JACKSONVILLE – This is a good time to be the Jaguars, and a good time to be a Jaguars fan.
The Jaguars enter their 2023 Week 9 bye with a 6-2 record and a two-and-half-game lead in the AFC South. They share the AFC's best record with the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins. All of which leads to the question:
What should Jaguars fans want to happen in Week 9?
Senior writer John Oehser examines that question with a game-by-game look at games involving teams in the AFC South and teams contending in other AFC divisions:
- Tennessee Titans (3-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3), Thursday, 8:15 p.m. One of multiple games this week in which it's difficult to determine which outcome favors the Jaguars. The Titans are two and half games behind the Jaguars in the AFC South, but the teams have yet to play so Tennessee could make up major ground in head-to-head meetings. The Jaguars' victory over the Steelers Sunday gave them a head-to-head tiebreaker over Pittsburgh in conference seedings. Jaguars fans should maybe root for the Steelers to push the Titans to three games behind in the division.
- Dolphins (6-2) at Chiefs (6-2) in Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, 9:30 a.m. Maybe the toughest choice of the weekend for Jaguars fans. The Chiefs' Week 2 victory over the Jaguars gives them a head-to-head edge over Jacksonville, but the Dolphins – who lead the AFC East by a game over Buffalo – are 4-1 in the AFC compared to 4-2 for the Jaguars. Conference record is the second tiebreaker after head-to-head record for teams in different divisions and the Jaguars do not play the Dolphins in the regular season. Jaguars fans face a dilemma here with both likely to be in the conversation for low seeding in the postseason.
- Seattle Seahawks (5-2) at Baltimore Ravens (6-2), Sunday, Sunday, 1 p.m. This is easy. The Seahawks lead the NFC West and the Ravens lead the AFC North. Always root for other conference teams to lose interconference games.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) at Houston Texans (3-4), Sunday, 1 p.m. The Texans are tied with the Titans two and a half games behind the Jaguars in the AFC South. The Buccaneers are in the NFC South. Always root for other conference teams to lose interconference games.
- Arizona Cardinals (1-7) at Cleveland Browns (4-3), Sunday, 1 p.m. The Browns are a strong defensive team a game behind the Ravens in the AFC North. The Cardinals are in the NFC West. Always root for other conference teams to lose interconference games.
- Indianapolis Colts (3-5) at Carolina Panthers (1-6), Sunday, 4:05 p.m. The Jaguars have swept the Colts, who trail Jacksonville by three games in the AFC South. The Panthers are in the NFC South. Always root for other conference teams to lose interconference games.
- Buffalo Bills (5-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-3), Sunday, 8:20 p.m. Another tough call. The Jaguars' victory over the Bills in Week 5 gives them the tiebreaker edge, and the Jaguars play host to the Bengals – who trail Baltimore by a game and a half in the AFC North – in Week 13. Jaguars should maybe root for the Bills, but both of these teams likely will factor in the playoff chase.
- Los Angeles Chargers (3-4) at New York Jets (4-3), Monday, 8:15 p.m. Another tough call. The Chargers have started slow, but looked impressive in a victory over Chicago Monday. The Jets are one of the NFL's best defensive teams and are a game and a half behind Miami in the AFC East. Jaguars fans should maybe root for the Chargers, but – like other games in this list – this is too early to call.