Aaron It Out: Schedule Shenanigans

Happy April!  Or, if you’re an NFL fan, happy not-much-of-a-news-cycle!

If you are a sports fan in general, it may be an exciting time – baseball just got started, NHL is going into the playoffs, and the NBA season is wrapping up.  But for the NFL crowd, it’s kind of a slog – there’s not much in the way of news, the mock drafts are piling up, baseball JUST GOT STARTED (please don’t start posting playoff standings, ESPN), the NHL is going into the playoffs (who cares?), and the NBA season is FINALLY wrapping up.

I kid.  Mostly.

The draft news cycle has become smokescreen upon smokescreen, with the media trying to manufacture reasons why the Browns wouldn’t take the best athlete in the draft (Myles Garrett), throwing random players at Jacksonville to see what sticks (a possible DeShaun Watson pick, although I think he may go to the Bears), and an unemployed Jay Cutler showing his rear end to the world.  Oh, and the NFL just announced their preseason schedule to absolutely no fanfare.  While players are finally starting to return to practice fields over the coming weeks, there’s little to write about.  But instead of subjecting you to another mock draft (I am happy with what I’ve accomplished), I’ll instead subject you to another way-too-early media trope: that’s right, it’s time for…

THE AARON IT OUT JAGUARS SCHEDULE PREDICTION, 1.0!!!

(Once we see who gets drafted and how OTAs and minicamps shake out, then I will run back to the well and bust out another one of these, thank you very much.)

The dates for these have not been announced yet, other than the Ravens game, so I will not be speculating the weeks for these, and will break everything down by teams.  We’ll start with Away, then Divisional, then Home.

AWAY

Arizona Cardinals – I am penciling this in as a very close LOSS.  The Cardinals have a lot of talent but Calais Campbell can tip off the Jags’ defense on some schemes.  The Cards are always one of the favorites to win the NFC West and make the playoffs, and the Jaguars aren’t that type of pick yet.

Cleveland Browns – This one should be a WIN.  The Browns are still in heavy rebuilding mode and no matter who they have at quarterback, I don’t think they have enough talent to put together more than three or four wins next year.

New York Jets – Also a WIN – the Jets were in shambles last year and are also going to be rebuilding, and probably starting a rookie quarterback.  I don’t think the Jags will have an issue taking them down.

Pittsburgh Steelers – This will be a LOSS – the Steelers are way too talented but whenever the teams play it is always a physical contest.  I expect that to be the same case, as the Jags are building a great defense, but Pittsburgh just has too much talent to lose this game.

San Francisco 49ers – A WIN here and with good reason, as the Niners are also in the midst of a rebuild and have a rookie head coach and a super-duper rookie GM.

DIVISIONAL

Houston Texans – I predict that the series will be SPLIT here – the Jags and Texans always play each other well and the Jags kind of gave a late-season game away to the Texans last year, but unless the Texans do something to upgrade their QB situation, they won’t be a playoff team again in 2017.

Indianapolis Colts – The Jags will SPLIT the games in this series.  The Colts have a great offense but their defense leaves much to be desired.  I’m predicting the loss based on Blake Bortles’ performance last year, but the upgrades on defense will have them a little bit better than stumbling into a win as they did last year in London.

Tennessee Titans – The Titans are, dare I say it, becoming legit… at least they were last year.  If it’s a one-year Mularkey fluke, then that’s fine, but until that is proven to be true, then I will call this series SPLIT.

HOME

Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals lost some talent last year and had a bit of a down season but I think that they are on the rebound and also very likely have better quarterback play than the Jaguars are capable of.  Therefore, this is a LOSS for the Jaguars.

Los Angeles Chargers – Boy, “Los Angeles Chargers” sure was weird to write.  Anyway, for the last several years the Chargers have regularly had the Jaguars’ number when the two teams played, and the main reason for that is Phil Rivers.  Even though the Chargers will be playing a form of Gus Bradley’s “defense” I don’t think they’ll change much and we will call this a close LOSS.

Los Angeles Rams – Can we take a moment to discuss the fact that there are two teams in L.A. now and how badly that ended the last time people tried it?  Both of those teams need to get better fast, or the L.A. fanbase is going to get tired of them really quick.  Anyway, the Rams are currently not much of a threat to anyone including the Jags so I will call this game a WIN.

Seattle Seahawks – The ‘Hawks did not play well in Florida last year and it took them some time to get rolling as well.  If this takes place at the beginning of the season, then look out; the Jaguars may have a decent chance.  When a Rex Ryan-coached Bills team that has a lot less talent than the Jags can take the Seahawks into overtime, anyone has a chance.  That being said, for now, I’ll close with a close LOSS.

FINAL RECORD – okay, so it looks like I have predicted a 7-9 season for the Jaguars.  That would… be an improvement over the last several years.  If they could take a couple more of those home games, or sweep one or two division series, then we may be venturing into a winning schedule!  Let’s keep our expectations low for now, though, and see what happens.  The schedule comes out in a few days so we’ll know more then, and I’ll post a few reactions once the draft has been completed, most likely.

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