Like clockwork, a handful of teams that made the playoffs one year regress to the mean the next. Oftentimes it’s surprise teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars who find themselves taking a step back the year after finding success where no one expected it.
It’s hard to bet against them, though. Doug Pederson seems to have completely shifted the culture in Duval after the Urban Meyer disaster, and in doing so has unlocked Trevor Lawerence. Last year we finally saw the version of Lawrence we were used to seeing on Saturdays at Clemson and the result was the team’s first playoff berth since 2017.
That being said, the Jags are hardly world-beaters and appear to be formidable opponents for the Bucs. Jacksonville won’t be an easy out, but assuming they don’t take a monster step forward this year the Jags are a team the Bucs can hang with. Will they beat them? That depends on how many things go wrong, as this feels like the kind of game Tampa Bay will be in but play themselves out of through bad mistakes.
Remember the Browns game last year? This could be something like that where the Jaguars emerge victorious by capitalizing on bad coaching and even worse execution at the most inopportune time.
Buccaneers record: 5-10
Buccaneers record: 5-11