JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser checks in with a last look before the Jaguars play the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday at 4:05 p.m.
Jaguars (5-9), Saints (5-9).
The ultimate importance of this game may not be known until it begins.
That's because the Jaguars won't know where their playoff hopes stand until the end of Sunday's Houston-Tennessee game. That game begins at 1 p.m., so it may still be in the fourth quarter when the Saints and Jaguars kick off at 4:05 p.m.
If the Texans (7-7) win Sunday, the Jaguars' AFC South hopes – and their postseason chances – are done. If the Texans lose, the Jaguars can win the AFC South with victories in their last two games if Indianapolis (6-8) loses to Tennessee (3-11) in the regular-season finale.
Either way, this is a tough matchup for the Jaguars. They have struggled for consistency on offense this season, and along with that, their pass rush has struggled. That makes playing the high-powered Saints difficult, especially in the Superdome.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees sustained a torn plantar fascia in his right foot Monday against Detroit, but said he plans to play Sunday.
Jaguars weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith (finger/shoulder) and running back T.J. Yeldon (knee) were listed as doubtful Friday on the final injury report of the week.
The following Jaguars players were listed as probable: free safety Sergio Brown (thumb), offensive guard A.J. Cann (wrist), defensive end Chris Clemons (not injury related), cornerback Aaron Colvin (illness), defensive end Ryan Davis (knee), cornerback Dwayne Gratz (hamstring), wide receiver Allen Hurns (thigh), tight end Nic Jacobs (hamstring), defensive tackle Roy Miller (knee), linebacker Paul Posluszny (hand), running back Denard Robinson (foot), Otto linebacker Dan Skuta (hamstring) and wide receiver Bryan Walters (back).
This game matters for the Jaguars. It may or may not matter in terms of the playoffs – that depends on the outcome of Tennessee-Houston – but either way, it matters. In that vein, the final two games both matter. Not only does 7-9 look better than 5-11, but winning the last two games of the season means finishing the season 6-4. That's better than losing five of the last six games. A lot better.