By Kevin McGuire

Philadelphia Eagles fans have waited patiently (well, maybe not) for this moment. The 2014 season kicks off Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field with great expectations for the new season as defending NFC East champions. It all gets started against one of the teams looking to work its way back up the pecking order of the AFC South, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Season Record

The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off a dismal 2013 season, going just 4-12 a year after winning two games. At least the Jaguars are going in the right direction. In the preseason the Jaguars struggled to pick up wins (or points) as well, going 1-3 and averaging 15.3 points per game.

The Eagles have struggled with the Jaguars in the all-time series. The Jaguars own a 3-1 series edge. The Eagles won the most recent meeting in the series, winning 28-3 in 2010.

Jaguars on Offense

In the NFL Draft the Jaguars made a push to pick the right ingredients for years of future success on offense. The team drafted potential franchise quarterback Blake Bortles out of UCF and added receivers Marqise Lee (USC) and Allen Robinson (Penn State) along with another UCF Knight, running back Storm Johnson. Jacksonville also added Toby Gerhart in free agency, although replacing Maurice Jones-Drew is no simple task. The offensive line has also been revamped with the drafting of Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and the signing of Zane Beadles. It is going to take time for Jacksonville’s offense to grow and mature together, which may be good news for the Eagles this weekend. Bortles may be used at some point, but Chad Henne is the likely starter at quarterback.

Jaguars on Defense

One of the goals of Jacksonville this offseason was to improve the pass rush up front, which was virtually non-existent in 2013. The additions of Chris Clemons and Red Bryant should help. With Gus Bradley as head coach, it should be a work in progress on defense that will improve along the way. Many local fans will be familiar with another piece of the Jacksonville defense, with former Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny anchoring the middle of the defense. Posluszny has a knack for being around the football, no matter where it goes on the field, and he can be a solid tackler.

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Jaguars Players to Watch

Quarterback, Blake Bortles: The calls for giving the rookie quarterback playing time may not take long to be received. Giving the rookie quarterback playing time early on may prove to be valuable in the long term.

Defensive End, Chris Clemons: If the Eagles are going to get the offense going, holding off Chris Clemons on the edge will be key. The Eagles will already be moving pieces around on the offensive line, so there is already a mild concern on the line.

Outlook

The Eagles look to be the clear favorite this weekend against the Jaguars, but the Eagles have not quite earned the respect enough to have any game on the schedule as a guaranteed win. The Eagles have the experience on offense, and the Eagles defense may be facing Jacksonville at a good time. The Jaguars struggled to do much of anything on offense in the preseason, and that should prove to be the case early on this season. Watch for a quarterback change for Jacksonville at some point though if Chad Henne gets the start, and see how different the Jaguars offense looks once Bortles makes his NFL debut.

The Eagles have struggled with the Jaguars in the all-time series. The Jaguars own a 3-1 series edge. The Eagles won the most recent meeting in the series, winning 28-3 in 2010.

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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.