Strange. Unpredictable. Shocking. These are a few words that we can use to describe the National Football League thus far this season.
Most analysts, columnists, writers, reporters, fans and anyone else who follows the sport got it all wrong during the off–season.
We all got it wrong.
One of the teams that held high expectations was the Jacksonville Jaguars. Most predicted that the Jags would give the Colts a tough time for control over the AFC South, but the Titans surprised us all with their total domination of the division and the league.
And that is only one shocking occurrence within the league.
The AFC is wide open. Anyone can slide into a playoff spot at this point.
Well, let’s take the Bengals, Chiefs, and Raiders out of the playoff picture. It will be more difficult for them to make it in than it will be for the Jags. Miracles are not going for a dime–a–dozen here.
With those three teams out, the Jags will have to hope, pray, wish…well you get the point; that the Chargers win the West, the Bills win the East, the Steelers take the North and we will assume that the Titans will continue to dominate the South.
If these things occur, the major priority on the to–do–list of the Jaguars will be to end the season with a record of 11-5. They could possibly (but not likely) make it into the playoffs with a record of 10-6.
If they go 10-6, the problem that they would have would be a greater likelihood of having to deal with tiebreakers. All four of the Jaguars’ losses have been handed to them by AFC teams; for that reason alone, they do not want a tiebreaker situation.
If they go 11-5 and IF the Browns completely fall apart through the remainder of their season, the Jags will have one more major hurdle to get over; they MUST win against the Ravens.
Yes, the Jags NEED wins over the Texans and the Colts to retain their lead over these two tough opponents in case of a tiebreaker, but their last game of the season (against the Ravens) is a MUST win. The Ravens will likely be one of the contenders for a wild-card spot.
If the Jags enter into a tiebreaker with the Broncos, they have the Jags have the advantage. Therefore, if all of these things occur, the Patriots and Jets will be the main competition with the Dolphins waiting for a failure from any team to slide into the picture.
So, let’s simplify all of this.
1) The Jags need to go 11-5 (they can only lose one game in the remaining nine).
2) Division leaders need to be: Steelers, Bills, Chargers and Titans (Titans are not a need, but it is likely to happen).
3) The Browns need to lose more games than the Jaguars.
4) The Jags MUST win against the Ravens.
5) The Jags need to win against the Colts and Texans.
If these things can all begin, to come together for the Jags, they will still have a chance, albeit a small one. They must begin to play with a sense of urgency, starting today against the Bengals.
The team has little to no room for errors. Even IF they can go 9-0 the remainder of the season, the Jags may still need a little help from a much higher power.
It looks grim, but we have seen much stranger things happen this season.
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