The 2022 season is near and the Jacksonville Jaguars hope to begin their turnaround soon. The Jaguars are targeting a higher goal for 2022, after a disappointing season of 3-14 in 2021.
“I’ll say this, our team’s really embraced the offseason extremely well and these guys are excited,”Doug Pederson, Jaguars’ head coach, stated Friday.
“There’s a lot of energy in the room right now in the building and this is just another sort of element to that with the rookies. It’s a weekend right now where the rookies don’t have to feel the pressure of veterans being around them and we can focus on them and get them sort of caught up and then come Monday we’re all together as a squad and continue the phase two. It’s an exciting time, an exciting time for me and obviously for our organization.”
With the Jaguars hard at work over the next several weeks and months to prepare for the season, how do we see the upcoming 17-game slate playing out? After missing last year on the Jaguars’ win total by three games, we take another crack this year below.
Which games do we think they win and lose? Which are winnable and which are the toughest? We break it all down here.
Week 1: @ Washington Commanders, Sept. 11.
Prediction: Jaguars lose (0-1)
I went back and forth on this one the entire way. The Jaguars aren’t a team who should be expected to be a complete pushover in Week 1, but Washington is at worst an average team who has the defense to challenge Doug Pederson and Trevor Lawrence. They did well against teams on the Jaguars’ level last season and improved this offseason. With this in mind, Carson Wentz struggled badly vs. the Jaguars in two games last year and could prove to be the equalizer. This could go either way.
Week 2: vs. Indianapolis Colts, Sept. 18.
Prediction: Jaguars win (1-1)
The Colts can’t win in Jacksonville, for whatever reason. The Colts haven’t won at TIAA Bank Field since 2014, with Andrew Luck, Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers, and Jacoby Brissett all falling to inferior Jaguars teams. The Colts were the 1 in the 1-15 Jaguars in 2020, after all. Matt Ryan is a good quarterback but the Jaguars continue their momentum vs. the Colts at home.
Week 3: @ Los Angeles Chargers (4:15 p.m.), Sept. 25.
Prediction: Jaguars lose (1-2)
The Jaguars are traditionally not great at traveling to the west coast. They struggled to do so in Justin Herbert’s rookie season and he and the Chargers have both only gotten better since then. The Chargers are one of the NFL’s trendiest picks for a reason and represent where the Jaguars should hope to be in a few years, but they aren’t quite there yet.
Weel 4: @ Philadelphia Eagles, Oct. 2.
Prediction: Jaguars lose (1-3)
This feels like a game that could be closer than it gets credit for. The Eagles are a better team than the Jaguars after a solid 2021 season and an offseason that saw them add Jordan Davis, A.J. Brown and Nakobe Dean. With that said, Pederson knows the Eagles’ personnel like the back of his hand and has a scheme that could challenge his former team.
Week 5: vs. Houston Texans, Oct. 9.
Prediction: Jaguars win (2-3)
Houston isn’t the awful team they get painted as, but the Jaguars will be recharged after getting back to TIAA Bank Field after two really tough road games. This is a game that is more or less a must-win for the Jaguars to keep the season from going off rails, and I think they will know that.
Week 6: @ Indianapolis Colts, Oct. 16.
Prediction: Jaguars lose (2-4)
Just like the Colts struggle in Jacksonville, the Jaguars have struggled at Lucas Oil Stadium in recent years. The Colts will need to win this game to prove they are the AFC South’s best and I don’t think they will let themselves have another let-down game after Week 18 last year.
Week 7: vs. New York Giants, Oct. 23.
Prediction: Jaguars win (3-4)
The Giants are in a similar place as the Jaguars, but the difference is their quarterback is Daniel Jones while Jacksonville’s is Trevor Lawrence. If each is who they are expected to be, the Jaguars should be able to have the upper hand in a game between two similar teams.
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Week 8: vs. Denver Broncos (London), Oct. 30.
