The Jaguars may have learned from last year's experience.
It was week 14 of the 2005 season and the opponent was the undefeated Indianapolis Colts at Alltel Stadium. The Jaguars locker room bristled with enthusiasm and spicy comments. On game day, however, it was the Colts who made all of the noise, as Peyton Manning and company held a 26-3 lead deep into the fourth quarter.
A year later, the Colts are the Jaguars' opponent for another week-14 game at Alltel Stadium and, though the Colts may not be undefeated, the game has even greater importance. The Jaguars need a win to stay in the playoffs chase.
"I felt good last year and I feel good this year.
There's only one way to know; go play the game," quarterback David Garrard said.
The Jaguars are hoping the outcome will be dramatically different from last year's game, which might be the reason the team's locker room was distinctly different on Wednesday than it was on the same day a year ago. To say the mood in the Jaguars locker room was subdued as the team began practices, would be an understatement.
"I think we're in the mode that this is business; not up tight, it's just business," wide receiver Ernest Wilford said.
Head coach Jack Del Rio is so firm in his one-game-at-a-time approach that the calendar in his office may not have dates on it beyond Dec. 10. Call it tight or call it focused but, clearly, the Jaguars locker room was more subdued than it was in any other week this season.
"It's a very important game. Winning is a necessity," Wilford said.
All indications are there will be no war of words this week. All indications are there won't be many words at all.
"Everybody knows what's at stake. It's beat the Colts," Garrard said.
Garrard was the starting quarterback for last year's week-14 game. He was in his second consecutive start of the season and the Jaguars' game plan would seem to have been protective of him.
This Sunday, Garrard will start his seventh consecutive game, which means he will have started the majority of the Jaguars' games this season. Based on his performance over the last three games, there would seem to be no reason to protect him.
"We're going to come out throwing," Del Rio joked when a reporter mentioned that the Colts have the worst run-defense in the league. The 5.1 yards per rush the Colts have allowed is one of the worst averages in NFL history.
Del Rio did his best to ignore such information.
"We're not interested in winning the statistical battle. We're interested in winning the game," Del Rio said.