It’s been a few years since that could be said, but it’s absolutely true: The Jacksonville Jaguars are playing a must-watch game this weekend. Their game against the Philadelphia Eagles is one with a lot of storylines on and off the field that add zest.
On the field in this game are two of the hottest offenses in the NFL featuring two young quarterbacks. Trevor Lawrence is beginning to unleash his potential as a Jaguar savior, and Jalen Hurts has improved to the point of becoming one of the top scorers in the league. Styles can create fights in the NFL, and Lawrence and Herts play two opposite football styles, but both work. These quarterbacks have incredible mobility that allows them to play with their feet, but Lawrence acts closer to a traditional quarterback. Hurts is straight from the future, delivering an offense with great efficiency that mirrors what we see on Saturdays.
Off the field, the main story is Doug Pederson returning to Philadelphia and meeting his old team. Despite delivering the franchise’s first Super Bowl trophy in the 2017 season, Pederson was unceremoniously fired after the 2020 season (thank you, Carson Wentz). Since then, the Eagles have quickly rebuilt their offense around the Hurts — something Pederson was reportedly leaning towards at the end of his tenure with Philadelphia — while Pederson has thrived with the Jaguars. So far, both sides have been successful as they parted ways, but now Pederson will have a chance for a “revenge” against his old team.
Does Pederson expect a favorable reception from Philadelphia believers? “You hope it’s good, obviously because of what you did there, but I also know this crowd and they can be a little hostile.” This Pederson told reporters this week.. “Hey, even when I was there and we won games or lost, you still got booed, so it doesn’t really matter.
The ambient shots that allow each team’s quarterback to perform at a high level are also a big piece of the puzzle. The Eagles have a great offensive line, two highly trained wide receivers in AJ Brown and Devonta Smith, and a creative forward with head coach Nick Sirianni staging a varied offense that was hard to stop. The Jaguars got great play from a lot of offensive players, but running back James Robinson, wide receiver Christian Kirk and right tackle Jawaan Taylor really stood out.
On the other hand, both of these teams have well-established defenses. The Jaguars’ defense is a fast and powerful unit that has only 10 points and five turnovers in the last two games. No. 1 overall Travon Walker showed a physical advantage that made him a tempting draft pick, with other players filling him in well. The Eagles just finished the game with nine sacks (thanks again to Carson Wentz) and have one of the deepest defensive lines in the game. For lovers of trench play and different quarterback styles, this game should stand out.
It may be a game early in the season, but it has all the theatrics that reminds us why we love football in the first place. Two top teams, young players to invest in and a coach returning to where he became famous. It has everything you need for a classic regular season game.