It might be far from a cakewalk, but the Jaguars' 2016 home schedule embraces one of the more noteworthy opponent lineups in recent history.
The Jaguars' schedule will gift local media with several attractive storylines in 2016, including:
- Aaron Rodgers and the powerhouse Green Bay Packers at the Bank
- The Vikings -- commanded by Blake Bortles' 2014 draft-nemesis Teddy Bridgewater -- facing off against the Jaguars in their first match-up in the Teddy/Blake era
- Former Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio returning to Jacksonville at the head of a revitalized Raiders squad
Perhaps the most stirring match-up, however, will be wrapped in a headline that hasn't been printed in almost nine years.
The Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl a week ago, which means that the Jaguars will host a Super Bowl champion for the first time since 2007.
2007 was the year that the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears and Peyton Manning snatched his first Lombardi Trophy. Being that the Colts are in the Jaguars' division, the Jags played the Colts in Jacksonville the following season.
This contest took place on Monday Night Football -- a game where David Garrard got injured and the Colts won 29-7. Indy improved to 6-0 that day, while the Jaguars fell to 4-2.
Now that Peyton Manning has once again gifted the Jaguars with an opportunity to host a reigning NFL champion, it feels funny knowing there's a strong chance that Manning won't be the one leading his team onto Everbank Field this fall. Manning will most likely announce his retirement at some point this offseason, which means the Jaguars will get a crack at the remodeled Super Bowl champions next season.
Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing how Jaguars tight-end Julius Thomas performs against his old squad, but we'll be waiting quite a while for football.
The other three 2016 home opponents are the Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, and Baltimore Ravens.