Jacksonville Jaguars schedule analysis

Breakdown: General manager Gene Smith talks of his team as an ascending one, and if prime time games are any indication, the NFL agrees. Jacksonville gets three.

But while the league might like where the Jaguars are heading, they’re also interested in the Jaguars having sustained box office success. Two home appearances on "Monday Night Football," against Baltimore and San Diego, will certainly help boost civic pride and ticket sales. The third game in the spotlight is a Thursday nighter at Atlanta.

The Jaguars have been a team that’s swooned at the end in recent years. A finish of Tampa Bay, at Atlanta, at Tennessee and Indianapolis could give them a chance to make up some ground or hold on to a playoff berth if they can finish the season playing well, for a change.

Complaint department:How’s this for a three-game run starting in mid-October: at Pittsburgh, against Baltimore on MNF and then at Houston on a short week. Two super physical opponents in consecutive weeks, and then a big division showdown. The NFL did the Jaguars no favors by not splitting up the Steelers and Ravens. At least that trifecta is followed by a bye week.

Gift opening?: The Jaguars struggled to defend longer throws to the outside and to sack the quarterback. They’re expected to add players who will help address both issues, but it may take some time. The schedule-maker may have provided an assist. Three of the team’s first five games are at home, against teams with serious questions at quarterback. They open against Tennessee, play Week 3 at Carolina and host Cincinnati Week 5.

Jaguars Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sep. 11, Tennessee, 1:00 PM

Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 18, at NY Jets, 1:00 PM

Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 25, at Carolina, 1:00 PM

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 2, New Orleans, 1:00 PM

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 9, Cincinnati, 1:00 PM

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16, at Pittsburgh, 1:00 PM

Week 7: Monday, Oct. 24, Baltimore, 8:30 PM

Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 30, at Houston, 1:00 PM

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 13, at Indianapolis, 1:00 PM

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 20, at Cleveland, 1:00 PM

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 27, Houston, 1:00 PM

Week 13: Monday, Dec. 5, San Diego, 8:30 PM

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11, Tampa Bay, 1:00 PM

Week 15: Thursday, Dec. 15, at Atlanta, 8:20 PM

Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 24, at Tennessee, 1:00 PM

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1, Indianapolis, 1:00 PM