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2019 Strength of Schedule: Jaguars have third toughest slate in NFL

Based on 2018 records, the Jaguars have the third most difficult schedule in 2019

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have the third toughest schedule in 2019, according to CBS Sports’ strength of schedule rankings. This is based on opponents’ combined records from the 2018 season, which would be 136-120 (.531 winning percentage) for the 2019 foes. Only the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos — two teams the Jaguars will play on the road next season — have tougher slates.

Jacksonville finished in last place of the AFC South in 2018, which allows the Jags to play the basement dwellers from the other AFC divisions in 2019 — such as the New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals and of course, the Raiders — which helps. However, the Jaguars still have a seemingly daunting schedule next season having to play the rest of the AFC West and all of the NFC South, in addition to six divisional games.

Of course, basing strength of schedule on last year’s records isn’t a perfect science, as there will surely be plenty of parity between NFL teams in 2018 and 2019 (see the 2017 Jaguars versus the 2018 Jaguars). So while this seems like bad news for a team that has no idea who its starting quarterback will be come September, let’s take this with a grain of salt.

Looking at other AFC South teams, who will all play a similar schedule to the Jaguars, it’s not surprise that all of the teams are in the top-10 for the strength of schedule rankings. The Houston Texans check in at No. 4, the Indianapolis Colts are tied for seventh and the Tennessee Titans are ninth.

The Washington Redskins have the easiest road in 2019, with a combined opponents’ winning percentage of just .469. Five teams — including the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots — are tied for the second easiest schedule next season.

There are definitely some concerns with the 2019 schedule. The AFC South alone was a much improved division in 2018, having three teams finish with a winning record. Then the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers — two 12-4 teams last season — are coming to Duval. The New Orleans Saints, who were potentially one awful call away from Super Bowl LIII, will also visit TIAA Bank Field. Jacksonville also has been historically awful out West, and, as aforementioned, has to travel to Oakland and Denver. Playing the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers on the road may not be easy feats, either.

It’s too early to be making win and loss predictions — free agency has not even happened yet, let alone the draft or any trades. But Jacksonville definitely has a tough road ahead. There is plenty of work to do if it plans to turn things around for this coming campaign.