You know the routine. Get the garbage bag and start picking up the paper everyone has feverishly torn from their presents without the slightest regard for the effort that went into wrapping them. Hey, if I had the money I've spent on all of the Christmas wrapping paper I've picked up through all of these years … all right, all right, I won't spoil it for the kids. Besides, I have a tee time this afternoon and there are a couple of games on TV later in the day, so, you know, it's gonna be a merry Christmas.
These are the thoughts of a football writer whose wife just had the dog's picture taken with Santa Claus.
• Go Steelers! Beat the Ravens. That's what every Jaguars fans needs; a Steelers win over the Ravens.
• This postseason holds more intrigue than any I can remember in a long time.
• The difference between where the Jaguars are now and where they were a year ago is Byron Leftwich. Last year, he was a rookie. Now, he's an accomplished veteran. That's how quickly he's progressed.
• Rumors linking Jack Del Rio to the vacant head coach's job at LSU certainly won't hurt his reputation as one of the game's up-and-coming coaches. They might even convince Wayne Weaver that he needs to add a few years to his coach's contract.
• Rumors are a good thing, but nothing succeeds like winning.
• If the Jaguars make the playoffs, they will begin next season as a legitimate Super Bowl favorite, and not just some pie-in-the-face pick intended to get people's attention.
• A premium pass-rusher and a left tackle top the list of the Jaguars' offseason needs.
• Next season's Jaguars-Steelers game will be on Monday Night Football.
• If the Eagles, Patriots and Steelers had each finished the season with one loss, and there were no playoffs and the commissioner arbitrarily decided two of those teams would play in the Super Bowl, the country's outrage would be such that Congress would have to intervene.
• Why doesn't college football get it?
• Fred Taylor is one of my favorite all-time players. The more I cover him, the more I like him.
• I really do like Christmas.
• Merry Christmas to all of jaguars.com's readers, and especially to my "Ask Vic" friends who entertain me with their thoughts and questions, even though I can only use a very small percentage of them in my column.
Now, here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Texans.
- Play postseason football—That means play as they did in Green Bay; run the ball, stop the run, win the turnovers battle.
- Deny big plays—Andre Johnson is the Texans' big-play guy. Watch him.
- Rush the passer—The Texans have offensive line problems.
- Attack on offense—Houston is 27th in the league on defense. There's no excuse for being held to six points.
- Eyes off the scoreboard—Let the fans worry about Baltimore at Pittsburgh.
- Feel the energy—It's Christmas and the Jaguars are in the playoff hunt. Does it get any better than this?
- Don't shy away from contact—Regardless of the Donovin Darius controversy, football is a collision sport.
- Reduce penalties—Too many flags the last two weeks.
- Improve third down—It's not good enough on either side of the ball.
- Know who you are—This is identity time for teams headed to the playoffs.