After winning a single game against AFC South opponents in 2018, the Jacksonville Jaguars must find ways to defeat their division foes in 2019.
All NFL games matter. With the shortest schedule of any of the major sports divisions, this league is all about winning division and conference games and making a run for the playoffs coming out of the gate. This season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a chance to erase the 2018 season, starting with a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs took care of the Jaguars 30-14 in Week 5 last season, setting this franchise on a course of self-destruction and injuries that it could not recover from. This is a team that must win now, or there will be more changes on the horizon.
Fansided’s Russell Baxter recently wrote a piece entitled “Each NFL team’s most important game in 2019.” He cites the Week2 matchup against the Houston Texans as the one that could explain the entire season for the Jaguars. I agree the division matchup is critical is the team is going to move forward. I also think games within the AFC South are going to set the tone for Jacksonville’s season.
More from Jacksonville Jaguars News
- 3 centers the Jacksonville Jaguars should draft with pick 57
- Jacksonville Jaguars won’t get to see TE Dalton Kincaid perform drills at 2023 NFL Combine
- Jacksonville Jaguars have exceptional meeting with OL McClendon Curtis at 2023 NFL Scouting Combine
- The Jaguars should trade up for this receiver at 2023 NFL Draft
- NFL Combine 2023: Jacksonville Jaguars HC Doug Pederson and Trent Baalke will speak on Tuesday
The Jaguars won a single division game in 2018, beating the Indianapolis Colts 6-0. They were manhandled by both the Texans and the Tennessee Titans, exploiting their deficiencies on offense and their inability to stop the run in those four games. This season must be better.
Houston is a team (much like the Titans) the Jaguars have not been able to figure out of late.
"“A Week 2 clash at Houston with the defending AFC South champions could give us a good idea in terms of seeing how many strides [Jaguars head coach Doug] Marrone’s team has made this offseason,” Baxter writes. “A year ago, the Texans swept Jacksonville and their defense completely stifled the Jaguars’ attack in both contests – limiting them to a combined 10 points in two outings. You may recall that in 2017, Marrone’s squad manhandled Houston twice (by a combined score of 74-14).”"
The 20-7 loss in Week 7 last season also began the end of the Blake Bortles era with this franchise. For the first time in his career, he was benched in the second half of the game. The image of the team’s signal caller sitting alone staring at the scoreboard was more telling than the outcome at TIAA Bank Field.
"“… The Jaguars have dropped eight of their last 10 games vs. this AFC South rival. If Marrone’s team is to bounce back in 2019, an early win at Houston could wind up being a springboard,” Baxter adds."
Not only do the Jaguars face the Texans early in the season, but they also follow that up four days later in Week 3 for a Thursday night tilt against the Titans – a team they always seem to meet on a short week. If they are able to win one or both of those games, the AFC South could become a tougher race to finish line.
The changes on offense for this organization, with the addition of Nick Foles at quarterback, should make the team more competitive against AFC South opponents. Will it mean more victories? That still remains to be seen.