This NFL offseason has now carried us more than halfway through July, which means a few things:
We’re just couple weeks away from National Chicken Wing day. We’re also that much closer to August, which means another dramatic season of Bachelor in Paradise is right around the corner (I’ll be watching).
It also means that football season is approaching pretty damn quickly. And while I don’t think anyone will be caught off-guard by its arrival, it’s exciting to point out that it's not long before we can talk about real football activities under real football circumstances.
And that is a much more exciting event to look forward to than watching ABC to find out if Claire finally finds her soul mate.
If we focus on just the first six games of the Jaguars’ 2015 schedule, it’s not unreasonable to forecast three wins. Usually, I don’t like predicting win totals. It’s an unforgiving, icy terrain that usually leads to over-examination and disappointment.
This year, however, the first six games seem to be set up in an profitable pattern that could set the tone for the Jags’ entire season. If the Jaguars find a way to acquire a 3-3 record moving into their bye week, their momentum could carry them to a very respectable record by the end of the year.
The Jaguars kick off the season at home vs. the Panthers, and then remain in Jacksonville for their second game against the Dolphins. These will be the most pivotal games of the beginning six week stretch.
The Jaguars have struggled to find consistent success at home over the past few seasons, but it’s not unreasonable to expect the team to win one of their first two home games this season. If they can somehow manage to defeat both Carolina and Miami, the 2-0 start could go a very long way to establishing bigger goals for the rest of the season.
Regardless, it’s important to be riding on some kind of success as the Jaguars move into Week 3, because it will be very difficult to defeat the New England Patriots at home without some kind of momentum to tap in to.
The New England game will be the first in a 3-game road stretch that carries the Jaguars through Indianapolis to face the Colts, then closer to home to face the Buccaneers. The Pats and Colts will be tough opponents to match up with on the road, but defeating the Buccaneers in Tampa is far from an unmanageable task.
With any luck, the Jaguars will be 2-3 moving into their sixth game of the season.
Returning home to face the Houston Texans Week 6 will be a opportune challenge for the Jaguars. After spending three straight weeks on the road, Everbank will welcome the team back for an important match-up before the Jags are shipped to London in the following week.
Taking care of the Texans at home will be essential if the Jaguars want to secure some kind of push as they move into London. The U.K. has been an unforgiving environment for the Jaguars thus far, but establishing a decent amount of wins beforehand could provide a platform on which the team can finally take that step overseas.
A loss to the Texans in Week 6, however, would likely launch a very long week with more focus on travel than confidence.
The first six weeks of the Jaguars season set the stage for 2015. Expectations aren’t necessarily sky-high, but the team has to be better. If the Jaguars can flip the script in 2015 and get the engine going early in the season, the latter part of the season will seem like less of a beast to tame.
A lot of this potential success will ride on Blake Bortles taking a step, the defense maintaining dominance, and working to establish a run game early in the season.
Just three wins in the first six games is not a lot to ask for. This season, it’s not unrealistic, either.