Monday, February 10, 2014
Strength of schedule: Jacksonville Jaguars
By Michael DiRocco
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There's at least one ingredient in place to help the Jacksonville Jaguars make significant strides in 2014: They have one of the NFL's easiest schedules.
The combined record of the Jaguars' opponents is 116-140 (.453), which ranks 29th among the 32 teams. Only Houston (.441), Tennessee (.438) and Indianapolis (.430) have easier schedules. It should be no surprise that the teams with the easiest schedules come from the AFC South, because of the poor seasons the Texans (2-14) and Jaguars (4-12) had in 2013.
The Jaguars will face three teams that finished the 2013 regular season with double-digit victories (Indianapolis twice, Cincinnati and Philadelphia) and will face three teams that finished with double-digit losses (Houston twice, Cleveland and Washington). They also will face four teams that made the playoffs in 2013: Indianapolis (twice), San Diego, Cincinnati and Philadelphia. Only one of those games is at home (Indianapolis).
The Jaguars have the second-easiest home schedule in the league. Their eight opponents -- Indianapolis, Tennessee, Houston, Miami, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dallas (in London) and the New York Giants -- went a combined 55-73 (.430) last season.
It's a tougher task on the road, because the eight opponents -- the division teams plus San Diego, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Washington -- went a combined 61-67 (.477) in 2013. That ranks 20th.
The schedule should make it easier for the Jaguars to threaten the .500 mark in 2014, which is a reasonable goal considering the way the team played in the second half of 2013. After going 0-8 and losing every game by double digits, the Jaguars went 4-4 in the final eight games.