Why travel distance won't affect the Jaguars chances of winning in 2023

When the NFL schedule is released, a lot is made about the distance that teams travel during the season but it shouldn't be a cause for concern for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Denver Broncos v Jacksonville Jaguars
Denver Broncos v Jacksonville Jaguars / Dan Mullan/GettyImages

In the 2022 season, the Jacksonville Jaguars were the third most-traveled team, covering 25,534 miles and 22 different time zones, due to the AFC West schedule and, of course, the annual London trip.

In the end, the Jaguars won as many games as the seven-most traveled teams last year with the 49ers (13-4-0) and the Giants (9-7-1) the only teams in the top 10 with a better record:

Based on the 2022 regular season data, there is essentially no correlation between the distance a team travels and their winning percentage. Similarly, there is no significant correlation between time zones covered and winning percentage.

Expect the Jaguars to win in 2023 despite the distance they'll travel

For 2023, the Jaguars will rank 20th in distance traveled due, in part, to the back-to-back London games. While the reduced travel will be better for the players and traveling fans and family, don’t expect it to affect the record too much.

Instead, rest disparity is a newer metric that has caught on as a more-predictive indicator of success. Rest disparity is defined as the total difference in the number of days between games compared to your opponent with the positive number meaning a larger disparity in your favor.

For example, when the Jaguars play the Chiefs in Week 2, the Jaguars will have 6 days of rest (we play the preceding Sunday) while the Chiefs have 9 days of rest (they play the opening Thursday). This gives the Jaguars a -3 rest disparity for that week. Over the course of the season, the Jags are tied for 18th best rest disparity with a net -1 days:

While Jacksonville losses three days of rest against the Chiefs as mentioned above, they gain three against the Steelers coming off the Thursday Night bout versus the Saints. The only other disparity comes from losing one day to the Browns because of the Bengals' Monday Night game:

So, while the Jaguars do not have much to worry about on the season-long timeline, rest disparity will not help the Jags in an already-tough matchup against the Chiefs. However, with the added days ahead of the trip to Pittsburgh, combined with a looming bye week, this will help close out the first half of the season.

Do you have any questions on the data or anything else you would like to see in these articles going forward? Post your comment below or feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @DuvalAndrew904.

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