.0||-0.2||-1||0||0||0||0||79.2|
Jacksonville then got their rematch with the reigning champs in Week 2. 1-0 at the time and with all of the confidence in the world, Everbank Stadium was buzzing with excitement, as Kansas City rolled into town, perhaps alongside Taylor Swift even. Mahomes was quickly able to settle the crowd, though, as the Chiefs downed the Jags, 17-9.
Jacksonville stock slowed its rise after that loss to KC, and it only tanked meteorically after they took a 37-17 drubbing at the hands of their divisional rival, the Houston Texans. At that point, many raised alarming question marks around this Jaguars team and their potential to compete for a title.
Sitting at 1-2 after taking two straight losses to the chin, things did not bode well for Jacksonville as they made their way to London for their two annual games across the pond.
Apparently, playing at their second home rejuvenated this team, as they came away with two impressive victories: first, against the surprisingly competent Atlanta Falcons, and then a statement win against a
red-hot Buffalo Bills team. Suddenly, the Jaguars very much look like the hands-down favorites to win the AFC South.
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) August 2, 2023
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| Title: The AFC South Crown belongs to the Jacksonville Jaguars
| Author: Andy Quach
| Date: October 10th , 2023