JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan has said that a winning record in 2016 is “everyone’s reasonable expectation at this point.” That may be what he expects, but it will be hard to deliver. The Jaguars have a pretty tough schedule, with five teams that made the playoffs in 2015 -- including the Super Bowl champs. Denver, Minnesota, Kansas City and Houston ranked in the top 10 in scoring defense and Denver, Kansas City and Baltimore ranked in the top 10 in total defense last season. The Jaguars will be better on defense, but the offensive line continues to struggle and that will result in a 7-9 finish, the same as my prediction when the schedule was released in the spring.
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 11 vs. Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m. ET
Yes, it will be ridiculously hot. And yes, the Packers probably will be impacted by that more than the Jaguars. But Green Bay still has one of the best quarterbacks (and arguably THE best) and offenses in the league and the Jaguars’ pass rush wasn’t very effective in the preseason. Record: 0-1.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 18 at San Diego Chargers, 4:25 p.m. ET
Philip Rivers will have a big day because he always has a big day against the Jaguars: 1,899 yards, 15 TDs, 4 INTs in six games (5-1). Plus, the Jaguars are 0-3 in San Diego and have been outscored 105-48 in those games. Record: 0-2.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 25 vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. ET
Joe Flacco is coming back from a torn ACL and Steve Smith Sr. is coming off a torn Achilles. The Ravens’ offense managed only 20 points against a significantly less-talented defense last year in Baltimore. Record: 1-2.
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 2 vs. Indianapolis Colts in London, 9:30 a.m. ET
The Colts are battling injuries at receiver, offensive line and cornerback, and the offensive line wasn’t very good when healthy anyway. Andrew Luck is still pretty good, but this will be the game where the Jaguars’ pass rush gets it done. Record: 2-2.
Week 5: Bye
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16 at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m. ET
Soldier Field isn’t an easy place in which to play, but you can’t discount the Jay Cutler factor. He’s 16-25 as a starter the past three seasons and has thrown 41 interceptions in those 41 games. Record: 3-2.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23 vs. Oakland Raiders, 1 p.m. ET
Many believe the Jaguars and Raiders are on similar trajectories. Oakland was very good in free agency (adding G Kelechi Osemele, CB Sean Smith and LB Bruce Irvin) and in the draft (S Karl Joseph, DT Jihad Ward and LB Shilique Calhoun). However, the home team is 5-2 in the series and the last time the road team won was 2004. Record: 4-2.
Week 8: Thursday, Oct. 27 at Tennessee Titans, 8:25 p.m. ET
The game in Nashville was one of the most disappointing of the 2015 season. The Jaguars scored 39 points but allowed QB Marcus Mariota to throw for 268 yards and three TDs and run for 112 yards and another TD. The teams have split the season series every year since 2008. Record: 4-3.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 6 at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m. ET
The Chiefs had the fourth-most sacks in the NFL last season (47) and have the second-most over the past three seasons (140). Even though Justin Houston is coming off ACL and LCL surgery and may not return by this game, it’s still a horrible matchup for the Jaguars’ offensive line. QB Blake Bortles will be under pressure all day. Record: 4-4.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 13 vs. Houston Texans, 1 p.m. ET
This is another bad matchup for the Jaguars’ offensive line even if Luke Joeckel, who gave up five sacks in the 2015 season finale, is playing left guard instead of left tackle. However, is Brock Osweiler any better than Brian Hoyer? Plus, the Jaguars are much better equipped in the secondary to handle DeAndre Hopkins. Record: 5-4.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 20 at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. ET
Golden Tate is a nice player (he caught 90 passes last season) and Marvin Jones (65 catches in Cincinnati in 2015) is solid, but neither is Calvin Johnson. The Lions were the worst rushing team in the NFL in 2015 (83.4 yards per game) and don’t appear to have gotten any better. Record: 6-4.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 27 at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. ET
The Jaguars blew a 24-point lead but came back to win on Bortles’ 31-yard touchdown pass to Allen Hurns with 2:16 to play. The reason the Jaguars were up that big was Bills QB EJ Manuel, who had a fumble returned for a touchdown and an interception returned for a touchdown. A healthy Tyrod Taylor will make a huge difference. Record: 6-5.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4 vs. Denver Broncos, 1 p.m. ET
Denver won the Super Bowl because of its defense and it will still be one of the league’s best in 2016 even without DT Malik Jackson (now with the Jaguars) and LB Danny Trevathan (now with Chicago). Von Miller will have a big day against the Jaguars’ offensive line. Record: 6-6.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11 vs. Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m. ET
The Vikings’ defense allowed just 18.9 points per game last season, which allowed coach Mike Zimmer to bring QB Teddy Bridgewater along slowly. They added the best receiver in the draft in Laquon Treadwell to complement Stefon Diggs. Record: 6-7.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 18 at Houston Texans, 1 p.m. ET
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 24 vs. Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. ET
For some reason, the Jaguars’ offense has been better in games in Nashville (21.3 points per game) than at home (16.5 points per game) since they won 37-17 in October 2009. They’ve scored more than 21 points just once at EverBank Field in that span. However, they’re 4-2 in those six games. This will be their only victory in their last five games of 2016. Record: 7-8.
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1 at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET
If the AFC South is as competitive as many think it will be this season -- as much of a mess as it was last season -- the division title could be on the line in this game. Since beating the Colts in Indianapolis in Luck’s first season (2012), the Jaguars have been outscored 69-26 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Record: 7-9.