JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars' 2014 home schedule includes several pretty good draws, but it could have been even better had the NFL not moved the premier game to London.
In addition to regular division opponents, the Jaguars will play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the AFC East team that finishes in the same spot in the division that the Jaguars finish in the AFC South. The Jaguars also have a home game against the Dallas Cowboys, but the NFL announced Thursday morning the Cowboys would be the opponent the Jaguars will play in London.
"It’s a strong schedule from both a competitive standpoint and from a fans’ perspective, and we hope to continue building and improving in both ways," owner Shad Khan said in a statement. "We’re also pleased to face the Cowboys in London in our second game at Wembley Stadium."
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Wednesday night that the NFL wants to match the Jaguars with a marquee franchise when the team plays in London the next three years. Because the Cowboys were the biggest draw on the home schedule and owner Jerry Jones has wanted to bring his team to London, the league made that the game that will be played at Wembley Stadium next season.
Playing a home game in London is good for the Jaguars from a financial standpoint. The revenue they receive from ticket sales there is more than what they'd receive from a home game because Wembley Stadium seats about 20,000 more fans. But certainly the Jaguars would rather have played the Cowboys -- the country’s most popular NFL team, according to a recent story in SportsBusinessDaily -- at EverBank Field.
Though the Jaguars haven’t had a blackout since 2009, the team could certainly use an attendance boost. The Jaguars have lost 28 of their past 35 games heading into Sunday’s game against San Francisco in London, and that includes a 5-15 record at home.
A visit from the Cowboys undoubtedly would have generated a lot of excitement and resulted in a packed house.
Still, having the Steelers on the home schedule is beneficial. The Steelers were the Jaguars’ opponent in two of Jacksonville's four best-attended home games in franchise history, including the record of 76,877 on Dec. 5, 2004.
In addition to division opponents, the Jaguars' road opponents will be Baltimore, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Washington, and an AFC West team.
The NFL will announce dates and times for all games in the spring.