JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser checks in with a last look before the Jaguars play the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
Jaguars (4-8), Colts (6-6).
The fourth quarter begins now, and it's a quarter that will define a lot about the Jaguars' 2015 regular season.
No, the final four weeks of the season may not decide the Jaguars' postseason fate, because that likely already has been decided. But in terms of how this season is perceived?
Well, in that respect what happens in the final four games is big, and what happens Sunday against the Colts is a big part of it.
The Jaguars on Sunday have a chance to snap a six-game losing streak to their AFC South rivals, and they have a chance to deal the Colts' postseason chances a serious blow. They also have a chance to win a December game against a contending team in front of their home crowd.
That's something the Jaguars haven't done in a long time. A very long time.
Why do the Jaguars have a chance? They're playing well offensively, and they're starting to play better than "well" offensively at times. They scored six touchdowns last week, with quarterback Blake Bortles throwing five touchdown passes and Allen Robinson catching three of them.
There are a lot of good signs for this team, particularly on offense.
That brings us to the defense, and that's a concern entering Sunday. The Jaguars allowed five offensive touchdowns in a 42-39 loss to Tennessee Sunday, and had one of their worst defensive games against the run this season.
Couple that with the season-long defensive struggles in pass rush, red zone and third down and it's easy to see why the defense was perhaps the major storyline of the week. If the Jaguars are going to win Sunday, significant improvement there is needed.
Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny will miss Sunday with a fractured hand, and will be replaced in the starting lineup by second-year veteran Jordan Tripp.
While Posluszny won't play, starting Otto linebacker Dan Skuta is expected back in the lineup. He has missed three of the last four games but was probable on the Friday injury report.
Also probable: running back T.J. Yeldon (groin), safety Sergio Brown (hamstring), defensive end Chris Clemons (not injury related), strong safety Johnathan Cyprien (stinger), wide receiver Allen Hurns (ankle/thigh), defensive tackle Roy Miller (knee), offensive tackle Jermey Parnell (knee).
Defensive end Ryan Davis (knee), tight end Nic Jacobs (hamstring) and wide receiver Bryan Walters (back) were questionable and will be game-time decisions.
Forget the Jaguars' 4-8 record: this is a big game – and very winnable. The Jaguars are playing at home, and although the Colts are tied for first in the AFC South, Indianapolis is not the dominant team of past seasons. That, along with the Jaguars' improving offense, makes this a gettable game. Why is it big? A loss means a three-game losing streak that would make the three victories in four games in November seem very far away. Also, this team needs to win three of the last four games to keep the loss total around single digits. That gets a lot harder without a victory Sunday.