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O-Zone: Dream scenario

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Steve from Cardiff, UK

We knew all the matchups in 2024 and nothing really changed Wednesday. Then I read your analysis of the schedule. Can you not turn up the positivity dial?

The NFL released its 2024 regular-season schedule Wednesday night. I analyzed the Jaguars' 2024 schedule for the same night, and again in the O-Zone Thursday morning. So you needn't click elsewhere, clicking being prohibitively difficult, here it is once more: Week 1 (At Miami Dolphins, 11-6 last season), 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). When analyzing, I wrote that there are difficult stretches in this schedule. I believe this based on the Jaguars playing four consecutive 2023 postseason teams to start the season, then playing three NFC playoff teams in a four-week stretch from Weeks 8-11. Three of the first four games are also on the road. These are tricky stretches. This is not to say the Jaguars can't navigate this schedule into the postseason. This was meant to be neither negative nor positive. It was just meant to be.

Kevin from Jacksonville Beach, FL

Hi, John. Others should stop worrying about how hard our schedule is. Every schedule is hard. It's the NFL. Go play the games, and win, and others will start to worry about the Jags. GO JAGS!!!

This is more than a kernel of truth. It's a whole bag of corn. Hell, it's a whole bag of popcorn. Or something like that. If the Jaguars are good and play well, they will beat a lot of teams on this schedule. If that happens, those teams' records will suffer accordingly and observers will say it's an easy schedule. Bottom line: It's the NFL. All schedules are hard. Good teams make schedules look easy and bad teams make schedules look hard. Go play the game, win and make others worry about the Jags? Yes. A thousand times yes. Bless you, Kevin. Bless you.

Cary from Montreal, Quebec

Thank you, NFL! Going to Buffalo is the only real way I can see a Jags game. It was supposed to happen last year, but it was played in London instead. This year it's a Monday Night Football game, fun! I'll be going to that one for sure! I like the schedule. It's tough, sure, but looks like there'll be some really good games. That's what it's all about after all. My biggest takeaway, however, is that the Jags are not playing on Thursday. That's a huge advantage. That game is hard to prepare for and tough on everyone. You think that was a compromise for playing back-to-back games in London? Other thoughts on the schedule? Go Jags!

I think the Jaguars aren't playing on Thursday because the league happened to not put them on Thursday. Perhaps this is because the Jaguars are already playing four other nationally-televised games – one on Monday Night (Bills), one on Sunday Night (Eagles) and the two London games on NFL Network (Patriots, Bears). I don't think the league sees back-to-back London games as a negative or punishment, so I don't think the lack of Thursday games or anything else about the Jaguars' schedule was a compromise on that front.

Big Jags Fan from Jacksonville

Tough opening stretch to start the season, eh?

It ain't easy.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

I thought we were a shoe-in for the Thanksgiving game, as I believe I heard the Jags are the only team never to play on Thanksgiving. Oh, well, Maybe 2032. The small-market big holiday viewing thing?

There were many rumors that the Jaguars would play a Thanksgiving Day game in 2023. These were largely based on the Jaguars never having played on Thanksgiving Day and the fact that they were playing the Detroit Lions – and the Lions play annually on Thanksgiving. It is my experience that rumors/reports about the NFL schedule lack merit far more than they are correct. Why didn't the league schedule the Lions-Jaguars game for Thanksgiving? My guess is the whole Jaguars-have-never-played-on-Thanksgiving theme was more of a "thing" for the Jaguars' fan base than for the schedule-makers and that the league just went another direction.

Steve from Nashville, FL

I assume the senior writer and the rest of the Jaguars organization is OK with not having a Thursday night game?

Loyal O-Zone readers – and he knows who he is – know I am fond of saying I like nothing better than a 17-game schedule with all 1 p.m. home games. This is actually incorrect. Mix in seven or eight Thursday night home games, too. Why? Because a Thursday night game means Friday and Saturday off. There's no "I" in "team." But there is an "m" and an "e."

Brendan from Yulee, FL

Why all the complaining over three games in Jax in the first two months? Seems to me some people haven't experienced a 1 p.m. home game in September.


John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. Is it true that our record continues to hold up with regards to number of games played on Thanksgiving Day? Zero. In fact, even though there was an optimum chance to break that streak with an away game in Detroit, they opted to have the Jags not play at all that weekend. They say eating turkey makes you tired. Probably a good thing anyway for the Jags to get some extra sleep.

The Jaguars do play on Thanksgiving Weekend. They play the Houston Texans in Jacksonville on December 1. Thanksgiving is November 28 this year.

Fred from Naples, FL

There were rumors that the Jags would finally get a Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions …. sigh.

Oh well.

Paul from Lake City

If last season taught me anything, it's the futility of expectations. Yes, the schedule looks tough now, but there will be playoff teams from the previous year that will fall off (as we did last season) and there will be other teams that will improve. I'm just going to sit back and watch the games.

One of the great NFL truths is that it's impossible to know the real difficulty of a schedule until about Week 5 or 6. That's when you get a real idea for how teams are playing that season rather than how they played in the past.

Brad from The Avenues

Okay, John. First off, no more pulling preseason predictions out of my keister. I've learned my lesson. It looks like we've got a tough start to our season but I kind of feel a little better that we'll have three of those games under our belt before taking on division rivals back-to-back. I'm also pretty optimistic about our London matchups. My biggest takeaway though, which I suppose is really showing my age, is not having to stay up past my bedtime in the middle of the week to watch a game. The logic of which has always escaped me.


Brian from Round Rock, TX

The schedule is irrelevant outside of maybe the timing of the bye week. Go win them all if you want to win the Super Bowl. The more good teams you play, the better prepared you'll be for the postseason. What am I missing?

Build your team to be good enough to win whenever, wherever. That takes a lot of the anxiety of your building plan.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Miami is an interesting opener. They were 10-1 against teams with a losing record and 1-6 versus teams with a winning record last year. Early bellwether?

The Jaguars-Dolphins matchup Week 1 will be interesting. Defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen's defense will be playing one of the NFL's best offenses. People will draw euphoric or panicky conclusions from the result forgetting that Week 1 is always one of the weirdest "outlier" games of the NFL season.

Paul from Hubert Sec 434 from Jacksonville

Zone, I am not a marketing genius but when are the T-Shirts coming out with J Men 95 crew maybe even throw in a Doug Pederson in Professors X Chair?

I'm not sure you needed the word "marketing" in your email.

Thomas from Section 125 Jacksonville aka DUUUVAL

Can we get a 4:05 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 4:30 p.m. September home game? Feels miserable.

I understand your feelings on this. I wouldn't want to be outside in the direct afternoon sun in September, either.

Troy from Dover, PA

Will Taylor Swift be at the first preseason game against the Chiefs?

OMG. I hope so.