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Strength of schedule 2018: Jaguars have it easier than you think

Divisional Round - Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The NFL has finally unveiled the full 2018 schedule, and we now know when the Jacksonville Jaguars play which teams.

We’ve already known for a while who the opponents are, and the Jaguars have some tough tests in 2018. Jacksonville faces the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles (in London), Super Bowl runner-up New England Patriots, and the always tough Pittsburgh Steelers in prime time. Overall, the Jags play six playoff teams from the 2017 season.

A lot has been made about Jacksonville’s chances to repeat as AFC South champions due to the quality of opponents and tougher schedule. While the schedule is actually tougher than the 2017 slate, it is not by much.

In fact, the Jaguars are tied for 25th in terms of strength of schedule. Jacksonville’s 2018 opponents have a combined record of 122-134 from the 2017 season, or a winning percentage of just .477.

The Denver Broncos, New York Jets and Steelers are all tied with Jacksonville in terms of strength of schedule. Only the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans have it easier. It’s only natural that two division rivals have the easier slates, I suppose. The Indianapolis Colts, who finished 4-12 last season, have the toughest slate out of AFC South teams (.484).

For comparison’s sake, The Jaguars were tied for 30th last season at .439. It is worth noting that no team’s opponent winning percentage is less than .453 for the 2018 season (Texans). So, while Jacksonville’s schedule has indeed gotten tougher, it is still near the bottom of the league in terms of difficulty.

Breaking down the schedule even further, Jacksonville is actually perfectly split in terms of playing against wining teams or playing against losing teams from 2017.

The Jaguars take on seven teams (eight times) who were above .500 last season: New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans (twice), Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills. The other eight games are against teams that were all below .500 last season: New York Giants, New York Jets, Houston Texans (twice), Indianapolis Colts (twice), Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins.

With all of this said, the NFL changes vastly from year-to-year. Records from the previous year don’t always translate to success or struggles the following year. In fact, eight of the 12 playoff teams from 2017 were not in the dance in 2016. Still, it’s interesting to look at and analyze.

Final note — the NFC North has a tough road ahead, with all of its teams in the top eight for strength of schedule. The Green Bay Packers have the toughest schedule in 2018, followed by my beloved Detroit Lions (second-toughest). The Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears are tied for eighth.

Which team are you most excited to see the Jaguars play this season? Also, drop your record predictions in the comments section.


Which team are you most looking forward to seeing the Jaguars take on in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    New York Giants
    (32 votes)
  • 55%
    New England Patriots
    (1053 votes)
  • 3%
    Tennessee Titans
    (62 votes)
  • 0%
    New York Jets
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    Kansas City Chiefs
    (21 votes)
  • 5%
    Dallas Cowboys
    (97 votes)
  • 1%
    Houston Texans
    (29 votes)
  • 13%
    Philadelphia Eagles
    (264 votes)
  • 0%
    Indianapolis Colts
    (5 votes)
  • 16%
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    (313 votes)
  • 0%
    Buffalo Bills
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    Washington Redskins
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    Miami Dolphins
    (13 votes)
1912 votes total Vote Now