The end of the Jaguars' 2008 season has been delayed a few hours. Sunday's season finale in Baltimore has been moved from a one o'clock start to a 4:15 p.m. kickoff, in a game the Ravens may need to win to clinch a wild-card playoff berth.
A season of high expectations will conclude with a game for pride on Sunday. The Jaguars will be facing the league's number two defense, a hard-hitting unit led by Ray Lewis that will spare nothing against the Jaguars.
As the 2008 NFL season turns into its final regular-season week, a lot of uncertainty exists. The Tennessee Titans (number one) and Pittsburgh Steelers (number two) in the AFC and the New York Giants (number one) in the NFC have clinched first-round byes. After that, it gets dicey.
In the AFC, the Colts are locked at number five, but the AFC East and West titles are still up for grabs and the Ravens will be trying to nail down the number six spot. The Jets will host the Dolphins at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday in a game that could decide the AFC East title. The Dolphins will win the East with a win over the Jets; the Jets will win the East by beating the Dolphins, but only if the Patriots lose in Buffalo. If the Jets win and the Patriots beat the Bills, the Jets will need a Jaguars win to grab the remaining wild-card spot. With a loss, the Dolphins could also find themselves needing a Jaguars win. The Chargers host the Broncos in a winner-take-all, loser-is-out AFC West showdown.
The Patriots also need significant help to get into the playoffs. First, they must win in Buffalo on Sunday in a one o'clock game, then they must either get a win from the Jets – which would claim the AFC East title for the Patriots – or a win by the Jaguars over the Ravens, which would earn the Patriots a wild card.
In the NFC, the Carolina Panthers will clinch the South title and the conference's number two seed with a win in New Orleans or an Atlanta loss to St. Louis. Atlanta would win the South title and a number two seed with a win over the visiting Rams and a Carolina loss in New Orleans. The Falcons have already clinched a wild-card spot as the conference's number five seed.
The Vikings can clinch the North title and claim the conference's number three seed with a win over the visiting Giants or a Bears loss at Houston. The Bears would win the North if they beat the Packers tonight and the Texans on Sunday and the Vikings lose to the Giants. Arizona is the NFC West champ and will be the number four seed if the Vikings win the North, but would move up to number three if the Bears win the North.
Dallas is in the driver's seat for the final wild-card spot in the NFC. With a win in Philadelphia on Sunday, the Cowboys will clinch that number six seed. Tampa will win the six seed with a win over Oakland and a Dallas loss in Philly. The Eagles will win the final wild-card spot with a win over Dallas and losses by Tampa and Chicago. The Bears' wild-card hopes begin with a win tonight against Green Bay.