JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have an interesting decision to make regarding their bye week in 2017.
Over the past four years, the team has had it after its annual game in London. With the NFL's Tuesday morning announcement that the Jaguars will play Baltimore in Wembley Stadium in Week 3 or 4 next season, the team has to decide if it would be better to have the bye after that game again or wait until later in the season. The NFL would most likely grant that wish because they did it for Indianapolis this season.
The Jaguars played Indianapolis in Week 4 this season and had their bye in Week 5. It worked out to give several players -- notably tight end Julius Thomas and defensive end Jared Odrick -- a chance to heal and be ready for the Jaguars' next game, which was in Chicago. Having the bye after the London game gives the players extra time to adjust after a pair of transatlantic flights and three days overseas.
It seems to have helped because the Jaguars are 2-2 in games played immediately after the bye week since they began playing annually in London in 2013. That may not sound like a big deal, but the Jaguars have just 14 victories since the 2013 season began.
Indianapolis was the first team to play in London and not have a bye week immediately after. The team asked for that schedule and ended up with their bye in Week 10. The Colts did play at home the week after their 30-27 loss to the Jaguars in Wembley and beat Chicago 29-23. So if the Jaguars were to ask the NFL to push their bye week to later in the season, it would mean a game at EverBank Field immediately after playing the Ravens.
Obviously, the decision to ask for a later bye is being put off until the power structure is in place for next season. Coach Gus Bradley is expected to be fired the day after the regular season ends and it's unclear if owner Shad Khan will retain general manager Dave Caldwell.
The NFL will announce the specific date when the full 2017 schedule is released in the spring. However, the teams the Jaguars will play in 2017 have already been announced.
They will have home games against Houston, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Seattle, Los Angeles, and an AFC West team with a corresponding finish in their division (it will be San Diego barring a meltdown by Denver). In addition to AFC South teams, the Jaguars' road opponents will be Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Arizona, San Francisco, and the AFC East team with a corresponding finish in their division (likely the New York Jets or Buffalo Bills).