The Jaguars' surprising run to the top of the AFC South in 2022 netted them a slew of prime-time games this season, but the most notable wrinkle in Jacksonville's schedule ended up being a London double-dip.
Head coach Doug Pederson spoke Thursday about the opportunity to become the NFL's first team to play two London games in one season.
"It's a great opportunity for our organization," Pederson said on NFL Network's Schedule Release '23. "As you know, our owner Shad Khan really enjoys Europe and London. We have a great fan base over there. It's good for our team. It's good for our team to showcase themselves in the UK. We're excited."
The Jaguars have cultivated a budding fan base by playing in London more than anyone else since the NFL International Series launched in 2007. The club's Week 4 tilt against the Falcons at Wembley Stadium will be Jacksonville's 10th-ever game in the city, and Pederson and Co. will extend their trip by another week to square off against the Bills at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium seven days later.
While Atlanta will pose an important matchup to round out the Jags' first quarter of the season -- and Jacksonville will need to win both London games to nudge its current 4-5 record on British soil above .500 -- an intraconference affair with the Bills will take on extra importance as the squad attempts to prove last year wasn't simply a flash in the pan.
"We know Buffalo is tough," Pederson said. "They're one of the top AFC teams, and somebody that we look to. If we're gonna get to where we want to get to, Buffalo is one of those teams that we have to compete against."
Pederson also admitted that there's an added benefit to how the schedule laid things out.
"I'd rather play Buffalo in London than maybe in Buffalo at the end of the season," he said. "We're excited about this trip."
Perhaps catching the three-time reigning AFC East champions at Jacksonville's home away from home instead of icy Buffalo with Bills Mafia in full force will give the Jaguars the edge they need to show they have staying power.
With back-to-back international games as well as three prime-time showdowns on the slate, the 2023 Jaguars are suddenly back in the spotlight. They'll have their chance to make a statement to a national audience one way or the other.