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Focus on Jags, Texans

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
If the Colts and Jaguars have the same overall record and divisional record at the end of the season, what is the tie-breaker? Is it points against?

Vic: The first tie-breaker is head to head, but the Jaguars evened the season series at 1-1. The next tie-breaker is record within the division. If they each had the same record in AFC South games, the next tie-breaker would be best record in common games.

Tim from Crescent City, FL:
The Jags did what they had to do and that was win the game by winning the time of possession. That is best way to beat teams like the Colts. Would you agree?

Vic: To beat the Colts, you almost have to win time of possession. It doesn't mean you'll win the game if you win time of possession, but losing time of possession means you almost certainly will lose the game. In Sunday's win over the Colts, the Jaguars held the ball nine minutes longer than the Colts. In the loss to the Colts in Jacksonville, the Jaguars had the ball for 11 minutes more than the Colts. That's a 20-minute time of possession advantage in two games, which is unbelievable. How did the Colts win that first game? The answer is obvious: The Jaguars couldn't convert short-yardage situations, and it almost got 'em again in the second game. The bottom line is that if the Jaguars had converted their third-and-one and fourth-and-one plays in both games, they each would've been blowouts. Here's another one for you: In last year's second meeting between the two teams, the Jaguars held a three-minute advantage; 10-minute advantage in the second half. Why have the Jaguars won two of their last three games against the Colts? Because they've won time of possession and limited Peyton Manning's play time.

Roger from Jacksonville:
You told us that if we could stop the run, we'd win. Our only two losses have been when we allowed a rusher more than 100 yards. You told us that the offense would eventually be explosive. It is. You told us to believe in Byron Leftwich, and he's carried this team to the top of the brutal AFC South with an extraordinary display of poise, leadership and pure talent. You told us this team would be a contender for the division title, and it is. My question is, do you ever get tired of being right?

Vic: Roger, those were easy calls. Anyone should've seen them coming. Run the ball and stop the run and you will win. It's that simple; not always, but the overwhelming majority of the time. As far as Byron Leftwich is concerned, he gave us all a preview last season. What wasn't to like? As far as contending for the division title, all you had to do was look at the salary cap problems the Titans and Colts were having. It was easy stuff.

Nick from Annapolis, MD:
The Jags did win a great game against the Colts but they had five trips inside the red zone and only one touchdown to show for it. How do you explain this?

Vic: The explanation is easy: The most difficult task an offense confronts is to score a touchdown. A month ago, this offense was having trouble gaining yards and making first downs, let alone scoring touchdowns. Now, it is gaining a lot of yards, a lot of first downs and is scoring more touchdowns. In other words, it's improving. Red-zone and short-yardage efficiency would seem to be the next step in its growth.

Jordan from Syosset, NY:
Has this game given birth to a new rivalry?

Vic: I hope so. That's what big games do. But before you focus on the Colts as the Jaguars' new arch-rival, you might want to consider the Texans. Next year, in my opinion, the AFC South will be a Jaguars-Texans affair, and it could stay that way for awhile.

Patrick from Arlington, VA:
First, thanks for your always-quick reporting. When the game is over, we can look to to have a complete story, stats and insight. Other sites have nothing, or a mere wire story. So thank you for all you do for us fans. Second, if the NFL wants a team in LA, isn't Arizona the only possible contender? I can't imagine any other city giving up a team. Please don't let it be Jacksonville. Thoughts?

Vic: Arizona is building a new stadium. It won't be the Cardinals.

Tim from Edmond, OK:
I've been writing for quite sometime now, hoping to see my one of my questions soon. How did you know we'd win in a shoot out?

Vic: I don't know. I just say what I feel.

Bobby from Orange Park, FL:
Is Brady making a difference with his return? The line just appears to look so much stronger.

Vic: Kyle Brady made a difference in the passing game against the Colts. He made two outstanding catches; one for a touchdown on a bullet from Byron Leftwich and another of a diving variety that gained 21 yards.

Paul from Jacksonville:
I'm a huge Leftwich fan and I know he was the quarterback who got the win, but isn't it kind of hard to say he out-dueled Payton Manning? Manning had more yards, TDs and a better QB rating.

Vic: In this case, out-dueled is a metaphor for winning.

Kevin from Cocoa, FL:
OK, we won, but what would happen if we lose against the Texans and Indy wins against Kansas City? How far behind the Colts would we be if any?

Vic: Given that scenario, the Jaguars would fall a half-game behind the Colts, but the Colts still wouldn't have that critical head-to-head tie-breaker. Sunday's win was a must. I believed that and I wrote that last week. But it was about more than just games in the standings. How can you celebrate a division championship when you've lost twice to the second-place team? Backing in isn't any good. You have to win your way in. Ask the 1999 Jaguars if they felt like celebrating their AFC Central title.

Michael from Bloomington, IN:
I'm a Jacksonville native up here in the land of the Hoosiers and after watching the Indy media complain about the Colts giving the game away through penalties and turnovers I can't help but wonder what game they were watching. Can you update us on the Jags' red-zone efficiency this year and how that compares to the rest of the league?

Vic: The Jaguars have had 20 possessions inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Ten of those 20 trips have resulted in touchdowns and six have resulted in field goals. The Jaguars are tied with Houston for eighth place in the AFC in red-zone efficiency. They would also be in the middle of the league-wide pack.

Marc from Beaumaris, Wales:
It's no surprise the Colts would claim they beat themselves; it goes well with their overall misguided estimation of themselves (just like their quarterback). Maybe the truth is the Colts played as well as they can and the Jaguars could have played a whole lot better. What do you think? Are we ready for the next level?

Vic: The Colts have one of the great offenses in NFL history. At times, they are awesome. In my opinion, however, the Colts offense is so good that it doesn't leave much room for improvement. The Colts are about as good as they're going to get. The Jaguars, on the other hand, are a team in ascent.

Jimmy from Jacksonville:
Where does this win rank among the Jags' greatest moments?

Vic: It's in the top 10.

Dan from Bethesda, MD:
It was a pleasure to meet you this weekend. Actually knowing the faces behind the voice is going to give me a whole new perspective when I listen to the games and read your columns. How does the defense get a delay of game?

Vic: Colts defensive tackle Larry Tripplett was flinching on the Jaguars' fourth-and-one play at the goal line in the third quarter. He was flagged for attempting to disrupt the snap of the ball, which is a penalty that falls under the heading of delay of game. You can get a delay of game penalty for a variety of actions. For example, I've seen players flagged for spiking the ball following the conclusion of a play that did not result in a touchdown.

Doug from Jacksonville:
If the Jags are doing so bad in short-yardage situations, why won't they give the ball to Greg Jones?

Vic: Greg Jones was in the backfield with Marc Edwards on the fourth-and-one play that resulted in a fumble. Jones was going to get the ball. I guess we'll have to wait for the next game. The irony to all of this is that a few years ago I used to get e-mails from angry fans who wanted to know why Tom Coughlin took Fred Taylor out and put Stacey Mack in on goal-line and short-yardage plays. I guess Coughlin wasn't so stupid, was he?

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