The Jacksonville Jaguars will open their 12th NFL regular season at home hosting the Dallas Cowboys at Alltel Stadium on September 10 in a nationally televised game on FOX at 4:15 p.m. The Jaguars' schedule also features two Monday Night games at home on ESPN against the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants. The Jaguars close the regular season at Kansas City on New Years Eve, December 31.
In the 2006 NFL schedule released today, the Jaguars will be featured three times on national television (ESPN twice, FOX). It marks the first time since 2001 the club has two nationally televised prime time games. Fourteen of the Jaguars' 16 regular season games during the 2006 season will be played on Sundays, with 11 games at 1:00 p.m. ET kickoffs and three late afternoon games.
"This is a good schedule. Like last year, we have a very challenging start to the season with three of the first four games against playoff teams," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said. "We will need our fans to be loud and proud right from the start with visits by Dallas in the opener and the defending Super Bowl champions in Pittsburgh in week two. We are especially pleased to have two Monday night home games."
The NFL this season will implement for the first time in its history a primetime "flexible scheduling" element on Sundays in Weeks 10-15 and in Week 17. The 2006 NFL schedule lists start times for all Sunday games during the "flex" weeks as 1:00 PM ET, except for games played in the Mountain or Pacific Time zones, which will be listed at 4:05 PM ET or 4:15 PM ET. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved with a 12-day notice. In Week 17, in order to ensure a Sunday night game with playoff implications, the decision to move the start time may be made on six days notice. The new practice allows the NFL to employ flexible scheduling to include one of its primetime package of games – on Sunday evenings.
The Jaguars' opener against Dallas marks the sixth time that the Jaguars will have opened a regular season against a non-divisional opponent. The Jaguars own the NFL's best record on opening weekend with a 8-3 mark (.727 winning percentage in their 11-year history) and have won back-to-back opening day games. The Jaguars are also 8-3 in their home-openers.
Following the season-opener, the Jaguars will host the Steelers at Alltel Stadium on Monday, September 18 at 8:30 p.m. This will mark the fifth season in club history (1998, 1999, 2001, 2003) the Jaguars have faced a defending Super Bowl champion. It will be the 18th meeting overall between the teams with the Jaguars holding a 9-8 advantage, including a 23-17 overtime win in Pittsburgh last year. The Jaguars conclude September by visiting AFC South foe Indianapolis on Sunday, September 24. Since realignment in 2002, the Jaguars and Colts have met each year in the first four weeks of the regular season.
In October the Jaguars will play at Washington on October 1 and host the New York Jets on October 8 before the bye week. This will be Jacksonville's second trip to Washington and first since 1997. After the bye week on October 15, the Jaguars will hit the road for back-to-back road games at Houston on October 22 and their first-ever trip to Philadelphia on October 29. The Jaguars have won their two prior meetings against the Eagles (1997, 2002).
Three consecutive home games against Tennessee, Houston and a Monday Night Game on ESPN against the New York Giants highlight the November portion of the schedule. Former Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin will lead the Giants into Alltel Stadium for the team's first visit since 1997. The Jaguars will travel to Buffalo for the second time in three years on November 26 to battle the Bills.
The Jaguars will open December with their first ever regular season game at Dolphins Stadium on Sunday, December 3 against Miami. The two teams have met only twice with the Jaguars winning in 1998 and the Dolphins earning a victory in 2003. The Jaguars will host Indianapolis on Sunday, December 10, the second consecutive season the clubs have met in the second week of December. The Colts edged the Jaguars, 26-18, at Alltel Stadium last year on December 11. Following the Colts game, the Jaguars will travel to Tennessee to play the Titans on December 17.
A rematch of last year's playoff game will be the Jaguars final home regular season game as the New England Patriots visit Jacksonville on Christmas Eve, December 24. The Jaguars close the 2006 regular season on the road at the Kansas City Chiefs on New Years Eve, December 31. It will mark the sixth time in club history the Jaguars have concluded the regular season on the road, including six times in the last seven seasons.