With Mini-Camps and OTAs coming to a close, it’s as good a time as any to look ahead towards the 2013 season and how difficult the Jaguars’ schedule appears to be. Remember, “strength of schedule” doesn’t mean much before the season begins due to a number of factors. Strength of schedule is entirely constructed from past performance, i.e. 2012 win-loss record. In reality, judging the relative difficulty of a team’s upcoming schedule is mostly subjective. You take a look at who the opponents are and analyze additions, subtractions, and major changes from the previous season.
My favorite item to analyze when looking over a schedule is the quarterbacks. In general, the more difficult games on the schedule are those in which you play elite quarterbacks. Everyone in the NFC South has a really tough schedule – the quarterbacks in the division are Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Josh Freeman. You have two elite veteran quarterbacks, an up-and-coming star in Cam Newton, and a young wild card in Josh Freeman.
With that in mind, let’s dissect the Jaguars’ 2013 schedule and the quarterbacks they face.
|1||Sept. 8||vs. Kansas City Chiefs||No|
|2||Sept.15||at Oakland Raiders||No|
|3||Sept. 22||at Seattle Seahawks||Yes|
|4||Sept. 29||vs. Indianapolis Colts||Yes|
|5||Oct. 6||at St. Louis Rams||No|
|6||Oct. 13||at Denver Broncos||Yes|
|7||Oct. 20||vs. San Diego Chargers||Maybe|
|8||Oct. 27||vs. San Francisco 49ers||Yes|
|10||Nov. 10||at Tennessee Titans||No|
|11||Nov. 17||vs. Arizona Cardinals||No|
|12||Nov. 24||at Houston Texans||No|
|13||Dec. 1||at Cleveland Browns||No|
|14||Dec. 5||vs. Houston Texans||No|
|15||Dec. 15||vs. Buffalo Bills||No|
|16||Dec. 22||vs. Tennessee Titans||No|
|17||Dec. 29||at Indianapolis Colts||Yes|
A few things: no I do not think Matt Schaub is an elite quarterback. I also am skeptical about which way the arrow is pointing on Philip Rivers. Two years ago it wouldn’t even be a discussion, but after two consecutive years with a passer rating less than 90 and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 1.5, Philip Rivers can’t automatically be part of the elite quarterback discussion.
A look at the second half of the schedule is rather encouraging; the Jaguars only play one elite quarterback after the bye (Andrew Luck). This means the Jags have a good chance to close the season strong and gain some momentum going into 2014. Of course there are a million other factors (like who will be playing quarterback for the Jaguars), but at least Jacksonville won’t be facing a ton of pro bowl quarterbacks during the final stretch of the season.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89