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O-Zone: All's fair

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

I'll be honest here, Zone. The NFL clearly has it out for the Jaguars and always has. This schedule is brutal. I just don't see us getting to .500.

The NFL released its 2024 regular-season schedule Wednesday at 8 p.m., and I therefore expect this Thursday O-Zone will be pretty close to All Schedule All The Time. And why not? I'll lay out the Jaguars' 2024 regular-season schedule here for reference's and completeness' sake: Week 1 (At Miami Dolphins, 11-6), Week 2 (Cleveland Browns, 11-6), Week 3 (at Buffalo Bills, 11-6), Week 4 (at Houston Texans, 10-7), Week 5 (Indianapolis Colts, 9-8), Week 6 (at Chicago Bears, 7-10, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London), Week 7 (New England Patriots, 4-13, at Wembley Stadium in London), Week 8 (Green Bay Packers, 9-8), Week 9 (at Philadelphia Eagles, 11-6), Week 10 (Minnesota Vikings, 7-10), Week 11 (at Detroit Lions, 12-5), Week 12 (bye), Week 13 (Houston Texans, 10-7), Week 14 (at Tennessee Titans, 6-11), Week 15 (New York Jets, 7-10), Week 16 (at Las Vegas Raiders, 8-9), Week 7 (Tennessee Titans, 6-11), Week 18 (at Indianapolis Colts, 9-8). Some "highlights" from this view: Three of the first four games on the road, no back-to-back games in Jacksonville, the first five games against teams with winning records in 2023 and a tough stretch after back-to-back London games against mostly really good NFC teams. The Jaguars also play10 of 17 games against teams with winning records last season. Those "highlights" indeed give the Jaguars' schedule a tough feel. Does that mean the league "has it out" for the Jaguars? Of course not. Opponents and sites are determined by a predetermined formula based on standing and long-term rotations, so the Jaguars were going to play those tough teams this season and they were going to play them in some order. A bunch of what appear to be really tough games next season are early in the season. Is that fair? I don't know, but that's the schedule. We have months to worry about it and break it down. We may as well get started, I guess.

Bill from Orlando, FL

Four games against playoff teams out of the gate? What did we do wrong, Zone?

There's a bit of handwringing over the schedule, and I'm with you that the early-season games appear rough. The Jaguars open the 2024 season with five consecutive games against teams that had winning records in 2023. Three of those games are on the road at Houston, Miami and Buffalo. The first three four opponents – Miami, Cleveland and Buffalo – all won 11 games and were in the postseason. The thought here is the Jaguars will be pleased (privately, of course) to get through the first five games 3-2 and no worse than 2-3. That should keep them in contention going into back-to-back London games. September and early October will be tricky. Not impossible. But tricky.


KOAF, could you remind loyal O-Zone readers (and I know who I am) to vote for Jaxson de Ville for the mascot Hall of Fame? If we can't get Freddie T in, maybe we can get Jaxson in.


Ryan from Duuuuuval

Schedule makers did us no favors. Zero back-to-back home games. Only three games in Jacksonville in the first two months. Two prime-time games, but both away from home. At least we finish with division games and hopefully control our own fate.

The Jaguars play back-to-back home games in Week 7 and 8 when they play host to the New England Patriots at Wembley Stadium and to the Green Bay Packers at EverBank Stadium. While some Jaguars fans don't consider Wembley games home games, the NFL's schedule-makers do consider it a Jaguars home game. You're correct that the division home games late in the season are a key trait of this schedule for the Jaguars. They play AFC South opponents in four of the last six games. If they're close to first place after Week 12, they will be very much in the division chase.

Big Jags Fan

Kudos to the Jacksonville City Council and Mayor Donna Deegan for getting a deal done with the Jaguars for a much-needed stadium renovation and upgrade. I have lived through many decades of not having a NFL team. We can never go back to those dark years!

One fer the Jaguars and Mayor Donna Deegan.

Richard from St Augustine

KOAF. With London games announced as Bears and Patriots do you think Jags have a realistic chance of a sweep again? I know you are generally not a fan of NFL rankings but what are your thoughts of computer rankings that take into account a lot of data like strength of ongoing schedule, Wins against winning teams, how much a team wins or losses by ... score wise, etc? It is worth noting some computer rankings are included in other ranking models, too. Your funky knowledge base is needed in these most pressing questions, sir. Thanks in advance for your kind consideration in accepting my inquiry. Go Jags.

The Jaguars indeed could sweep the Bears and Patriots. Or they could split. Or they could get swept. While both teams were under .500 last season, assume those teams will be weak at your own risk. As for my thoughts on computer rankings, they're the same as my thoughts on any NFL rankings. They're fun for fans. They're good offseason and midweek fodder. You can shove as much or as little thought – or as much or little data – into them as you want and they still mean nothing. It's a league of parity and any team – particularly the teams outside the bottom and top few in the league each season – can beat any other team in a particular week.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Of the 17 opponents and their projected starting quarterbacks we play this year, only two teams (Bills/Josh Allen and Miami/Tao Tagovailoa) has a quarterback with more starts with that team than Trevor Lawrence with the Jaguars.


Anita from Springfield

With the relationship between Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson and Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid, do you see us holding joint practices with the Chiefs? Do you feel those are truly beneficial – and if so, would working with that championship squad be at all different than a team like the Atlanta Falcons?

The Jaguars play three teams in the 2024 preseason: the Chiefs in Jacksonville, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Jacksonville and the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. My guess is the Jaguars will hold a week of joint practices against at least one of the teams in the week leading to the game because Pederson likes them. I think holding one week of joint practices is beneficial and I don't know if you need more than that. I would expect the practices to be against the Buccaneers because that's Preseason Week 2 and coaches like having time early and late in camp to focus on their own teams. Practicing against the Chiefs would be different than practicing against any other team because of quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

John, Your smart-butt refrain "Never forget Tyler Shately made you sound dumb. It was extremely disrespectful. The Jaguars don't need you for spit. As for Tyler Shately we need him and any clone near as good. Every year you give token respect to the o line. You have made a fool of yourself again, Knothead !

I respect Jaguars guard/center Tyler Shatley. Always have. Always will. If an O-Zone answer made it seem otherwise, I regret that. And it's "S-H-A-T-L-E-Y." Respectfully.

Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington

John, do you have a second?

Absolutely. Wait. No.

Stokes from Orange Park, FL

It's the 14th-most difficult schedule in the league. Okay. But Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalp Bills, Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions. Good grief. Certainly would seem to be in the Top 5 of most difficult away schedules. Not griping. Just saying.

There's no reason to gripe about an NFL schedule, particularly game locations. It's predestined. As far as the difficulty of the Jaguars' schedule, remember: All "schedule difficulty" rankings are based on records of the previous season until games begin that season. It's nice reading, but it doesn't mean all that much.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

This can't compare with 19/99 in the defensive backfield, the stride size of rookie wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr., or your hot take on pasta but it seems incredibly unfair that the Los Angeles Chargers will travel almost 27,000 miles and go through 36 times zones while Pittsburgh travels 12,000 miles and 10 time zones. I know that every team can't have exactly the same travel miles but just astounded by the difference.

I don't have a particular take on this and very little about the NFL schedule is "unfair." It's decided based on a formula determined well in advance. There's as little human input as possible.