Jaguars drawing prime-time appeal, along with returning to London for a game
From Urban Meyer making the jump to NFL to the reuniting of former Clemson stars Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, the Jaguars are an alluring attraction this season.
And if former Florida Gators legend Tim Tebow, who is expected to sign a one-year contract to play tight end, makes the Jaguars' 53-man regular-season roster, they will be an even bigger nationwide draw.
The NFL will announce on Wednesday just how much prime-time appeal the Jaguars will generate when the 2021 schedule is released.
Could the Jaguars be making an appearance on ESPN's Monday night schedule or NBC's Sunday night football telecast?
What's assured, though, is the Jaguars will be heading back to the United Kingdom for a game. League sources confirmed Tuesday that the Jaguars would be playing a home game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for this upcoming season, news that was first reported by The Athletic.
Difference maker:Jaguars already benefiting from impact of Trevor Lawrence
But if the United Kingdom's COVID-19 protocols change that would prohibit a full-capacity crowd, then in all likelihood the game would be switched to TIAA Bank Field.
With the owners approving a 17-game schedule last month, the Jaguars are still guaranteed an eight-game home schedule at TIAA Bank Field, regardless of the one home game played in London.
The Jaguars were initially scheduled to play two home games at Wembley Stadium last season before the NFL called off its annual International Series due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Jaguars had played a game in London every season since 2013 until last season. The Jaguars' contract with the NFL for the London games also expired in 2020.
Asked about the team's plans for London last month, Jaguars owner Shad Khan said he had nothing to announce.
“There’s no update. I think as soon as we have it, we’ll share with you,'' he said. ''I’m not even sure if there’ll be games [in London], but May 12 is the schedule [release day]. Hopefully, we’ll know a little bit before that.”
There's a strong likelihood the Jaguars' opponent for this year's game in England could be either Arizona, Denver, or Miami. Four of the Jaguars' last seven opponents in London have been AFC teams.
Who will the Jaguars play in the 2021 season?
Though the dates and times of all 17 games will be released for the upcoming Jaguars games will be released Wednesday night, their opponents have been known since early January.
The Jaguars' 2021 home opponents are Tennessee (11-5), Indianapolis (11-5), Houston (4-12), the Buffalo Bills (AFC East, 13-3), the Miami Dolphins (AFC East, 10-6), the Arizona Cardinals (NFC West, 8-8), the San Francisco 49ers (NFC West, 6-10) and the Denver Broncos (fourth place AFC West, 5-11).
The Jaguars road opponents are Tennessee, Indianapolis, Houston, the New England Patriots (AFC East, 7-9), the New York Jets (AFC East, 2-14), the Los Angeles Rams (NFC West, 10-6), the Seattle Seahawks (NFC West, 12-4), and the Cincinnati Bengals (fourth place AFC North, 4-11-1).
The Jaguars have not made an appearance on ESPN's Monday night schedule since two home games in 2011. They have not appeared on NBC's Sunday night telecast since October 2008 against Pittsburgh.
Coming off reaching the AFC title game in 2017, the Jaguars were originally scheduled to play host to Pittsburgh for a Sunday night game on NBC in 2018. But after the Jaguars went on a four-game losing streak, the game was flexed from the featured 8:20 p.m. slot to a regular 1 p.m. kickoff.
Despite coming off a 1-15 record last season, the Jaguars are experiencing nationwide appeal because of the interest generated after their selection of Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick. And more interest was generated when they reunited Lawrence with Etienne, who scored a touchdown in 46 of 55 games with Clemson before finishing his college career as the leading rusher in ACC history with 4,952 yards.
Lawrence, who went 34-2 as a three-year starter at Clemson, is the Jaguars' first legitimate franchise quarterback in 18 years since Mark Brunell led them to four consecutive playoff appearances.