Super Bowl LIV in Miami
The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off a disappointing 5-11 season. But every year brings renewed hope. As we launch into a new season next month, the Jaguars will be hoping that a strong regular season will help them reach the 2020 Super Bowl.
And there are reasons to be hopeful. Firstly, the Jaguars are stacked with talent. They are particularly strong in defense, which will again be led by Jalen Ramsey. That defense will be even more formidable if Telvin Smith comes back and rookie Josh Allen proves as good as advertised.
Secondly, the Jags just signed Nick Foles. The seven-year veteran is a Super Bowl MVP, having led the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. He will be an upgrade on Blake Bortles, who was erratic in his time at Duval. Bortles just couldn’t bring stability under center in his five years with the Jaguars. That stability is something the steady Foles can bring. Working with offensive coordinator John DeLippo will help in this regard. The two were crucial to that Super Bowl-winning Eagles team in 2017. Now they are looking to replicate that success here in Jacksonville.
Thirdly, prolific running back Leonard Fournette is back. He is healthy, and ready to be the Jags’ workhorse once more. As Athlon Sports’ ‘Jacksonville 2019 Preseason Preview’ noted, this team is built to run the ball. Having an in-form Fournette will help make that happen. With the former LSU star organizing the attack, the whole field will open up for the Jags offense. And Foles will have some good targets in Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook, DJ Chark, Keelan Cole, and the returning Marqise Lee (who missed all of last season recovering from ACL reconstruction). That improved receiving list is the fourth and final reason the Jags have high hopes this season.
But there are major roadblocks on the road to Super Bowl LIV. The biggest, arguably, are the New England Patriots. According to bwin NFL’s ‘Super Bowl Tips’, Tom Brady’s Patriots are the favorites to win the Super Bowl again for their fourth straight final appearance. Booking a ticket to Florida next February will give them a shot at winning back-to-back Super Bowls, and their 7th overall. If the Jaguars are to reach the final they will probably have to beat the Patriots en route. Then again the Patriots are not invincible with the Jaguars beating them during last year’s regular season for the first time. Unfortunately, that victory couldn’t save a poor season.
Because of last season’s disappointment, it is easy to forget what the Jags accomplished in 2017. That season they made it to the AFC Championship Game. They lost to the Patriots, but they led for much of the game, and were actually a late-game stop away from winning. Things could be different this year. The Jaguars are a better team than the 2017 squad. They have a Super Bowl MVP leading the way in Foles. They have the redoubtable Fournette back, and a strong defense led by Pro Bowlers Ramsey and Calais Campbell. They even have a much improved set of wide receivers to complement Foles.
All things considered, this might just be the year the Jaguars break through. But why stop with winning the Lamar Hunt Trophy? Super Bowl LIV is there for the taking, and Foles and company look ready to take it.