Even before they head to London for the first time in franchise history, the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to be logging a lot of air miles.
Not only will four of their first six games be on the road, but they’re against teams from the AFC West (Oakland, Denver) and NFC West (Seattle, St. Louis). By the time of the Jaguars’ Week 8 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium, they’ll be ready for their bye the first weekend of November.
They will open at home Sept. 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs in a meeting of the teams with the top two picks in next week’s draft. The December portion of the schedule features three consecutive home games, highlighted by a Thursday night contest Dec. 5 against the Houston Texans. Other than that, all home games will kick off at 1 p.m.
Week 1: vs. Kansas City (2-14), Sunday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m.
After 14 seasons in Philadelphia, Andy Reid was hired to coach the Chiefs in the wake of a season that was a total disaster for them. Unlike the Jaguars, the Chiefs went shopping for a proven veteran quarterback and found one in Alex Smith, who was San Francisco’s starter to begin last season.
All-time series record: Jaguars lead 6-3. The Jaguars hold a 4-1 edge at home. Last meeting: Chiefs 42, Jaguars 20 (at Kansas City, Oct. 24, 2010)
Week 2: at Oakland (4-12), Sunday, Sept. 15, 4:25 p.m.
Matt Flynn, who seemed headed from Seattle to Jacksonville at one point, comes to a once-storied franchise where the term Black Hole can now describe where the careers of quarterbacks go. It will be hard for anyone in Raider Nation to get worked up over the signings of cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins.
All-time series record: Jaguars lead 4-2. Series is tied 2-2 at Oakland. Last meeting: Raiders 26, Jaguars 23 (at Oakland, Oct. 21, 2012)
Week 3: at Seattle (11-5), Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:25 p.m.
After adding defensive ends Cliff Avril from Detroit and Michael Bennett from Tampa Bay, the Seahawks appear poised to advance even further in the playoffs than they did a year ago. They also added acquired wide receiver Percy Harvin in a trade with Minnesota. If Harvin can stay healthy, Russell Wilson’s second act at quarterback might outdo his first.
All-time series record: Seahawks lead 4-2. The Seahawks hold a 2-0 edge at home. Last meeting: Seahawks 41, Jaguars 0 (at Seattle, Oct. 11, 2009)
Week 4: vs. Indianapolis (11-5), Sunday, Sept. 29, 1 p.m.
The Jaguars first game against a fellow AFC South opponent finds them taking on the Colts, who went from a 2-14 finish in 2011 to reaching the playoffs as a wild card. If Maurice Jones-Drew is back and anywhere close to 100 percent, the Jaguars can’t help but improve on their meager 37-yard rushing output in the Colts’ last visit to Jacksonville.
All-time series record: Colts lead 16-8. The Colts hold an 8-4 edge at Jacksonville. Last meetings: Colts 27, Jaguars 10 (at Jacksonville, Nov. 8, 2012); Jaguars 22, Colts 17 (at Indianapolis, Sept. 23, 2012)
Week 5: at St. Louis (7-9), Sunday, Oct. 6, 1 p.m.
The post-Steven Jackson era begins with a gaping void at running back but formidable additions elsewhere as the Rams picked up tackle Jake Long and tight end Jared Cook. This will be the Jaguars’ first game in St. Louis since a 24-21 loss in October 2005, when the starting quarterbacks were Byron Leftwich and Jamie Martin.
All-time series record: Rams lead 2-1. The Rams hold a 2-0 edge at home. Last meeting: Jaguars 23, Rams 20 (at Jacksonville, Oct. 18, 2009)
Week 6: at Denver (13-3), Sunday, Oct. 13, 4:05 p.m.
As if Peyton Manning didn’t do enough wondrous things in his first season as a Bronco, he now can throw the ball to Wes Welker. After catching at least 100 passes in all but one of his six seasons with New England, Welker joins a team that finished with the best record in the AFC but suffered an excruciating home playoff overtime loss to Baltimore.
All-time series record: Jaguars lead 5-3. Series is tied 3-3 at Denver. Last meeting: Jaguars 24, Broncos 17 (at Jacksonville, Sept. 12, 2010)
Week 7: vs. San Diego (7-9), Sunday, Oct. 20, 1 p.m.
Mike McCoy, most recently Denver’s offensive coordinator, takes over for Norv Turner with the hopes he can revive Philip Rivers’ flagging career. The Chargers’ luring away of Danny Woodhead from the New England Patriots should help. On defense, they signed talented but injury-prone former Jaguars cornerback Derek Cox.
All-time series record: Chargers lead 3-2. The Jaguars hold a 2-1 edge at home. Last meeting: Chargers 38, Jaguars 14 (at Jacksonville, Dec. 5, 2011)
Week 8: vs. San Francisco in London (11-4-1), Sunday, Oct. 27, 1 p.m.
The reigning NFC champions signed wide receiver Anquan Boldin barely a month after he and the Ravens defeated the 49ers in the Super Bowl. He’s hardly their only noteworthy addition. They also brought in cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha from Philadelphia and super-dependable kicker Phil Dawson from Cleveland.
All-time series record: Jaguars lead 2-1. The Jaguars hold a 2-0 edge at home. Last meeting: Jaguars 10, 49ers 9 (at Jacksonville, Dec. 18, 2005)
Week 9: Bye
Week 10: at Tennessee (6-10), Sunday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m.
