The Jaguars start training camp on July 26. To help pass the time, I’m breaking down all 16 regular-season matchups and offering a prediction in the game.
Game 2: vs. New England
When: Sept. 16 (4:25 p.m. kickoff)
Last season’s record: 13-3, first in the AFC East, lost to Philadelphia in Super Bowl 52
Coach: Bill Belichick, 19th season (214-74, 27-10 in playoffs); 24th overall (250-118, 28-11 in playoffs)
Major additions: OG Isaiah Wynn (first round), RB Sony Michel (first round), WR Jordan Matthews (free agency), OT Trenton Brown (trade), DE Adrian Clayborn (free agency) and RB Jeremy Hill (free agency)
Major departures: WR Brandin Cooks, LT Nate Solder, CB Malcolm Butler, RB Dion Lewis and WR Danny Amendola
Previous week opponent: vs. Houston
Projected records: Patriots 1-0, Jaguars 0-1
The main storyline: The Jaguars look to avoid an 0-2 start in a rematch of the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots, who are without suspended receiver Julian Edelman.
The pick: Jaguars 30-17. The Jaguars open up a 24-3 halftime lead in front of a frenzied crowd thanks to a dominating defensive effort that features two takeaways and four sacks. The Jaguars play turnover free and run for over 225 yards with Leonard Fournette gaining 140. Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack forces and recovers a fumble late to seal the victory.
The fallout: The Jaguars rebound tremendously from a season-opening loss at the Giants and earn a potential tie breaker over the Patriots in the playoff race. Every team in the AFC South is 1-1.
(You can email Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)