Jaguars have favorable path to No. 1 seed: Predicting final 6 games of 2023 season

• The Jaguars are gaining steam entering the last stretch of the 2023 season

• Here's a look at how the next six games on their schedule could play out

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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Week 17 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Win

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got off to a hot start in 2023, winning three of their first four games. But then, the losses began to pile up and they've managed to muster one victory since Week 5. That's not the sign of a good team. Maybe their opponents were still finding their footing when they beat them, or they're simply not that good, which seems like the most reasonable explanation. Bake Mayfield, for his part, has put up solid stats, completing 64.7 percent of his passes for 2,588 yards with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

By all accounts, those are good numbers. However, a closer look shows that he's thrown a lot in an effort to catch up because Tampa Bay often finds itself trailing. That's probably why you haven't heard about Mayfield's candidacy for the 2023 NFL MVP. Leaving the former No. 1 overall pick, it looks like the Bucs still haven't fully recovered from the Tom Brady era.

Many of the players who were on the roster when the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl (Chris Godwin, Lavonte David, Shaquil Barrett) are still around. However, they haven't been nearly as productive. It's fair to say that the luster is gone. Mayfield was supposed to provide a spark and he kind of has but can solely expect a quarterback to single-handedly lift a franchise, unless that quarterback is Brady and comes with tight end Rob Gronkowski.

But as subpar as the Bucs currently are, they still have a shot at making the playoffs by virtue of playing in a weak AFC South. Right now, the leaders of the house are the lowly New Orleans Saints, who aren't much better than the Atlanta Falcons or the Carolina Panthers. The Jaguars already beat the former and are set to face the latter in Week 17.

This is to say that the Buccaneers will beat the Panthers and Falcons but they'll fall to Jacksonville.