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Jaguars must get there


Colts defensive line coach John Teerlinck reportedly did a slash-the-throat gesture to the RCA Dome crowd as Byron Leftwich limped from the field on Sunday. Is it possible Teerlinck wasn't doing slash-the-throat but was actually giving the we-choked gesture, as in, we choked two years in a row against the Patriots?

Everybody's angry at Teerlinck for being a mean-spirited guy. Well, I'm not. I like mean-spirited guys because this is a mean-spirited game and the combination of the two makes for really good writing. Like the sportswriter in "The Natural" said, "You're gonna make me a good story."

Oh, yeah, Teerlinck's gonna make me a good story during the second week of December, as we begin the hype for the Colts-Jaguars game that will conclude the festivities. I can wait until then.

Don't get me wrong. I'm gonna circle it on my calendar. Actually, I can't wait. I wish it was this week. Wouldn't that be great?

It usually, however, doesn't work that way in this league. Rematches usually require a month or so wait. In this case, it's a three-month wait, and that's what has me concerned. I don't want anything to screw it up.

I wanna make sure that when the Colts get ready to make their visit to Alltel Stadium, the AFC South title is hanging in the balance and both teams' eyes are focused on the postseason.

Wouldn't that be great? What do you think the atmosphere in Alltel will be like on Dec. 11 if that's the case? It'll be like last year's Steelers game, without the yellow towels. This one will be all teal.

OK, that's for then and we can't make it happen by wishing for it. It'll only be that way if the Jaguars take care of all of the business on their schedule between now and then.

There are key home games against Denver, Cincinnati, Houston and Baltimore. There are critical trips to Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tennessee, Arizona and Cleveland. If they are to be in position on Dec. 11 to avenge their week-two loss to the Colts, the Jaguars must win the vast majority of those games because, frankly, I don't see the Colts losing many between now and then.

The Jaguars' pursuit of "then" begins this week in New York with a critical game against the Jets. The Jaguars need to recover emotionally from their loss to the Colts. The Jaguars need to get Byron Leftwich through another week without getting killed and with a win under his belt to help keep the "wolves" from howling again. The "wolves" are there, always. Winning, however, silences them.

A win is important because it would keep the Jaguars in contact with the Colts. A win would also give the Jaguars an edge over the Jets, should the two find themselves competing against each other for a wild-card spot.

This is a big one because it'll be followed by home games against Denver and Cincinnati, both of whom would also be potential wild-card competitors. This is a great time to get on a roll.

Yeah, Dec. 11 has been circled on everyone's calendar, for all of the mean-spirited reasons that'll make writing about it so exciting and easy. Now, the Jaguars have to get there. That's the first challenge.

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