In analyzing the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL schedule for 2018, two observations come to mind.
The five home games in the first games are a blessing. The remaining schedule may be tougher on the road for this franchise. It’s hard to predict exactly how the season will turn out, given the NFL Draft hasn’t taken place and injuries always play a part in how teams perform.
Last season, the Jaguars surprised everyone with a 10-6 record. This year, the team could be better on offense, continue to play stingy defense and the record could be worse. Those are the breaks in a 16-game season. The AFC South could be the most improved division in football this season. Every team make considerable moves to better themselves.
“The Jaguars get a lot of home games early and a lot of road games late, but if they can manage a tough start they’ll give themselves a good chance to repeat as AFC South champs,” writes Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. “After opening on the road against the New York Giants the Jaguars play three consecutive home games, including games against 2017 playoff teams the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans in back-to-back weeks. Two weeks later they’re at the Kansas City Chiefs, which means the Jaguars will play three playoff teams in a four-week stretch. The Jaguars do that again in November and early December: back-to-back games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills and get Tennessee two weeks after that.”
See what happens when you finish first in your division? The games get harder, the demand to win gets greater. The Jaguars opponents get better. It’s the price the organization does not mind paying for success. Success is a word hardly used in a decade in this city. Now, it’s a word people don’t want to let slip away from their vocabulary.
Also, with success comes reward. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns were the only two teams last season to not play a primetime game. That changes with two games on the schedule this season. As DiRocco points out, “Surprisingly, one isn’t the title-game rematch with the Patriots. It’s Pittsburgh at home on Nov. 18 — the Jaguars’ first Sunday night game since 2008 — and on the road in Tennessee on Thursday, Dec. 6. The Jaguars are 5-2 in prime-time games against the Steelers, though they lost the last matchup on Oct. 5, 2008. The Jaguars’ 36-22 loss at Tennessee on Oct. 27, 2016 (also a Thursday night) was the last time the Jaguars appeared in prime time.”
And just so everyone knows, gone are the awful mustard color uniforms that made us all want to run from the television screen. The Jacksonville Jaguars will wear all teal for that game this season. To see the entire 2018 season schedule for the Jaguars, click here.