Week 16 - Dec. 22, 2022 | Jets vs. Jaguars
MetLife Stadium | Buy Tickets
State of the Team
Jacksonville finished last season still down on its luck, considering the Jaguars' 3-14 record was their 12th losing mark in the past 14 seasons. (One of the two exceptions was their 10-6 AFC Championship-losing team in 2017.)
But the Jaguars opened their corporate wallet and spent a football fortune to secure a new head coach in Doug Pederson and new free agent veterans, then picked No. 1 overall followed by a tradeup back into Round 1 in the 2022 NFL Draft for two defensive standouts. The Jags are likely to be an improved squad when they and QB Trevor Lawrence, last year's first overall pick, meet up again in Week 16, again at MetLife Stadium, again against the Jets and QB Zach Wilson, but this time in front of a Thursday Night Football audience on Dec. 22.
Biggest Offseason Additions
That's additions, plural. Right at the start, the Jaguars began their rebuilding process by hiring Pederson, who sat out last season and is just five seasons removed from his and the Eagles' 2017 campaign that ended in Super Bowl LII victory over the Patriots.
Then the player acquisitions began. GM Trent Baalke and Pederson (not to overlook owner Shahid Khan) quickly signed a half-dozen UFAs — Pro Bowl TE Evan Engram, Pro Bowl G Brandon Scherff, WR Christian Kirk, NFL-leading tackler LB Foye Oluokun, and a DT to stop the run and apply inside pressure whom the Jets and their fans know well in Foley Fatukasi.
Then came the opening-night draft bounty, which fortified the Jags' defense and particularly their pass rush in first overall selection OLB Travon Walker and 27th pick WLB Devin Lloyd.
Finally, Jacksonville is set to "add" someone who missed all of last season rehabbing a Lisfranc foot injury — RB Travis Etienne, the 25th pick of the '21 draft and Lawrence's backfield mate at Clemson. Etienne reportedly looked very speedy during OTAs as the Jaguars' "new" multithreat back.
Yes, in reality Wilson and Lawrence won't match up against each other but rather vs. the other team's defense. Still, we know keys question for the game will be which QB fared better than the other? Who will get the starting win and who will take the defeat?
In last year's first matchup of rookie quarterbacks who were the draft's top two picks since 2015, Wilson got the W. He had a modest passing line — 14-of-22 for 102 yards and a 1-yard TD toss to tackle-eligible Conor McDermott — but also committed no turnovers and ran four times for 91 yards that included that 51-yard scoring scamper, a record-long run by a Jets QB, in the 26-21 triumph. Lawrence completed 26 of 39 for 280 yards, threw no TD passes, and suffered a 28-yard loss and a strip-sack courtesy of C.J. Mosley. The Jets defense preserved the lead and the win by stopping Lawrence on four plays from first-and-goal at the Jets 5 in the game's final minute.
Considering the Jaguars adding Walker, Lloyd and Fatukasi to former No. 1 pick DE/OLB Josh Allen, and the Jets returning Carl Lawson to team with Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers and rookie edge men Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons, it will also be must-see TV as both QBs and their protectors try to avoid multiple sack figures from piling up on Amazon Prime.
Inside the Numbers
|Passing Yards / TDs
|QB Trevor Lawrence
|3,641 / 12
|RB James Robinson
|WR Marvin Jones
|WR Marvin Jones
|LB Myles Jack*
|DE/OLB Josh Allen
|CB Tyson Campbell
*No longer on roster