2. The Jacksonville Jaguars vs. The Houston Texans at TIAA Bank Field.
Just like the Jaguars, the Texans hired a new head coach last year. And just like the Jags, the Texans already fired their head coach and hired their replacement, Doug Pederson in Jacksonville’s case, and Lovie Smith for Houston. But that’s not where the similarities end. Both teams drafted quarterbacks in 2021, Trevor Lawrence and Davis Mills, respectively. Last but not least, both clubs will try to crawl out of the basement of the league.
Last season, the Texans had one more win than the Jags but two of them came against their division archrivals. To nobody’s surprise, these two AFC South teams have spent the offseason trying to upgrade their roster. Observers believe Houston has done a better job. However, the Jaguars have a quarterback with more upside and a head coach that has fared better in recent years.
Smith took the Chicago Bears to Super Bowl 41 and also played in the 2010 NFC Championship but that’s where his postseason resume ends. Meanwhile, Pederson helped the Philadelphia Eagles make the playoffs in three consecutive years during his five-year stint and also won the first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Smith has a defensive background while Pederson’s expertise is on offense, which will benefit Trevor Lawrence immensely. The Jags looked like the better squad on paper last year but lost twice to the Texans. They need to start winning more divisional games and they will have a chance in 2022.