Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback Trevor Lawrence to Miss Week 17

The future of the AFC South just got a whole lot murkier. The Jacksonville Jaguars officially declared franchise quarterback and 2021 first-overall pick Trevor Lawrence out with a right shoulder injury for this Sunday's showdown with the Carolina Panthers.

It's been a rough few weeks for Lawrence. The one-time Pro Bowler suffered his shoulder injury after 45 snaps in the Jaguars' 30-12 blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16. He was considered questionable entering that game due to a concussion suffered in Week 15's 23-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, a game in which he was hobbled by a high-ankle sprain suffered in a Week 13 34-31 overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Over four consecutive losses, Lawrence has thrown five interceptions and fumbled five times.

C.J. Beathard is expected to play in place of Lawrence. The veteran backup has been adequate in relief all season, completing 23 of 29 passes for 171 yards. He has yet to throw an interception or lose a fumble this year.

Thankfully for the Jaguars, the schedule favors them in the coming weeks. At 8-7, they remain at the top of the AFC South despite being tied with the Houston Texans (8-7) and Indianapolis Colts (8-7). With games still to come against the 2-13 Panthers and 5-10 Tennessee Titans, the Jaguars should still be favorites to win the division, even without Lawrence.

Whether or not the Jaguars can make any noise this postseason is a whole other question. Lawrence has taken a significant step back following a Pro Bowl appearance in 2022; his interception rate is up from 1.4% to 2.3%, his net yards per passing attempt are down from 6.43 to 6.31, and he has matched his 12 total fumbles from last year on 120 fewer snaps. Unless Lawrence or the talent around him can drastically improve, the Jaguars aren't going anywhere anytime soon. 

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