NFL talking head sees Jacksonville Jaguars clinching top seed in playoffs in 2023

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) points to the fans in the stands as he walks off the field.
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) points to the fans in the stands as he walks off the field. / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY

The Jacksonville Jaguars exceeded expectations last year and went on to make the playoffs. They're expected to pick up where they left off in 2023 but how much better will they be? If you ask Colin Cowherd of The Herd, he'll tell you he'll be the top team in the AFC.

Cowherd believes that the Jags will seize the top seed in the playoffs because of their favorable schedule, "People perceive either Kansas City, or Cincinnati or Buffalo as the No. 1 seed in the AFC, I do not and schedule matters", Cowherd said.

"The Jacksonville Jaguars got a schedule break, so they only face four elite quarterbacks and we knew this; three at home, and one in a neutral field but they got them all spaced out. They face Mahomes at home Week 2. And they don't have to face Josh Allen until October Week 5, and they don't have to face Burrow at home Week 12. And later it's at home again, they get Lamar Jackson. It's all got spaced out and the other 13 games, they have a decided quarterback advantage", Cowherd said.

Cowherd then goes on to compare the 2023 Jaguars to the Philadelphia Eagles team that made the Super Bowl last year.

"Jacksonville reminds me of Philadelphia last year. The head coach of the Eagles and these Jags is in Year 2. The young promising quarterback for those Eagles and these Jags is in Year 3. Both were a surprise playoff team, the Jags last year and the Eagles the year before last year. Both get an easy schedule, the Jags this year, and the Eagles last year. What did the Eagles become? The No. 1 in the NFC", Cowherd.

The Jaguars got the ninth toughest schedule, according to Sharp Football and John Breech of CBS Sports thinks that playing three AFC North teams in consecutive weeks will be the hardest hurdle to clear. Here's the whole clip in case you want to watch it.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a favorable path to the No. 1 seed in the 2023 playoffs

Cowherd might be into something. The Jaguars' roadmap to the playoffs next season indeed resembles that of Philly last year. But one thing is to have a similar path and the other is to have the ability to successfully walk it. It's true that Jacksonville got a relatively easy slate for the 2023 season but it won't matter if they won't take advantage of it.

Regardless of where the Jags play the Bengals, the 49ers the Chiefs, and the Bills, none of those will be easy games. Then again, Jacksonville is good enough to keep up with all of those clubs. While it's unrealistic to expect them to go 4-0 against them, 2-2 is reasonable.

So going back to Cowherd's premise, can the Jaguars clinch the No. 1 seed? Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated believes they can "if things break right". This means that Jacksonville would need to win a good chunk of their games with potential tiebreaker implications. Similarly, Cincy, the Chiefs and the Bills would need to lose a few key matchups.

The bottom line is that the Jacksonville Jaguars have a realistic shot at clinching the top seed in the AFC. For that to happen, they'll need to bring their A+game from the beginning of the season and get a few breaks here and there.

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