If I could've given the Jaguars their Christmas presents back in September, before the season began, they wouldn't have been much different than the gifts they've been receiving all season long: a win at home to start the season, a 59-yard field goal to resurrect the season, a Hail-Mary catch to keep the season alive, and two furious finishes, against Cleveland and Oakland, that rallied the fan base. It has been, without a doubt, a very merry season.
Now we find ourselves with two games remaining and hoping the Colts will lose another game and the Jags might find their way into the playoffs and even host a playoff game. What a gift that would be.
Can it happen? Absolutely, it can.
I'm getting a sense, however, that Jaguars fans have quit on that prospect and have turned their thoughts toward reflection and giving thanks. Why? This isn't over by a long shot.
Oh, no. Nobody's walkin' out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. We're all in this together, so, when the Jaguars come firing out of that tunnel at EverBank Field on Sunday, I wanna see a stadium full of the hap-hap-happiest fans since Jaxson de Ville tap-danced with Danny friggin' Kaye.
You know what I mean, huh?
Folks, this ain't over. Stop with the giving thanks. Stop with the reflection and get ready for a big, exciting finish to this season.
Here's what you do: Tomorrow's Christmas. Get a little help from a friend and make it through the day. Then come to the game on Sunday, cheer your Jags to victory, and then head home to watch the Colts-Raiders game. Sunday, the day after Christmas, offers the potential to be the most exciting day of the season.
This is December. This is crunch time. This isn't when you quit. This is when you start.
Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Redskins.
1. Ignore the rankings—The Redskins are last in the league in total defense, 30th in pass-defense, 27th in run-defense and 28th in rushing. They can't possibly be that bad and have won five games.
2. Play loose—The Jaguars looked tight last week.
3. Start fast—A 5-9 team can be easily discouraged.
4. Spread the ball around—Rashad Jennings needs to pick up more of the load.
5. Find Mike Thomas—He only has three catches in the last two games. He needs more touches.
6. Achieve balance—It's when the Jags are at their best, and the Redskins are equally bad at defending run and pass.
7. Rush the passer—Rex Grossman has a strong arm. It's pressure that has always caused him problems.
8. Come ready to play—Remember the day after Christmas 2004? Don't do that again.
9. Check the weather—The forecast is a little dicey. Fit your game to the conditions.
10. Celebrate the season—It's been a good one. If this should be the last home game, then give the fans one for the road.