Links between final four NFL teams and the Jaguars
While the Jacksonville Jaguars are not playing in the AFC Championship game this season, there are fond memories of an improbable run that just stopped short of the Super Bowl in 2017.
Oh, what was supposed to be for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team responded to their magical 2017-18 season – an AFC South title and their first playoff appearance in 10 years – with a 5-11 dud. To say the team was underwhelming may be kind. This was a team with Super Bowl aspirations and regarded as one of the best in the NFL.
We all know how that ended with injuries and a lack of offensive production. But the Jaguars have some connections to the last four teams in the competition. Here’s a look at how Jacksonville figures into both the AFC and NFC Championship games this weekend.
Kansas City Chiefs – The start of the Jaguars’ demise began with a 30-14 loss in week five against the Kansas City Chiefs, ironic because the team began their AFC championship run last year in week five after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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The loss showed the league that the top offense will overcome the stingy defenses throughout the league, indicated by this years final four, who all have potent offenses. The Jaguars will look to get their revenge during the 2019 season as they take on the Chiefs at home (dates to be announced at a later date).
New England Patriots – The day after the Patriots play the Chiefs in the AFC Conference Championship on Sunday will mark the one year anniversary of the Jaguars losing their best bid to the Super Bowl.
The Patriots — in usual fashion — stayed in contention, while the Jaguars fell apart in 2018. In a hot start to the season, the Jaguars avenged that heartbreaking loss with a 31-20 win in Jacksonville.
This team might want to take some notes from the Patriots on how to maintain success.
New Orleans Saints – The Jaguars met the New Orleans Saints in the first week of preseason action, losing the game 24-20 after the Saints outscored the Jaguars 14-0 in the fourth quarter.
New Orleans quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had a chance to don the Black and Teal this season amid the Jaguars’ struggles, but it was reported that general manager Dave Caldwell turned the New York Jets’ offer down, confident in quarterback Blake Bortles.
What could’ve been for the Jaguars and their future if they took a chance on the young signal-caller. The Jaguars will play the Saints at home in 2019.
Los Angeles Rams – Going into week nine, the team dealt pass rusher Dante Fowler to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a 2019 third-round pick and 2020 fifth-round pick.
Also, in late December the Jaguars put in a claim for former Rams return specialist, Pharoh Cooper, who is now with the Arizona Cardinals.
The situation to obtain Cooper might have been smoothed out now with wide receiver Dede Westbrook’s performances in the last weeks of the 2018 season, including a 74-yard punt return touchdown in Week 5 against the Redskins.