Jack Del Rio deflected questions at Monday's press conference about Sunday's play-calling and what needs to happen for the Jaguars to make the playoffs. Instead, Del Rio dedicated all of his attention to this Sunday's game in Green Bay.
"Do you believe that if your team wins all of its remaining games it will make the playoffs?" Del Rio was asked.
"I believe our focus needs to be squarely on the Green Bay Packers, then we'll worry about that," Del Rio said.
A win over the Packers could put the Jaguars (7-6) in the driver's seat for a wild-card playoff berth. The Bills (7-6) are at Cincinnati, the Ravens (8-5) are at Indianapolis and the Broncos (8-5) are at Kansas City. The Jaguars figure to gain ground on at least one – maybe all three – of their wild-card competitors. It's also to the Jaguars' advantage that they have defeated the Bills and Broncos, which gives the Jaguars a tie-breaker advantage.
Sunday's game in Green Bay will mark the second big-game atmosphere in the last three weeks. "This next game is the biggest game on the schedule for us," Del Rio said.
"Lambeau Field, Brett Favre; what an exciting opportunity. I'm looking for guys who love football," he added.
Del Rio needs guys who love to play football in cold weather, too. Kickoff for Sunday's game was moved back from one p.m. to 4:15 p.m., which means temperatures are expected to drop into the 20's for the start of the game and the Jaguars have never won a game when the temperature has been lower than 29 degrees.
"It doesn't matter if it's on concrete in the parking lot. Good teams find a way to win," Del Rio said. "I think it's a mentality," he added of playing in the cold. "I think you go play."
The Jaguars threw 45 passes in their 22-3 win over Chicago on Sunday, despite the Bears' 27th ranking in run-defense. After the game, Del Rio said the Jaguars turned hard to the pass because the Bears were crowding the line of scrimmage with eight defenders.
Del Rio said the 45-28 pass-run imbalance did not bother him. "Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Part of what makes this sport so great is there is so much strategy involved and everybody thinks they have the right way. As far as addressing a particular play-call, I wouldn't care to address that today," Del Rio said.
"Game balls" were given to defensive tackle John Henderson and linebacker Daryl Smith for their play on defense, to offensive right tackle Maurice Williams for his performance against Bears pass-rusher Adewale Ogunleye, and to special teams coverage man Juran Bolden.
Del Rio singled out rookies Reggie Williams, Smith, Brian Jones, Ernest Wilford, Greg Jones and Josh Scobee, and talked about the officiating crew's propensity for calling penalties (21 combined).
"There was no doubt in my mind we were ready to play," Del Rio said of his team's state of mind coming off its heartbreaking loss to Pittsburgh.