Beat the big boys

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Don't try to find ways to sneak into the playoffs. The Jaguars did that last season. Do it with a bang. Beat the big boys. Don't knock on the door, kick it down. Let everyone know this is a legitimate playoff team.

What, you ask? What is this rant about?

Here's what it's about.

The Jaguars are sitting on five wins. Ten wins, of course, will almost always get a team into the playoffs, so let's make 10 wins our standard for getting into the playoffs this season.

If they beat the Texans, Bills, Dolphins, Titans and one more team, the Jaguars will make it into the playoffs. Count on it. That, however, isn't good enough for me. The Jaguars did that, sort of, last season and all it did was cause people to view the Jaguars as a team that sneaked into the playoffs on the strength of a weak schedule.

What's left of this year's schedule is certainly not weak. The Giants are just ahead. So are the Colts, Patriots and Chiefs. Yeah, win those games. Beat the big boys and become a legitimate postseason team.

That's my formula for becoming the hot team in December, which is the strategy that has carried so many teams to the Super Bowl. It's what got it done for the Steelers last season.

Am I shooting too high? I don't think so. The Giants, Colts and Patriots games are all at Alltel Stadium. Hey, if you can't beat the big boys at home, how are you going to beat them on the road in January?

Those high-profile teams make the Jaguars' finishing schedule rugged, but that's just what this team needs. The Steelers won eight in a row to win the Super Bowl, and only two of those games were at home; none of them in the postseason.

Championship teams have usually been hardened. Maybe the Colts and Broncos have been hardened by past failures. Maybe the Patriots have been hardened by big wins. The Jaguars will be hardened by this schedule, but only if they defeat it.

The easy path will accomplish little. Beat the top teams and point to a season of wins against premier teams. The Jaguars didn't have the opportunity to do that last season. They will this year.

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