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Not ready to quit just yet


You remember them all, but some are special. This season has been one of those special ones and I'm not ready to quit on it just yet.

As we head into the final game of the 2010 season, most Jaguars fans have given up on the notion that this can be 1996 all over again. For me, it never was '96. For me, this season has been 1989 all over again.

Why '89? After all, the Jaguars didn't even have a team then.

I was covering another team then. It was a team that started the '89 season by losing consecutive games by the combined score of 92-10. And you thought 66-16 was bad, huh?

It hung around the .500 mark before getting hot, winning five of six and finishing 9-7. Sound familiar?

Heading into the final game of the season, its hope for making the playoffs required that it win in Tampa and get help from a team playing a game in a dome, and that's exactly what happened.

That team, a scruffy bunch picked to finish last in its division by every preseason pundit – sound familiar? –came within a first down of making it to the AFC title game. It was a team of young players on the rise that would begin a dominant run in its division and in the AFC a few years later.

It's one of those teams and seasons you hold dear to your heart all the years later. You liked its players. You liked their resilience. You saw something in them that was unmistakable and you knew what you were watching was a preview of something lasting. Sound familiar?

I'm not getting the same strong sense of fate for this Jaguars team that I got for that '89 Steelers team I covered, but something inside me won't let me quit on this season. Is it just a matter of not wanting to let go of a season that fits into that special category, or is it a premonition that the bizarre is about to happen and the Jaguars' season will continue?

Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Texans.

1. Protect the quarterback—Because the Jaguars are running out of them.

2. Stop the run—Arian Foster will be trying to put the finishing touches to a season that has catapulted him from obscurity and into stardom.

3. Give them something to boo—Gary Kubiak is the subject of Texans fans' wrath. They're coming to boo.

4. Rush the passer—Matt Schaub can cut a defense to shreds when able to throw on time.

5. Run the ball—Jack Del Rio said it is an absolute must, with or without Maurice Jones-Drew.

6. Reach down inside—You've come too far to quit now. Make the Colts have to win.

7. Put your best foot forward—TV has flexed this game to show it to the country, should the circumstances allow for drama. This is, yet, another chance to put the franchise in a new light.

8. Know what it means—A winning season is on the line. A loss would not help sell tickets in the offseason.

9. Surprise them—The Texans don't know much about Trent Edwards.

10. Be ready to go—Because the Texans have their own special motivation for this game. They remember the Hail Mary. They remember how it ruined their season.

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