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Next two are big

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Chris from St. Augustine, FL:
If the Jags happen to lose at Indy, how does a wild-card berth look? What teams should we be keeping an eye on that will be competing with the Jaguars for those spots?

Vic: If the Jaguars lose this Sunday in Indianapolis, the following week's game will immediately become a wild-card playoff berth game. The Texans, coming off a bye week, will be 3-3, which means they would move ahead of the Jaguars in the AFC South standings if they beat the Jaguars. The circumstances would be almost identical to this week, except they would be a notch lower in the playoff race. This is truly a critical two-game stretch of schedule for the Jaguars. Should they win these two games, the Jaguars will cruise into their bye week with the look of a team headed for the playoffs. All of a sudden, we'll start talking about homefield advantage. Should they win just one of the next two games, they will be a wild-card contender. But if they should lose the next two, they will fall to the ranks of a long-shot.

Erik from Jacksonville:
On a straight tackle, when the ball-carrier's knee touches the ground, is the ball spotted at the knee or where it happens to be held at that point?

Vic: The ball is spotted at its position (relative to the field) when the player in possession of the ball is ruled to be down.

Shaun from Lake Charles, LA:
I am a diehard Jaguar fan and I agree with you on the uniform discussion. I love the teal and I wish the Chargers would go back to the powder blues; too many dark uniforms in the league. What is your assessment of the Saints' problems, besides discipline?

Vic: I'm not close enough to the Saints to make anything but the obvious observation: The quarterback position is killing them.

Zach from Boston, MA:
Just thought I'd let you know my Yankee-fan girlfriend and I survived the ALCS. Even though you are a football guy, do you think it was one of the greatest moments in sports history?

Vic: The TV ratings say it all; 22.2 rating, 32 share for Game Seven. Wow! I can remember when baseball never thought it could pull down those kinds of national numbers. The Yankees and Red Sox gave us great viewing. The atmosphere and overall scene at Fenway Park made me wish every game was played there. Boston is a special place right now.

Greg from Winter Park, FL:
What are Byron's overall stats in the fourth quarter this season?

Vic: Byron Leftwich has completed 52 of 82 passes, a 63.4 completion percentage, for 575 yards, four touchdowns, one interception and a 95.3 passer rating. I was surprised by Peyton Manning's fourth-quarter stats: 21 of 36, 58.3, 228 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and 84.0. The top three fourth-quarter passers in the AFC also qualify as surprises: Ben Roethlisberger, 127.6; David Carr, 126.6; Drew Brees, 121.3.

Ed from Jacksonville:
Keep up the good work with the column. I like the Jags because I'm from Jax, but I'm a Cowboys fan at heart. My first visit to Texas Stadium was last week when there were at least 15,000-20,000 Steeler fans present. Do you think they will bombard Alltel like that on Dec. 5.

Vic: You can count on it.

Bill from Charleston, SC:
Will Jack Del Rio keep Greg Favors at defensive end? What did you think of his performance on Sunday?

Vic: You bet he'll keep Favors at defensive end. The Jaguars have a desperate situation at defensive end and Greg Favors' performance against the Chiefs offers hope the Jaguars can hold up at the position until they are able to more fully address it. I can't help but be amazed at the irony of the situation. The Jaguars spent $6 million in signing bonus on a blind-side pass-rusher. A year later, that guy is gone and the guy who's replaced him is a backup linebacker who expected to be cut and represents an upgrade at the position. What's that old saying about necessity and invention? That's why cutting Hugh Douglas was the right thing to do. Never hang onto a guy whose performance is unsatisfactory. If you need a better player at the position, put the pressure on yourself to find that guy. That's what Jack Del Rio did and the Jaguars are better for having done that. In Douglas' case, unsatisfactory was about to become intolerable.

Shawn from Los Angeles, CA:
I love the Jaguars, Byron's phenomenal progress and your coverage of the team. I've been a fan since the first seam was sown on the jerseys and never miss a game on TV. I finally got to see them play in person in San Diego. I don't understand Jacksonville's lack of support. Any chance you'll move to LA and cover the team when they're the Los Angeles Jaguars? I promise we'll support the team.

Vic: It's not going to happen, Shawn. The Jaguars are staying in Jacksonville, but somebody else is going to move to Los Angeles. The league sent out a PR release this week extolling the enthusiasm for NFL football in LA. In other words, the skids are being greased. It won't be long now.

Todd from Yulee, FL:
At the beginning of the season it was said the first four games would be the toughest four-game stretch of the season. Based on the way the season has unfolded, would you still agree with that statement?

Vic: Yes, I would. Had Jimmy Smith not come down with that "Hail Mary" pass on fourth down in Buffalo, and had the Broncos not fumbled as they were preparing to kick the game-winning field goal, the Jaguars would've started the season 1-3 and this Sunday's game would be no big deal. As for two-game stretches, these next two represent the toughest.

Dale from Iowa Falls, IA:
How do the Jaguars get a half game ahead if they win this week against Indy, but fall two games behind if they lose? It seems they should still be tied if they win. I guess I do not understand this way of ranking.

Vic: The two teams can't be tied because the Jaguars have played one more game. Here's how it works: If the Jaguars win in Indy, they will be in first place by a half game; one more game in the win column. If they lose, they will fall a game and a half behind the Colts; two games in the loss column. The most significant loss, however, would be the head-to-head tie-breaker.

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