JACKSONVILLE – The stakes are clear and high.
And as Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson sees it, motivation shouldn't be a problem for the Jaguars Sunday.
"We're playing for our lives," he said.
The Jaguars (5-8), winners of three of their last five games, will play host to the Dallas Cowboys (10-3) at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. in a game with playoff implications for both teams.
"We're playing to stay alive," Pederson said.
The Jaguars trail the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans (7-6) by two games with four remaining. Because the Jaguars beat the Titans last Sunday in Nashville, they can win the division if the teams tie and if the Jaguars beat the Titans in the regular-season finale in Jacksonville on January 8.
The Jaguars also will visit the New York Jets (7-6) and Houston Texans (1-11-1) before that Titans game, with Sunday's game the first of a key final month.
"This is going to be a great atmosphere," Pederson said. "I can't stress it enough: If you don't get up for these games against good opponents, you might need to think about doing something else as coaches and players. These are great games to coach in, great games to play in.
"I really don't think it's going take a whole lot to keep the energy up in this one."
The Jaguars have beaten AFC division leaders in two of their last three games. They beat the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens, 28-27, three weeks ago and then lost to the Detroit Lions in Detroit before this past Sunday's victory over Tennessee.
"They've been focused, they've been very attentive, they've been energetic in practice," Pederson said of players' preparation this week. "The biggest thing this time of year is the health of the team with everybody being nicked up. That has been my focus is making sure everybody's ready to go that way."
- Jaguars rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker was listed as questionable Friday on the week's final injury report. He sustained a high-ankle sprain against Tennessee. "It's still day-to-day with him," Pederson said. "We'll try to move him around a little bit and see how he feels." Walker was listed as not practicing Friday although he attended practice "to just get moving," he said, adding: "I'm just going to take it day by day and we're going to see." Pederson mentioned defensive linemen Dawuane Smoot and Arden Key when discussing options if Walker misses Sunday, also mentioning outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson. "We've got options, but we'll see how he feels," Pederson said of Walker.
- Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence practiced limited for a second consecutive day Friday with a toe injury and was listed as questionable on the injury report; he started and played the entire game against Tennessee after missing Wednesday and Thursday practice last week. Jaguars safety Andre Cisco (shoulder) practiced full for a third consecutive day and is expected to play after missing the last two games. Four other players also were listed as questionable for the Jaguars Friday: Safety Andrew Wingard (shoulder), right guard Brandon Scherff (abdomen), cornerback Darious Williams (abdomen) and linebacker Chad Muma (ankle).