The Jacksonville Jaguars have a tough road ahead of them in their 2013 schedule. While the team is rebuilding, they get no breaks and will have a tough road to get anywhere near .500 if that is even their goal. New head coach Gus Bradley is preaching competition and just getting better so any development is good development for the Jaguars but it would be nice to see the Jags be in some more competitive games.
The most winnable games of this season appear to be in weeks 2 (@ Oakland Raiders), 13 (@ Cleveland Browns), and 15 (vs Buffalo Bills). The Jags have a deceptively tough week one matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have taken steps to get better this offseason after having a handful of Pro Bowl players in 2012. Don’t confuse that as an easy one. Right now the Raiders still look like they are floundering and the Browns, while looking better than in years past, are in the beginning of a major rebuild as well. The Bills should be a tougher game than those two but if they still haven’t found a way to maximize their defensive talent and offensive skill players then the Jags should have a real shot against them.
The division games are always a toss up. While the Jags are certainly not a division powerhouse right now, there’s always the chance to beat a division rival. The power of heated rivalries and passion should never be overlooked. The Colts (weeks 4 & 17) and Titans (weeks 10 & 16) may both be vulnerable to the Jaguars. I don’t know if the Jags will be good enough to topple the Texans so I’m not looking at that as a possibility this season. The Colts may be too developed in Chuck Pagano’s second year, but if Maurice Jones-Drew can continue his history of running over Indy then I still see it as a possibility.
The toughest games for the Jaguars will be weeks 4 (@ Seattle Seahawks), 6 (@ Denver Broncos), and week 8 (vs San Francisco 49ers in London). All three of those teams look to be major powerhouses in the 2013 season and the Jags will have a tough time keeping up with them. Having them all in the earlier half of the season could be good for the Jaguars so late season development isn’t overlooked by potential decimation at the hands of juggernaut teams.
Overall, the Jaguars have the toughest schedule in the AFC South based on 2012 record. The NFL isn’t letting the Jaguars get back on their feet in 2012, at least not schedule-wise. It’s a pretty balanced schedule based on how the games are laid out but early beat-downs may demoralize the Jags before the real development occurs later in the season.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims