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2017 NFL Schedule: Jaguars season could be decided in first 5 games

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL releasing the full 2017 schedule on Thursday evening, fans around the league have been giving their way too early game-by-game predictions, including Big Cat Country's very own Ryan Day. I'm not going to make my predictions until we're into the preseason, but one thing did stick out to me about the Jacksonville Jaguars 2017 NFL schedule I think merits discussion, even before the NFL Draft rolls around.

The first five games of the season could very well determine the entire year.

Sure, that sounds ridiculous but look at this scheduled:

Week 1: at Houston Texans
Week 2: vs. Tennessee Titans
Week 3: vs. Baltimore Ravens (London)
Week 4: at New York Jets
Week 5: at Pittsburgh Steelers

I could see the Jaguars being 3-2 after that stretch, but they could just as easily be 1-4.

The big thing here is the Jaguars have three road games to open the season, including what essentially amounts to back-to-back-to-back road games because of the London trip. Sure, it's technically a home game, but the team is still traveling back from that game and then hitting the road once again, meaning it's a short week. Hitting the Steelers on the end of that road trip, in Pittsburgh, is a daunting task.

The Texans have owned the Jaguars, mostly Gus Bradley, for the past few seasons no matter who the quarterback is. They lost to both Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage last season, so right now it's hard to see them beating the Texans, no matter what happens in the draft, especially on the road.

The biggest thing however, is that the Jaguars have been absolutely terrible on the road the past four years, especially under quarterback Blake Bortles. He's won just two road games in his entire career.



Obviously the team is relying a lot on Blake Bortles for the 2017 season, but they're going to almost need him to make a total transformation as a player on the road to overcome the start of the season. If they can't win any of those road games, and I don't care how bad we/you/I think the New York Jets are, it's still a road game, and we have seen this team under Blake Bortles absolutely throw some games they should have won.

I don't mean to be fatalistic, but when I first took a look at the schedule my first thought was that those first five games could make or break the season. You can come back from a 2-3 start, but if they end up somehow falling to 1-4 to start the year, it's over.

Do I think that's what happens? I don't know yet. Let's see what they do in the NFL Draft.