The 2015 Jacksonville Jaguars schedule was just released and while it features a low strength of schedule (partly because they play the rest of the AFC South and all of the NFC South), the team certainly isn’t set up for a hot start.
In the first five weeks, the Jaguars take on the Carolina Panthers (2014 playoff team), Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots (Super Bowl Champions), Indianapolis Colts (2014 playoff team, AFC South division champion), and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
I tack on the Bucs purely because it seems like the only really winnable game of them all. Still three of the five are on the road.
I’m not saying that the Jaguars aren’t going to beat the Panthers or Dolphins (they played the latter quite close last season) but the Panthers are better than people gave them credit for last year and the Dolphins are continuing to trend upward. Both games are more of a toss up leaning toward the opponent than they are 50-50. The Pats and Colts look to be formidable yet again and don’t expect Bill Belichick and Chuck Pagano to take it easy on a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs in almost a decade. They’ll take the easy win and they’ll dominate.
0-4 to start the season (again) is a real possibility based on the 2015 Jacksonville Jaguars schedule.
It doesn’t mean the season is over, however.
While the Tampa Bay game looks like a legitimately winnable game sandwiched by tough games (the Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills follow that game), the Jaguars may have a strong second half to the season.
The games against the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans (twice in three weeks) are very winnable, allowing the Jags to go maybe 3-2 after the bye with possible losses to the Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers thrown in. Tack on a week 15 game against the Atlanta Falcons and the Jags could have four wins in the latter half of the season.
The problem here is that those four wins to end the season still only bring the Jags up to 5-11. Is that improvement? Sure. But we better start hoping that the Jags win another division game or two against the Colts and Texans because 5-11 simply isn’t that great. This young team will have to rally after a rough start.
Hopefully I’m wrong and things start off smoothly, though. It’s possible they could win two of their first four, plus the Tampa Bay game, bringing them up to 7-9 and the New Orleans Saints don’t look like title contenders anymore so the week 16 matchup against them may bring the team to 8-8. Optimism will build as we get nearer the season. For now, that start to the 2015 Jacksonville Jaguars schedule looks daunting.
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