The Jacksonville Jaguars are good at football.
It feels weird to type, but the Jags went from being the AFC's doormat to the penthouse in 2017. Jacksonville was a surprise AFC finalist before losing to the New England Patriots in a 24-20 thriller. It was the first time the franchise had made the playoffs in a decade, but the Jags now enter 2018 with high expectations.
They return much of the defense that ranked as the best in football. Football Outsiders' defensive DVOA metric gave their secondary one of the best grades it has ever handed out, and the Jags ranked No. 1 overall despite some shakiness with the run.
Jacksonville is also continuing the Blake Bortles experiment and added Donte Moncrief to offset the losses of Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson.
Here is a look at the complete schedule for the Jaguars in the 2018 regular season, per NFL.com.
Jaguars' 2018 Schedule
Week 1: at Giants on Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 2: vs. Patriots on Sept. 16 at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 3: vs. Titans on Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 4: vs. Jets on Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 5: at Chiefs on Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 6: at Cowboys on Oct. 14 at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 7: vs. Texans on Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 8: vs. Eagles on Oct. 28 at 9:30 a.m. ET on NFL Network
Week 9: Bye Week
Week 10: at Colts on Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 11: vs. Steelers on Nov. 18 at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC
Week 12: at Bills on Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 13: vs. Colts on Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 14: at Titans on Dec. 6 at 8:20 p.m. ET on Fox/NFL Network
Week 15: vs. Redskins on Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 16: at Dolphins on Dec. 23 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 17: at Texans on Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
The Jaguars are tied for the fifth-easiest schedule in football based on 2017 record, which is largely a byproduct of playing in the AFC South. The Texans and Colts both finished with matching 4-12 records a year ago, and the Titans were the next-best team in the division at 9-7. Six games with a combined 34-62 record will make a schedule look easier.
The Jags also play the AFC East and NFC East as their common opponents, which feature a handful of teams (Miami, New York x2, Washington and Buffalo) that look like potential duds. Depending on how much their AFC South compatriots fare, the Jags could be favored in more than half of their games for the first time in like...forever.
The most difficult stretch of games will be playing fellow AFC division winners. They'll get an AFC championship rematch against the New England Patriots, to go along with games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs.
New England and Pittsburgh visit Jacksonville, so the schedule really works out as a best-case scenario. For a division winner, it's hard to ask for a much better slate.
The Jags went 4-2 in the division last year, and if they can match that or even improve it, they're a favorite to repeat. The defense will again be the best in football and put them in a position to win every game.
All of this mostly comes down to the progress of Bortles, who remains a major question mark going forward. The Jags gave him a new contract this offseason, ostensibly locking him in as their starter for the next two years.
The schedule does him a ton of favors. Bortles will spend most of his season playing against below-average competition. If he can avoid turnovers and make an occasional downfield throw, the Jags defense should be able to lead them to 10 or 11 wins.