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Four in a row will do it

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Justin from Jacksonville:
With five games left, what is the bare minimum we have to do to win the division? Just beat two out of three AFC South teams left, right?

Vic: I'm not clairvoyant, though, I must admit, my record for forecasting outcomes in recent weeks has been pretty strong. What I can tell you is this: I believe very strongly that if the Jaguars win their next four games, they'll go to Houston for the final game of the regular season as the AFC South champion. Four in a row, of course, is a tall order.

Pat from Jacksonville:
Has a player ever flipped out on you like Derek Anderson did on Monday night? By the way, if the Jaguars should fall behind on the scoreboard this weekend, they better look extremely sad and angry on the sidelines.

Vic: I just don't see the exchange between Anderson and the reporter as being that big of a deal. I've had subjects on whom I've reported take exception with a question I've asked or a story I've written. I can remember that a long time ago a high school basketball coach refused to talk to me after a game; I think he threw me out of the locker room. What's the big deal with the Anderson thing? The reporter asked a question and Anderson took exception to it. So what? Now, Will McDonough and Raymond Clayborn, that's a big deal. One punch and the guy was out like a light.

Mike from Syracuse, NY:
So Drew Brees won SI's "Sportsman of the Year." If you had to give out a sportsman of the year award, who would you give it to?

Vic: I'd give it to James Harrison, for playing the game the way it was meant to be played.

Will from Denver, CO:
What on Earth has happened to the Denver Broncos?

Vic: They're 30th in rushing, 30th in rush-defense, 20th in pass-defense and 27th in total defense. They're 29th in sacks on defense and last in the league in points allowed, but they're fourth in pass-offense and near the top of the league in every pass-offense category, yet, they drafted a quarterback with a first-round pick most personnel guys considered to be recklessly high for that player. Needless to say, they didn't know their team very well.

Jack from Jacksonville:
"T.O. has actually been very effective and easily the best weapon on that offense." Nothing like being the best weapon on one of the worst offenses in the league. Who doesn't want a teammate that calls his team terrible? Just saying.

Vic: That same Bengals team won the AFC North last season without T.O. Just saying.

Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA:
After looking at the AFC South schedules, it appears the Titans will play the major role in which AFC South team wins. Do you agree?

Vic: I absolutely agree. Four of the Titans' final five games will be against AFC South teams, which means they'll have the most opportunities of anybody in the division to win big games. Don't count them out. If Kerry Collins can make a comeback from his calf injury and if he should get hot, the Titans certainly have the schedule to make a run at the title.

Tim from Jacksonville:
When voting for the Pro Bowl on the NFL site and you finish, it then takes you to a page that actually reads, "To ensure your favorite players make it to the Pro Bowl, vote as much as you'd like." Even the NFL doesn't care that it's a popularity contest.

Vic: I'm not crazy about that. It means the players that have the most unemployed fans, who have the time to sit at home all day and vote, have an unfair advantage. The whole Pro Bowl thing is goofy. We know who the good players are and I know there are four on this team, in my opinion, that are deserving of votes: Maurice Jones-Drew, Marcedes Lewis, Montell Owens and Terrance Knighton.

George from Jacksonville:
On your comments about fans voting for selections to the Pro Bowl, remember who the customer is, the stupid, ignorant fans. They are the ones who are making it possible for you and others to enjoy a pretty good career.

Vic: Please, don't play the I-pay-your-salary card, OK? That is so lame and whiny. That's like saying garbage men should thank us for throwing stuff out.

Justin from Jacksonville:
David Garrard has cleaned up his inconsistent play, for the most part, but with his lack of crunch-time performance, could that be just another reason to bring another quarterback in?

Vic: Lack of crunch-time performance? What do you call what he did against Houston and Cleveland in consecutive games? Justin, this is not a video game. This is a real-life, human confrontation and sometimes the other guy wins, which is what makes it feel so good when you win. Try feeling good, Justin. Remember the crunch-time successes, too.

Jon from Columbia, TN:
In regards to James Harrison, is there any current rule that says a team can't pay a player's fines? Would it be possible for a team and player to sign a contract where the team paid the fines the player incurred or gave him a bonus per year equal to incurred fines?