Prediction: Jaguars lose (3-5)
The Jaguars are decent in international games, but the Denver Broncos present one of the year’s toughest challenges. Russell Wilson joins a dangerous group of skill players, while the Broncos have the blue-chip defenders on defense to force Trevor Lawrence into some tough situations.
Week 9: vs. Las Vegas Raiders, Nov. 6.
Prediction: Jaguars lose (3-6)
This isn’t a game that is unwinnable by any means, but football is a game of matchups. As it stands today, the Raiders have the advantage when on offense with Davante Adams and when on defense with Chandler Jones. The Jaguars could easily win this one, but the Raiders will be a tough team to beat at home.
Week 10: @ Kansas City Chiefs, Nov. 13.
Prediction: Jaguars lose (3-7)
Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. That is all. The Chiefs won’t be the same offense they were with Tyreek Hill, but they still have the NFL’s best quarterback, one of the smartest head coaches in the NFL and a number of blue-chip players throughout the roster. If the Jaguars can at least make it competitive it would be a good sign.
Week 12: vs. Baltimore Ravens, Nov. 27.
Prediction: Jaguars lose (3-8)
The Ravens may be a one-dimensional offense due to their lack of weapons on offense, but that is a heck of a dimension. Lamar Jackson is one of the toughest players in the NFL to prepare for and unless the Ravens are facing injury concerns again, they have a roster that is a good bit more complete than Jacksonville’s.
Week 13: @ Detroit Lions, Dec. 4.
Prediction: Jaguars win (4-8)
This is going to be a much tougher game than people think. The Lions have a more complete roster than the Jaguars at this point, fielding a solid defensive front and an offensive that is deep at wide receiver, running back, offensive line, and has one of the best tight ends in the NFL. Still, Trevor Lawrence should be better than Jared Goff if he is the prospect the Jaguars think he is. This should be a close game either way.
Week 14: @ Tennessee Titans, Dec. 11.
Prediction: Jaguars lose (4-9)
Just like the Colts struggle in Jacksonville, the Jaguars struggle in Nashville. Nashville has been the place where everything goes wrong for the Jaguars in recent years, whether it be Lawrence’s four interceptions last year or Derrick Henry’s stiff arm in 2018. The Titans got worse this offseason, but the Jaguars can’t win in Nashville until they do.
Week 15: vs. Dallas Cowboys, Dec. 18.
Prediction: Jaguars lose (4-10)
The Cowboys are one of the best teams the Jaguars will play all season. Doug Pederson has a ton of experience against the Cowboys after five years leading the Eagles, but the Cowboys are a legit playoff team while the Jaguars are still rebuilding. The Cowboys’ experience at quarterback and depth of playmakers gives them the edge.
Week 16: @ New York Jets (TNF), Dec. 22.
Prediction: Jaguars win (5-10)
The Jets beat the Jaguars last season as each team limped to the finish, with Zach Wilson making a series of big plays as the Jaguars failed to take advantage of opportunities on both sides of the ball. The Jets have a solid roster, but this feels like a game the Jaguars could surprise in after hanging tough with the Jets last year. This should be close either way.
Week 17: @ Houston Texans, Jan. 1.
Prediction: Jaguars win (6-10)
The Texans are a better team than they get credit for, but I still lean the Jaguars in a close game due to overall talent and Trevor Lawrence’s expected step forward. The Texans aren’t a pushover by any means, but Doug Pederson and Lawrence vs. Lovie Smith and Davis Mills feels like advantage Jaguars, even on the road.
Week 18: vs. Tennessee Titans, Jan. 7 or Jan 8.
Prediction: Jaguars lose (6-11)
I could see the Jaguars winning this game, depending on the health of both clubs. But for now it feels like they are still on a tier higher than the Jaguars. They have struggled against Titans in recent seasons. Trevor Lawrence did well in his first home game against the Titans last summer, but they are still a tough team for Jacksonville until they are.