Guard Andy Levitre, who was the most highly-coveted offensive lineman in free agency, and running back Shonn Greene are among the many new faces brought in by the Titans in an attempt to turn things around. Ryan Fitzpatrick was also signed to back up Jake Locker at quarterback.
All-time series record: Titans lead 20-16. The Titans hold a 10-8 edge at home. Last meetings: Titans 38, Jaguars 20 (at Tennessee, Dec. 30, 2012); Jaguars 24, Titans 19 (at Jacksonville, Nov. 25, 2012)
Week 11: vs. Arizona (5-11), Sunday, Nov. 17, 1 p.m.
Bruce Arians, who earned widespread praise for his job of coaching the Colts on an interim basis, has replaced Ken Whisenhunt. An offense which somehow ranked near the bottom of the league despite the presence of wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is now entrusted to 33-year-old Carson Palmer.
All-time series record: Jaguars lead 2-1. Series is tied 1-1 at Jacksonville. Last meeting: Cardinals 31, Jaguars 17 (at Jacksonville, Sept. 20, 2009)
Week 12: at Houston (12-4), Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m.
The recent signings of former Jaguars fullback Greg Jones and longtime Ravens safety Ed Reed add another level of intrigue to this AFC South matchup. The Texans needed to strengthen their secondary after Justin Blackmon had a breakout game in the Jaguars’ last trip to Houston.
All-time series record: Texans lead 13-9. The Texans hold an 8-3 edge at home. Last meetings: Texans 43, Jaguars 37, OT (at Houston, Nov. 18, 2012); Texans 27, Jaguars 7 (at Jacksonville, Sept. 16, 2012)
Week 13: at Cleveland (5-11), Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m.
Pat Shurmur is out and Rob Chudzinski is in as head coach of the Browns, who threw a boatload of money at defensive end Paul Kruger. Upon bringing in Jason Campbell as the backup at quarterback to second-year pro Brandon Weeden, the Browns brought an end to Colt McCoy’s time in Cleveland by dealng him to San Francisco.
All-time series record: Jaguars lead 9-5. The Jaguars hold a 5-2 edge at Cleveland. Last meeting: Browns 14, Jaguars 10 (at Cleveland, Nov. 20, 2011)
Week 14: vs. Houston (12-4), Thursday, Dec. 5, 8:25 p.m.
In perhaps the biggest quirk on their schedule, the Jaguars will face the Texans for the second time in 11 days. A few years ago, the NFL began having teams play more games within their division toward the end of the season. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see five of the Jaguars’ last seven games being within the AFC South.
All-time series record: Texans lead 13-9. The Jaguars hold a 6-5 edge at home. Last meetings: Texans 43, Jaguars 37, OT (at Houston, Nov. 18, 2012); Texans 27, Jaguars 7 (at Jacksonville, Sept. 16, 2012)
Week 15: vs. Buffalo (6-10), Sunday, Dec. 15, 1 p.m.
Doug Marrone, who returned Syracuse’s program to national prominence and was once the offensive coordinator in New Orleans, inherits the mess left behind by Chan Gailey. Kevin Kolb has come over from Arizona, but the Bills are offering no assurances that he’ll be the answer to their endless quarterback dilemma.
All-time series record: Bills lead 6-5. The Bills hold a 3-2 edge at Jacksonville. Last meeting: Bills 34, Jaguars 18 (at Buffalo, Dec. 2, 2012)
Week 16: vs. Tennessee (6-10), Sunday, Dec. 22, 1 p.m.
As was the case in 2012, the Jaguars will conclude the regular season against the Titans. But this time, it’s at home. The Jaguars have captured three of the last four meetings in Jacksonville, including a year ago, when Chad Henne threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns while the defense recorded a pair of intereceptions.
All-time series record: Titans lead 20-16. The Titans hold a 10-8 edge at Jacksonville. Last meetings: Titans 38, Jaguars 20 (at Tennessee, Dec. 30, 2012); Jaguars 24, Titans 19 (at Jacksonville, Nov. 25, 2012)
Week 17: at Indianapolis (11-5), Sunday, Dec. 29, 1 p.m.
Andrew Luck threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns in his first meeting with the Jaguars, who prevailed thanks to Blaine Gabbert’s late 80-yard scoring pass to Cecil Shorts. Luck’s group of receivers now includes former Oakland Raiders first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey.
All-time series record: Colts lead 16-8. The Colts hold an 8-4 edge at home. Last meetings: Colts 27, Jaguars 10 (at Jacksonville, Nov. 8, 2012); Jaguars 22, Colts 17 (at Indianapolis, Sept. 23, 2012)
Best non-division rival home game
San Diego. With four sub-.500 teams from a year ago on the non-division part of the schedule, there’s not much from which to choose. But the presence of Rivers and the return of Cox to Jacksonville make the Chargers the most intriguing opponent.
Best non-division rival road game
Denver. The Jaguars have seen plenty of Manning over the years, but this will be the first time in which he’s wearing a Broncos uniform.
Most dangerous opponent
Seattle. The Seahawks went undefeated at home in 2012, although one of those victories was a gift courtesy of the replacement officials. Gus Bradley, who was their defensive coordinator before becoming Jaguars head coach, knows how visiting offenses can get rattled by the noise levels.
With two very beatable opponents right off the bat, it’s critical for the Jaguars to get off to no worse than a 1-1 start. Going winless before facing the Seahawks, Colts and Broncos within a four-week stretch would be a recipe for disaster.