Vic: Players must pay their fines. Fines are deducted from their paychecks before they even get them. If a team wishes to reimburse a player for the fines he's paid, they'd have to do a new contract with him and, of course, all contracts must be filed with the league and that's where it would get a little sticky. For example, if I was an owner and after the season I called a press conference to announce a new contract for a player such as, let's say, James Harrison, and if that new contract provided a dollar amount equal to the amount Harrison had been fined during the season, the commissioner would likely view the new contract as a circumvention of the rules and the commissioner would likely void the contract and probably fine me. If I was an owner, however, I'd have enough money to pay that fine and I'm ornery enough to do something like that, just for fun, of course.

Anthony from New Jersey:
The NFC West looks like it will have a champion under .500 this year. Do you think the NFL should make a rule that you have to be at least .500 to make the playoffs?

Vic: No, I don't. I like quirky stuff. I don't need everything to be right and just. The 1996 Jaguars are the perfect example. That was not a good team, but it got hot at the right time and it nearly made it to the Super Bowl. We need underdogs. Cinderella stories are good for the game. Why do you want to legislate against them?

Chris from Jacksonville:
Based on your hype of the upcoming game, I'll be heading to LP Field for my first Jaguars away game. What do you think of the stadium and game-day atmosphere?

Vic: I love LP Field. It's one of my favorite stadiums because it has a real football feel to it. Some places just have that football feel and LP Field is one of them. I like Nashville and the fans in Nashville, and I like the way the Titans play. They play football the way it should be played. You're gonna have a great time and I believe you're gonna see a great game.

Tommy from Jacksonville:
Do all coaches have to sit on some kind of NFL committee? If so, what does Bill Belichick sit on?

Vic: He's chairman of the fashion committee.

Michael from St. Augustine, FL:
Wishful thinking or is Hines Ward right? "We're going to keep playing the way we always have been playing. If they fine us, they fine us. It's football. I don't care what type of rules you do, you can't protect (against) the physicality of this game. It's always going to be a physical ballgame."

Vic: The Steelers aren't getting it. They wanna play Steeler football and what they don't understand is that the days of Steeler football are over. The league won't allow it and the Steelers are you know what into the wind. They wanna get out to a comfortable lead and then sit on that lead, as they always have, and that's not the way the game is played these days. It almost cost them in Buffalo, where they got out to a 13-0 lead and had the game in control until Harrison got hit with a roughing-the-passer penalty that sustained a Buffalo drive and kick-started a Bills rally to tie the game. Steeler football has always been protect a lead by running the ball and being physical and that game is gone. Hines Ward has to know that's true.

Matthew from Haverhill, MA:
Who do you like this week, Steelers or Ravens, Patriots or Jets?

Vic: I like the home team in both games, the Ravens and Patriots.

Lance from Jacksonville:
I saw on that Los Angeles is interested in the Vikings and rumors of even the Chargers. Are those realistic options for Los Angeles?

Vic: The Vikings' future in Minneapolis and the Chargers' future in San Diego are in the hands of the people that will decide whether or not those teams will get new stadiums in their respective towns. The decision in Minneapolis is due in January, I believe. Without a new stadium deal, the Vikings will be goneski. If the Vikings and Chargers get new stadiums, then the vultures will start circling somewhere else.

Mitch from St. Augustine, FL:
Why all this talk about moving a team, any team, to Los Angeles? You'd think two failed attempts to hold onto an NFL team would be enough for the league to consider L.A. a bust.

Vic: Aren't you being a little naïve, Mitch? When you have nearly six million TV households, you get multiple opportunities. I think we should focus all of our attention on not failing in our attempt to hold onto an NFL team, instead of looking down our nose at the failed attempts of others.

Adrian from Inglewood, CA:
Even though we are tied for first in the division, I don't see a credible win so far this year.

Vic: I don't need stats or credible wins to tell me what I see. I see a team on the rise. I see a team that's a notch beneath playoff-caliber and what we're going to find out in the next few games is whether or not the Jaguars can take their game up that one more notch.

Kevin from Denver, CO:
Vic, please stop using the word "baby" in your articles. I don't think I can read another post that has the word "baby" in it. It really makes you sound old and wishing you were still young.

Vic: Now I'm gonna use it even more, baby.

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