The Jacksonville Jaguars in conjunction with the National Football League, released their 2016 schedule on Thursday night. With so much riding on this season — in all probability, including the jobs of head coach Gus Bradley and General Manager David Caldwell, the Jaguars need a turnaround type season. In order to make that happen, Jacksonville will have to come out of the gates swinging. Jacksonville will play host to Green Bay to start the schedule and will follow that up with a flight to the left coast, to take on the San Diego Chargers. They return home in week three to host Baltimore, before the long trek to London for their “home” game against Indianapolis, in week four. That means Jacksonville’s by week will come in week five, before visiting Chicago the following week.
Another trip to California looms in week seven, as the Jags’ visit Derek Carr and the much improved Oakland Raiders. Jacksonville’s only prime time game of the season comes on Thursday, Oct. 27 at Tennessee. The two squads squared off last season on Thursday night, with Jacksonville coming away with a 19-13 win. Kansas City and Houston, two more playoff teams in 2015 will be the Jaguars nemesis in weeks’ nine and 10 respectively. The Jaguars will travel to KC and host the first of two meetings against the Texans. The Detroit Lions will play host to the Jaguars in week 11, and should be well-adjusted to life without Calvin Johnson, by then.
In week 12, the Jaguars and Bills will do battle for the second year in a row. Last year’s game was won by the Jaguars, 34-31 in London, this year it will be in Buffalo. December gets off to a roaring start as Jacksonville travels to Denver to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos. The champs will have a decidedly different look with the loss of Peyton Manning (retirement) and Brock Osweiler, who signed with the Texans during free-agency. Denver is also missing key pieces on defense, including Malik Jackson, who signed with the Jaguars at the start of the free agency period.
The Jaguars will host the Vikings in week 14, before closing out the schedule with three AFC South division showdowns at Houston, home to Tennessee and closing out on the road against Indianapolis. This is the fifth-easiest schedule in the NFL, at least on paper, but it certainly doesn’t seem nearly that easy. The Jaguars toughest stretch comes after that Sept. 25 home game against Baltimore. They play just one game at EverBank Field in October and one in November. If they survive that nine week stretch, they may be in the conversation in January.