The myth of the Jaguars tough 2010 schedule

There has been a lot made of the Jaguars schedule for the 2010 season. NFL.com has the team's schedule ranked as the 5th toughest in the NFL. The Jaguars will have to once go out West and take on the Chargers in Week 2. Not to mention the Jaguars trade the NFC West for the NFC East this year, and you can see why many are saying that it would be an accomplishment for the Jaguars to stay at their 7-9 mark, let alone improve.

However, is this really such as difficult of a schedule as everyone is making it out to be? Or, is this that much more of a difficult schedule than the one the Jaguars faced last year?

While much has been made of the switch from the NFC West to the NFC East, the Jaguars also get a break by switching from the AFC East to the AFC West. When looking at the overall switch, the Jaguars non-divisional schedule looks much the same as it did last year, from a competitiveness perspective.

2009 2010
New England Dallas Cowboys
New York Jets New York Giants
Miami Dolphins Washington Redskins
Buffalo Bills Philadelphia Eagles
Arizona Cardinals San Diego Chargers
Seattle Seahawks Denver Broncos
San Fransico 49ers
Kansas City Chiefs
Overall 2009 Record
Overall  2009 Record
56-72
64-64

While it appears the Jaguars will be getting a much tougher out of divisional schedule than in 2010, it doesn't factor in several major developments. Among them include the Eagles, an 11 win team in 2009, dumping Donovan McNabb in favor of going young at the position with Kevin Kolb.

The Jaguars will face the Eagles in Week 3 of the regular season, when Kolb will still be getting a feel for being the full time starter. In addition, the Jaguars only have to make one trip out West (aka one guaranteed loss) rather than two.

Not to mention, the Jaguars' division plays a large role in the perceived "Toughness" of their schedule. The Jaguars finished 4th in the AFC South with a 7-9 record, a record that would've put them between 2nd and 3rd in every other division in the NFL. The combined record of the Colts, Titans, and Texans, which the Jaguars will have to play twice, weighs heavily on those rankings. There is a reason why the other AFC South teams' schedules are right up with the Jaguars in toughness.

Overall, it's simply how things are done in the NFL. You can't schedule NW Missouri Valley Tech for your opener, and then The School of Blind Nurses prior to playing your big rival. You deal with what you have, just like every other team.

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