JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2023 schedule was released along with the rest of the NFL slate Thursday.
The Jaguars are making their return to Sunday Night and Monday Night Football for the first time in more than a decade. They’ll host the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, Dec. 4 (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN), and welcome the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Dec. 17 (8:20 p.m. ET) for prime-time football.
The Jaguars haven’t played a Sunday night game in 15 years (a 26-21 loss at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 5, 2008) and haven’t played a Monday night game in 12 years (a 38-14 loss at home to the San Diego Chargers on Dec. 5, 2011). Both of those streaks were the longest active streaks in the NFL, per ESPN Stats & Information.
Here's what's in store for the Jaguars:
Sept. 10: at Indianapolis
Sept. 17: vs. Kansas City
Sept. 24: vs. Houston
Oct. 1: vs. Atlanta (in London)
Oct. 8: at Buffalo (in London)
Oct. 15: vs. Indianapolis
Oct. 19: at New Orleans (TNF)
Oct. 29: at Pittsburgh
Nov. 5: BYE
Nov. 12: vs. San Francisco
Nov. 19: vs. Tennessee
Nov. 26: at Houston
Dec. 4: vs. Cincinnati (MNF)
Dec. 10: at Cleveland
Dec. 17: vs. Baltimore (SNF)
Dec. 24: at Tampa Bay
Dec. 31: vs. Carolina
Jan. 6 or 7: at Tennessee
Strength of schedule: 23rd toughest (.479)
October could potentially be a tough month for the Jaguars. They start with back-to-back games in London against the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills (the Falcons game counts as a home game), then play the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 15 at TIAA Bank Field, and close the month with road games at New Orleans and Pittsburgh before their Week 9 bye. The Jaguars didn’t want to take their bye after the two games in London because they would have had to play 12 consecutive games, but it’ll be interesting to see how their bodies respond after 12 days in London and if there’s any hangover against the Colts at home the following week.
Kansas City beat the Jaguars twice last season, including in a divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. The last picture of the Jaguars’ 2022 season was their inability to sack Patrick Mahomes despite the fact he was limping around on a severely sprained ankle for more than two quarters.
If the Jaguars are going to be a factor in the AFC, they’re going to have to find a way to beat Mahomes and the other elite QBs -- Josh Allen, Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson -- they have on the 2023 schedule. The Chiefs matchup in Week 2 in Jacksonville will be their chance to snap a seven-game losing streak in the series dating back to 2009.
The Jaguars will sweep the AFC South for the first time in franchise history.
The Jaguars have never won more than four division games since the AFC South’s inception in 2002 (they did it in 2005, 2017 and 2022) but they have since added WR Calvin Ridley to an offense that ranked 10th in scoring and yards. And quarterback Trevor Lawrence is expected to be even better in his second season with Doug Pederson. Remember, Pederson turned Carson Wentz into an MVP candidate in their second season together.
Plus, all three division opponents drafted QBs in the first or second round and all three could be the starters at some point this season. C.J. Stroud will almost certainly be the opening-day starter for Houston and Anthony Richardson likely will take over as the starter before midseason. It’s a little less certain for Will Levis in Tennessee, but the Jaguars finally snapped their eight-game losing streak in Nashville and swept the Titans in 2022 -- so it's a possibility no matter the QB.