The Jacksonville Jaguars play their final regular season game at Alltel Stadium on Sunday, December 24 against the New England Patriots. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. EST. The Jaguars, who have won eight of their last nine home games, are tied with the fifth-best record in the AFC at 8-6 with two weeks remaining. The Jaguars can clinch a playoff berth with wins in their final two games.
The Jaguars concluded AFC South play with a 24-17 loss last week at Tennessee. The Jaguars dominated the game, but lost as a result of three turnovers that were returned for touchdowns. The Jaguars controlled the ball for a frachise-record 44:22 and outgained the Titans 396 to 98, including 202 rushing yards. It was the second consecutive game with 200-plus rushing yards as the Jaguars recorded a team-record 375 rushing yards against Indianapolis on 12/10.
The Jaguars enter the game with the second-ranked defense in the NFL (3rd rushing, 7th passing), the highest ranking through 14 games since 1999 when they ranked second. The defense ranks second in the NFL by allowing only 12.8 offensive points per game and leads the NFL by allowing only 9.1 points per game in the first seven home games. The Jaguars are the only team in the NFL to not allow 20-plus points at home this season. LB Daryl Smith leads the club with a career-high 148 tackles while CB Rashean Mathis ranks third in the NFL with seven interceptions. The Jaguars own the NFL's second-best rushing attack as they average 163.8.yards on the ground led by the NFL's second-best running back duo of Fred Taylor (224-1,120, 5 TDs) and rookie Maurice Jones-Drew (135-764, 10 TDs). The Jaguars have rushed for 100-plus yards in 10 consecutive games, the second-best streak in the NFL, and set a franchise record with four 200-plus rushing games. Jones-Drew leads all rookies and ranks fifth in the NFL with 13 touchdowns.
The Jaguars and Patriots will be meeting for the seventh time overall and the fourth time in the regular season. The Patriots lead the regular season series, 3-0, and have won two of the three postseason games. This will be the sixth time in seven games the teams will meet in December or later.
PARITY IN THE AFC WITH TWO WEEKS REMAINING: The AFC will have a tight race for the postseason as 12 teams currently have records of .500 or better, including eight teams with winning records. Jacksonville is tied with Cincinnati, Denver and the New York Jets as they all have a 8-6 record. Buffalo, Tennessee, Kansas City and Pittsburgh are tied at 7-7. The Jaguars face the most difficult schedule among the top eight contenders as their final two opponents have a combined record of 17-11.
JAGUARS RANK AMONG NFL'S BEST FROM 2005-06: The Jaguars have a 20-10 mark (66.7 pct.) in the last two seasons under head coach Jack Del Rio, tied for the sixth-best mark in the NFL and fourth-best in the AFC. In addition, the Jaguars are one of only six NFL teams with winning records in 2004, 2005 and 2006 (Indianapolis, New England, San Diego, Denver, Seattle).
JAGUARS AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS: The Jaguars rank 2nd in total defense (3rd rushing, 7th passing) and 12th in offense (2nd rushing, 27th passing) ... CB Rashean Mathis is tied for third in the NFL with seven interceptions ... RB Fred Taylor ranks 5th in the AFC and 10th in the NFL with 1,120 rushing yards ... Taylor ranks 4th in the AFC and 9th in the NFL with 1,336 yards from scrimmage ... RB/KR Maurice Jones-Drew leads all rookies and ranks 4th in the AFC and 5th in the NFL for non-kickers with 78 points (13 TDs) ... Jones-Drew ranks 12th in AFC and 26th in the NFL with 764 rushing yards ... Jones-Drew ranks 10th in the AFC and 23rd in the NFL with 1,143 yards from scrimmage ... Jones-Drew ranks 3rd in the NFL with a 27.6 kickoff return average ... K Josh Scobee ranks 2nd in the AFC and 4th in the NFL with 110 points ... Scobee leads the NFL with 20 touchbacks ... DE Bobby McCray ranks 11th in the AFC and tied for 16th in the NFL with 9.0 sacks ...
JAGUARS SET FRANCHISE RECORD FOR SINGLE-SEASON RUSHING YARDS: The Jaguars set a single-season franchise record for rushing yards last week at Tennessee as they increased their 2006 total to 2,293, surpassing the previous high of 2,102 yards in 1998. The Jaguars rushed for 200-plus yards for the second consecutive game and third time in the last four games as they registered 202 yards on the ground against the Titans. The Jaguars rushed for a franchise-record 375 yards against Indianapolis on 12/10, surpassing the previous high of 244 on 12/3/00 against Cleveland. The Jaguars had the record in the first half as they rushed for 251 yards. The 375 rushing yards were the most in the NFL since Cincinnati had 407 against Denver on October 22, 2000.
POUNDING THE ROCK: The Jaguars rank second in the NFL in rushing with a 163.8 average per game in 2006 and sixth from 2003-2006. The Jaguars have rushed for 100-plus yards in 10 consecutive games, the second-best streak in the NFL (Atlanta, 13). The Jaguars have rushed for 100-plus yards in 12 of 14 games, including a franchise record 375 yards against Indianapolis on 12/10, 150-plus yards in 9 of 14 games and 200-plus yards in a team-record four games. There have been 15 200-plus rushing games in team history.