The Jacksonville Jaguars have a very favorable schedule to open the 2017 season.
The 2017 schedule is set up very well for the Jacksonville Jaguars to make a push for the playoffs but only if they can start strong. The opening four games for the Jaguars are absolutely critical, they face four opponents who had a combined record of 31-33 in 2016, with only two of the teams posting a winning record.
The Jaguars open the season on the road against the Houston Texans. The Texans should once again have one of the top defenses in the league, but the question remains the same in Houston, who will be the starting quarterback? We should find out in less than a week as the NFL draft quickly approaches. The Jaguars have not beaten the Texans since Bill O’Brien took over as head coach, but they were very close to beating the Texans in 2016. Further improvements on defense and what should be improved quarterback play from Blake Bortles could be enough to steal a win on the road in week one. If they can get a win in Houston it really sets up the Jaguars for success in the coming weeks.
In week two the Jaguars will return home to face the Tennessee Titans. Jacksonville dismantled the Titans 38-17 the last time the two teams faced. The Jaguars should be able to get another win here and have a chance to start the season 2-0 while defeating two division opponents.
In week three the Jaguars will travel for their annual game in London, this year the London game will be against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have one of the best coaches in the NFL in John Harbaugh, and are always tough to beat. The Jaguars must find a way to win this game against the Ravens or they must beat the Texans in week 1. If the Jags drop both of these games it could be another long season in Jacksonville.
Week four is on the road against the New York Jets, this was smart of the Jaguars to schedule the Jets after playing in London the previous week as they get the shortest flight possible coming back across the pond. This is another game the Jaguars should win as the Jets have questions all across their roster and have not yet announced their starting quarterback. The Jets finished 5-11 in 2016 and did not do much to improve their roster in free agency. I expect the Jags to win this game.
If the Jaguars can escape the first quarter of the season at 3-1 things will be looking good for them as they head into the middle of their schedule. If the Jaguars are 2-2 or worse after the first quarter of the season, the Jaguars could be playing meaningless football by November once again. Starting fast is an absolute must this year.