2016 Jacksonville Jaguars game-by-game predictions

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in February that a winning record is a reasonable expectation for the 2016 season. The Jaguars should have a chance to do that, provided they can survive a tough start and a three-week December stretch against 2015 playoff teams. There are still too many questions on defense -- edge rusher and linebacker top the list -- to think the Jaguars will get it done at this point. The draft will obviously have an impact, but until then, the prediction finish is 7-9.

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 11 vs. Green Bay, 1 p.m. ET

This will be the Packers’ first trip to EverBank Field since 2008. This Packers offense is a lot better than the one QB Aaron Rodgers brought that day. Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are one of the league’s top receiver duos. If the Jaguars are truly better in the secondary and at rushing the passer, they have a chance in this game because the Packers are vulnerable defensively. Record: 0-1

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 18 at San Diego, 4:25 p.m. ET

Philip Rivers owns the Jaguars. He is 5-1 and has thrown for 1,899 yards with 15 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Plus, the Jaguars are 0-3 in San Diego and have been outscored 105-48 in those games. Record: 0-2

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 25 vs. Baltimore, 1 p.m. ET

The past three meetings between the teams have been decided by single digits, including last year’s 22-20 Jaguars victory in Baltimore. Jason Myers likely saved his job that day with a 53-yard game-winner with no time on the clock. Record: 1-2

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 2 vs. Indianapolis in London, 9:30 a.m. ET

This will be the first time the Jaguars have played a divisional foe in Wembley Stadium. It’s also the first time the Jaguars will have seen Andrew Luck since Dec. 18, 2004. He missed both games against the Jaguars last season but is 5-1 against them in his career. The Jaguars haven’t beaten Luck since Week 3 in 2012, but they should have the advantage this week because of their experience playing in London the past three years. Record: 2-2

Week 5: Bye

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16 at Chicago, 1 p.m. ET

As nice a player as Jeremy Langford appears to be, the Bears are really going to miss Matt Forte. His contribution in the passing game (487 catches) can’t be easily replaced, and that will certainly have an impact on QB Jay Cutler, who has won just 16 games as a starter the past three seasons. Record: 3-2

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23 vs. Oakland, 1 p.m. ET

The Raiders were fantastic in free agency, and they will contend for the AFC West crown. However, the home team is 5-2 in this series, and the most recent time the road team won was 2004. Could this be the start of a rivalry between Blake Bortles and Derek Carr, the top two quarterbacks from the 2014 draft? Record: 4-2

Week 8: Thursday, Oct. 27 at Tennessee, 8:25 p.m. ET

The Jaguars have beaten the Titans on Thursday in each of the past two seasons. In fact, head coach Gus Bradley is undefeated on Thursday (3-0), which accounts for a quarter of his 12 victories with the Jaguars. Record: 4-3

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 6 at Kansas City, 1 p.m. ET

The Chiefs had the fourth-most sacks in the NFL last season (47), and they have the second most in the past three seasons (140). However, Justin Houston is coming off ACL and LCL surgery. Still, Kansas City will one of four top-10 defenses from 2015 that the Jaguars will face this season. Record: 4-4

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 13 vs. Houston, 1 p.m. ET

The Jaguars were blown out by the Texans in both meetings last year. The first time, it was because CB Davon House had several fourth-quarter lapses against WR DeAndre Hopkins, and the second time, the Texans rolled up eight sacks. However, is anyone really sold on Brock Osweiler? Until he proves himself a capable starter, the Texans are a .500 team. Record: 5-4

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 20 at Detroit, 1 p.m. ET

The past two games between these teams in Detroit were decided by a combined 68 points, which included a 44-0 Lions victory in the Jaguars’ inaugural season. How does Matthew Stafford handle not having Calvin Johnson? Golden Tate caught 90 passes last season, and the Lions have added Marvin Jones (65 catches in Cincinnati in 2015), but neither is a game-breaker. Record: 5-5

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 27 at Buffalo, 1 p.m. ET

This is a rematch of the Jaguars’ best victory of 2015, in which they blew a 24-point lead but came back to win on Bortles' 31-yard touchdown pass to Allen Hurns with 2:16 to play. Is anyone completely convinced that QB Tyrod Taylor is the Bills’ franchise quarterback? Record: 6-5

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4 vs. Denver, 1 p.m. ET

It doesn’t really matter who is quarterbacking the Broncos in this matchup because their defense -- even with the losses of DT Malik Jackson (now with the Jaguars) and LB Danny Trevathan -- will be one of the league’s best. If the Jaguars’ offensive line isn’t any better, this will be another big day for Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Record: 6-6

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11 vs. Minnesota, 1 p.m. ET

At some point, Teddy Bridgewater has to become more than just a game manager. This should be the year. He has started 28 games but thrown just 28 touchdown passes. The Vikings need to turn him loose. Record: 6-7

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 18 at Houston, 1 p.m. ET

This is the first game of a critical three-week stretch against AFC South opponents. If the Jaguars are going to make a late push in the division, they’ll have to figure out a way stop J.J. Watt, who has 14.5 sacks and nine batted passes in 10 games against the Jaguars. He has had 3.0 sacks in three of his past four games against the Jaguars entering this season. Record: 6-8

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 24 vs. Tennessee, 1 p.m. ET

These teams have split the season series every year since 2008, and one team has swept the series just six times since 1995. The two games in 2015 were decided by a combined nine points, including a three-point Titans victory in Nashville, in which QB Marcus Mariota threw for 268 yards and three TDs and ran for 112 yards and another TD. Record: 7-8

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1 at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. ET

If the AFC South is as competitive as many think it will be, this could be a win-and-get-in game for the Jaguars. Facing Luck in that scenario is not ideal. Record: 7-9