The 2011 NFL Schedule was officially released last night. Before we let everyone ruin the excitement with the token "Will they actually play these games?" because of the current labor unrest, I wanted to take a look at the schedule a bit. One of the biggest things that stuck out to me was where the bye week falls on the calender. Right smack in the middle.
October 30, 2011 - Week Eight: @ Houston Texans at 1 PM
November 6, 2011 - Week Nine: Bye week
November 13, 2011 - Week Ten: @ Indianapolis Colts at 1 PM
November 20, 2011 - Week Eleven: @ Cleveland Browns at 1 PM
While the bye week does fall right at Week 9 of the 17 week season, it's also sandwiched between two AFC South games and amidst a 3-week road trip. Winning the games prior to the bye and after the bye could become critical when looking at the playoffs. The Jaguars split the games with both the Texans and the Colts last season, but they lost both road games. After the two straight road AFC South games, they travel to Cleveland to play the Browns.
Weeks 8-11 will be pivotal for the 2011 Jaguars season.