The 2017 season is drawing near in the NFL. With that, it’s time to take a look at how the season will shake out for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
August is here and training camps are in full swing around the NFL. All 32 teams have begun their quest to be the last team standing in February. As the Jacksonville Jaguars prepare to begin their preseason slate, we predict how they will fare in the regular season in 2017 in a four-part series, in which we break down and analyze every four game stretch for the team. So let us begin with the opening four weeks of the year.
Week One: @ Houston Texans
Jacksonville hasn’t won a season opener since 2011. Breaking that streak this season is no easy feat as the Jaguars travel to Houston to take on the defending division champion Texans. This will be the first official look at first round pick Leonard Fournette, and expect for the Jaguars to give him many opportunities to make big plays. Houston will presumably be starting an important rookie of their own in quarterback Deshaun Watson, so getting pressure on him early and often will be key. This game will stay close throughout, and Fournette and the offense will make plays, but the Jaguars fall just short in the opener.
Score: Houston 23-20
Week Two: Tennessee Titans
The first home game of the season is the second of back-to-back division games to start the year. Falling to 0-2 both overall and in the division would be a huge hole for the Jaguars to have to climb out, making this game as much of a must win as a week two game can get. Jacksonville handled the Titans at home last season in the first game in which Doug Marrone stepped in as head coach following the firing of Gus Bradley. Tennessee is a talented team with a budding star in quarterback Marcus Mariota, and expect them to compete for the division title. This game will be closer than the aforementioned matchup in Everbank Field last December, but the Jaguars defense full of star caliber players will have a huge day and Jacksonville wins an important game in the division.
Score: Jacksonville 17-13
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Week Three: Baltimore (in London)
In the midst of multiple disappointing seasons, the Jaguars have still put together two wins in a row in London. This year’s opponent is the Baltimore Ravens, a team with a few question marks of its own. The Ravens edged out the Jaguars last season in a sloppy 19-17 contest. Expect a cleaner game this season, but another tight finish. This will be the first game of the year that Blake Bortles throws multiple touchdowns, but the Ravens get a touchdown late to take another hard fought win against the Jaguars.
Score: Baltimore 27-24
Week Four: @ New York Jets
The Jaguars go from London to New Jersey to play the Jets, and without a bye after the London game for the first time, which will be a challenge. But the New York Jets are a team with one of the weakest rosters in the league, and will experience a rough journey in 2017. If the Jaguars want to make a run this season, this is a game they absolutely cannot let get away from them. Jacksonville’s stout defense should contain a sub-par Jets offense, and the Jaguars offense will control possession and make enough plays to put the game away.
Score: Jacksonville 27-13
Analysis After The First Four Weeks:
2-2 at the quarter pole of the season would be the strongest start to a season that Jacksonville has had since 2010. The way the first four weeks are set up the team could find itself at 3-1, but even at 2-2 the door opens for the Jaguars to make a push with the majority of home games still left to be played. After the underwhelming performances of seasons past, 2-2 would be a breath of fresh air in Jacksonville.