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Friday update: "It's important we keep momentum…"


JACKSONVILLE – Rest won't be the way this week.

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson made that clear Wednesday, and he reiterated the point to the media Friday: All healthy players will play Sunday.

The goal is to win.

"It's important we keep momentum, keep the streak going if we can, and play the guys that are healthy," Pederson said Friday as the AFC South-leading Jaguars (7-8) prepared to play the Houston Texans (2-12-1) at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Jaguars, winners of three consecutive games, will play the Tennessee Titans (7-9) in the regular-season finale next Sunday at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The winner of that game will win the South, with the Jaguars winning the South if the teams tie.

Because Sunday’s Jaguars-Texans game has no bearing on the South race, some have speculated Pederson could rest starters. The Titans declared multiple front-line players out before a loss to Dallas Thursday, their sixth consecutive loss after a 7-3 start.

Pederson said that absolutely won't be the Jaguars' approach Sunday.

"It means a lot to this organization, to where we are as a group," Pederson said. "We're a young group that is learning how to win football games. Maybe one day I would treat it differently, but I think right now this is the right approach."

Pederson as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles rested several front-line players in season-ending loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the Eagles' 2017 Super Bowl season.

"When I rested those guys in Philly, it was the last week of the regular season," Pederson said. "We had already clinched the No. 1 seed. We had already clinched the NFC East. We haven't clinched anything yet."

The Jaguars, after a 2-6 start, have won five of seven games. They can win the AFC South with a loss Sunday and a victory over the Titans because that would mean the Jaguars finishing 8-9 with the Titans finishing 7-10. If the Jaguars win their last two games, they will finish 9-8 – two games ahead of Tennessee.

The Jaguars can't clinch Sunday. If the Jaguars lose to the Texans Sunday and the Titans win the finale, the Titans will win the South at 8-9 with the Jaguars at 7-10. If the Jaguars win Sunday and lose to Tennessee, the teams will tie at 8-8 – and the Titans will win the division because of a 4-2 AFC South record compared to the Jaguars' 3-3 division record.

"These next two games for us are meaningful football games," Pederson said. "They have postseason implications. We have a young football team that we're still trying to teach how to win games."

The Jaguars can make the playoffs as a wild card if they beat Houston and lose to Tennessee IF New England beats Miami in Week 17, AND Seattle beats the New York Jets in Week 17, AND the Jets beat Miami in Week 18, AND Buffalo beats New England in Week 18 AND Pittsburgh loses to Cincinnati or Baltimore in Week 17 of 18.

"Our sense of urgency has to ramp up each week," Pederson said. "The attention to detail, focus – things that we talk about every week – just sort of get magnified as you get closer to the postseason."


  • Pederson on Friday also discussed veteran right guard Brandon Scherff, who has played through an abdomen issue in recent weeks and who re-entered a 19-3 victory over the New York Jets last Thursday one series after sustaining a sprained ankle. "He's a unique individual," Pederson said of the five-time Pro Bowl selection who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent from Washington last offseason. "You saw it last week in New York. He had that ankle sprain and he's been dealing with other issues, and he went back in the game. You want to a little cautious with guys like that, but at the same time if he wants to go and if he can go and if he can't hurt himself anymore, I've got to let him play. He's in a good spot. We'll keep managing that day by day."


  • Outside linebacker Travon Walker was among six Jaguars players listed as questionable Friday on the team's final injury report of the week. Walker, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, missed the last two games after sustaining a high-ankle sprain in a Week 14 victory over the Tennessee Titans. "Travon's doing really well," Pederson said. "Optimistic, and it looks like he's on track to playing Sunday." Other Jaguars players listed as questionable Friday: defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi (ankle), quarterback Trevor Lawrence (toe), long snapper Ross Matiscik (back), Scherff (abdomen/ankle) and safety Andrew Wingard (ankle). Pederson also said he is optimistic about Fatukasi playing Sunday after missing the Jets game. "He's had a good couple of days," Pederson said. Lawrence has played in the last three games with the toe issue and Wingard

New field, same hard work. Swipe through photos of the Jaguars Wednesday practice at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville ahead of the Week 17 game against the Houston Texans.

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