The Jaguars will head to the West Coast on Friday for the second time this season, looking for a win that would go a long way toward winning a playoff spot.
"We'll clearly need to travel better than we did the last time out," coach Jack Del Rio said on Wednesday, obviously referring to his team's 41-0 loss in Seattle on Oct. 11.
Since then, the Jaguars have won four of their last five games and at 6-4 are one of the leaders for an AFC wild-card playoff spot. A win in San Francisco on Sunday would put the Jaguars into position to possibly clinch a playoff spot in the last of three consecutive home games that are to follow.
"We're in a situation that to stay in the hunt you have to continue to win. We have to stack some wins up. If we can stack some wins together, who knows what can happen?" Del Rio said.
The 49ers are 4-6 and coming off a 30-24 loss in Green Bay that wasn't as close as the final score would indicate. The general belief, however, is the 49ers are a lot better than their record.
"They may not have great numbers but when we look at them on film, they look really good," quarterback David Garrard said of the 49ers, 27th in the league on offense and 22nd on defense.
One number does stick out: The 49ers are sixth in the league against the run and that could turn out to be a telling number about this game because the Jaguars are sixth in the league in rushing. This game could become a test of wills.
"It's a good, solid football team that's hungry to stay alive," Del Rio said. "They have their own version of MoJo," he added, referring to the all-purpose similarities between Jaguars star running back Maurice Jones-Drew and the 49ers' Frank Gore.
Jones-Drew and Gore could turn out to be the featured performers in this game. It would be a battle between the sixth and 20th-ranked players in the league in total yards from scrimmage.
"It means a lot," Jones-Drew said of what will be a homecoming game for him. He was a high school star in the East Bay area, where he rooted for the Oakland Raiders. "It's going to be a very emotional time, but at the same time we have a game we've got to win."
Del Rio is also an Oakland native and this will be his second game in the Bay Area. He coached the Jaguars to a win in Oakland in 2005. The Jaguars have never played a regular-season game in San Francisco.
"We're going out there with one thing in mind and that's to get a win," Del Rio said. "They played two of the league's three-best teams to the wire. It's a proud, strong, physical defense. It'll be a challenge for us."
Jaguars wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker told reporters on Wednesday that he won't leave his hotel room on this West Coast trip. In Seattle, of course, Sims-Walker was deactivated due to a team violation believed to have been curfew-related.
"Lesson learned; moving on," Sims-Walker said.
Linebacker Quentin Groves, who was involved in a car accident on the way to the airport for the trip to Seattle, said he'll have a driver for his trip to the airport this time.
Del Rio said undrafted rookie free agent Julius Williams will get his first career start this Sunday when he replaces Bryan Smith, placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, at defensive end.