JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The NFL released the preseason schedule on Thursday. Dates and times haven’t been announced, but here’s a first look at the opponents for the Jacksonville Jaguars:
Week 1 (Aug. 11-14) at New York Jets
Comment: This will be a pretty good test for the Jaguars’ improved secondary. Jets receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker combined for 189 catches for 2,529 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2015 – numbers that led all receiver duos in the NFL. If newly-signed cornerback Prince Amukamara and free safety Tashaun Gipson are going to make a difference in the defense in 2016, we could see it in this game.
Week 2 (Aug. 18-21) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Comment: There have been preliminary reports that the Bucs and Jaguars will hold some joint training-camp practices, which would likely happen in the days leading up to this game. The Bucs beat the Jaguars 38-31 last season behind 123 yards and two touchdowns rushing by Doug Martin. He’s back, and the Bucs added guard J.R. Sweezy to make the running game even better. The addition of defensive tackle Malik Jackson certainly should help the run defense.
Week 3 (Aug. 28, 8 p.m. ET) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Comment: This will be a nationally televised game on NBC. It also will be a good test to see how the Jaguars compare to a playoff team because this is the preseason game in which the starters generally play well into the third quarter. The Bengals racked up 423 yards, including 191 rushing, in a 33-23 victory over the Jaguars in 2014.
Week 4 (Sept. 1) at Atlanta Falcons
Comment: The Jaguars have played the Falcons more than any other team in the preseason (11 times) and they’ll be meeting for the sixth time in the last seven years. There won’t be much to watch in this game other than bubble players fighting for a spot on the final roster. There should be some interesting battles in the secondary – especially at safety -- that might not be finalized until this game.