Market Size Could Hamper Jaguars' Primetime TV Schedule In '18
The NFL is expected to announce its '18 regular-season schedule later this week, and the Jaguars’ surge last season that saw them reach the AFC Championship Game "would usually slot them" for multiple primetime games, but they may be denied the usual 4-5 such games that are "given to teams of their caliber," according to Ryan O'Halloran of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Three factors "could dictate" the Jaguars not receiving a large number of primetime games: market size, tradition and offensive star power. The Jaguars "represent a conundrum for networks: They should be interested because they are a good team, but can they attract enough viewers?" The Jaguars have played 10 Thursday night, 11 Sunday night and 15 Monday night games in franchise history, but they have "appeared only once on NBC’s Sunday night package" since it started in '06. They have "not appeared on ESPN’s Monday night schedule since two home games" in '11. The Jaguars’ schedule "strengthens their case" for playing on Sunday, Monday or Thursday night as the team will "play home games" against the Patriots and Steelers and play the Cowboys on the road. Overall, they "play a combined nine games against teams in top-10 television markets." Placing the Jaguars in primetime against a marquee opponent "figures to be the best route because everybody wins -- the league gets to showcase a rising team and the network gets a big market" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 4/16).
COMING SOON: THE MMQB's Peter King writes his guess is the NFL "would like" to have the schedule "released late this week." King: "My money’s on Thursday." Part of the reason for that is the NFL "doesn’t want the schedule release to conflict with the draft next week, so they’ll work hard to get it done this week and maximize the spotlight on the schedule" (SI.com, 4/16).