Jacksonville Jaguars get lots of love on NFL Media's list of top 10 games in 2023

Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars / Frederick Breedon/GettyImages

The Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the hottest teams to finish the 2022 season and they seem poised to continue making noise. Given the attention they've been getting, it's only fair that they get the spotlight more often in 2023. While it's uncertain how many primetime games the Jags will get next season, Nick Shook of NFL Media included them twice on his list of the 10 most tantalizing games.

Shook took a look at what he thinks will be the most exciting games of the 2023 season and included the Jaguars' matchups against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills. He points out that he would have liked to see a rematch of Jacksonville's comeback win over the Los Angeles Chargers in Super Wild Card Weekend. However, he believes that watching the Jaguars face off against Cincy is a "more than acceptable consolation prize", noting that the Bengals represent a new challenge.

"In 2022, Jacksonville rose from an afterthought to spunky playoff squad before ultimately falling to the eventual Super Bowl championship Chiefs. That's all fine for a season of emergence, but new success brings fresh expectations. Cincinnati has transformed itself into an AFC power (even if the Bengals don't always receive the recognition they deserve) and will present a test for Doug Pederson and the cats from Duval County. And we haven't even talked about the battle of former first-overall picks (Joe Burrow vs. Trevor Lawrence). Let the games begin. "

As noted before, Shook also included the Jaguars' matchup against the Bills because he believes it will give Jacksonville the chance to show whether they can take the next step in 2023.

"Can Jacksonville take the next step in 2023? This meeting with Buffalo provides an excellent opportunity to answer that question affirmatively."

The Jacksonville Jaguars last played the Bills and the Bengals in 2021

The last time the Jags took on the Bengals was on Thursday Night Football back in 2021. They lost wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. for the season after fracturing his ankle in the game. It also became infamous because it led to the Urban Meyer video. In case you forgot, Meyer decided to stay in Ohio instead of flying back with the team because he wanted to spend a weekend with his grandkids.

By spending time with his grandkids, Meyer meant going clubbing and getting frisky with a woman that wasn't his wife Shelley. After a recording of the event surfaced on social media, he made an attempt at damage control that made things even worse. In the end, the incident was one of the many reasons the Jaguars decided to kick him to the curb less than a year after having hired him.

On the other hand, the fans surely have fonder memories of the Week 9 upset against Buffalo. Nobody would have batted an eye if you thought Jacksonville was going to get crushed in that game. However, the Jaguars showed out that game, limiting the Bills' high-powered offense to a measly six points.

Outside linebacker Josh Allen showed how dominant he could be, registering an interception, a scooped fumble, and a sack. Similarly, former first-round pick Taven Bryan had what was arguably the best performance of his NFL career, tallying two sacks. It was the Jags' second win of the year and one of the highest points of what turned out to be a taxing season.

The Jaguars will have a chance to prove they are one of the top teams in the NFL

In previous years, games against the Kansas City Chiefs or the Buffalo Bills would have been seen as a guaranteed loss but not anymore. The Jaguars showed in 2022 that they can keep up with some of the heavyweights in the NFL. Now, they have to prove that they can do it on a consistent basis.

Last year, Jacksonville lost a few games they should have gone. In the same manner, they pull off a few upsets that not many analysts believed were possible. Now, the Jags have a chance to solidify themselves as a top-10 club in the league, regardless of the conference.

Working in their favor is that the duo of Trevor Lawrence and Doug Pederson are entering their second season together. The Calvin Ridley trade should also tip the scale on Jacksonville's favor. The former Alabama standout is ready to join an already loaded wide receiver corps, giving Lawrence a wide array of weapons.

Last but not least, general manager Trent Baalke spent the offseason fortifying an already talented roster, so the Jaguars should have a favorable chance to beat both the Bills and the Bengals in 2023.

The Jacksonville Jaguars managed to get everyone's attention last year by winning the AFC South and winning the playoffs. If they want to stay relevant in 2023, they'll need to keep racking up wins. The good news is that they're built to do so.

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