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O-Zone: Busy guy

JACKSONVILLE – Look-ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it …

Brian from Round Rock, TX

Which way will they go? They could fold their tent and check out, lose confidence and start pointing fingers. They could learn from it and get on a winning streak to make up for the disappointment of losing again by making stupid mistakes.

I understand the spirit of this question. Jaguars fans, after all, were disappointed and angry following a 29-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles this past Sunday – a loss that dropped them to 2-2 and into a tie for first place in the AFC South entering a home game against the Houston Texans Sunday. Remember, though: This is professional football, where there's a meaningful and difficult game every week – and where highs, lows, ups and downs are the norm. The loss to the Eagles undoubtedly hurt. And players were disappointed, with Head Coach Doug Pederson going so far as saying Monday that the team was ticked. But they're .500 through four games – not 0-4. They lost on the road to the NFL's last remaining unbeaten team – not to a directional college team. They are an improved team moving in the right direction and a team that is tied for first in the division. There's nothing to indicate the Jaguars will fold their tent, lose confidence or point fingers. I also don't know if they will go on a long winning streak. I expect them to approach this week as they have the past four – with professionalism, focused and prepared. And I expect they'll do so all season. And I expect they will win a lot of games and lose some. Either way, I'd be stunned if Sunday's loss to the Eagles destroys the season. Stunned, I tell ya.

Holger from Zurich, Switzerland

Will it make a difference that the Jaguars will be favored in this game? They have something to lose.

This at first glance appears to be one of those questions where I answer that it's not a big deal. And I'm usually not big on "outside noise" being a major factor in determining outcomes. But this is a very legitimate question because Sunday indeed will be the first time under Pederson that the Jaguars will be favored to win. They have been the team with "something to prove" in the first four games. Can they win with fans and observers expecting it to happen? I believe they will, but this is absolutely a storyline.

Tim from Fort Wayne, IN

The NFL truly is a balanced league. It feels like every game comes down to one or two plays that determine the outcome. I think of last week's game against the Chargers. The Jags had fourth and one from the 50 while leading by just six. Running back James Robinson broke off a huge touchdown run, and the whole game snowballed from there. Had the Chargers stopped him and taken possession of the ball at midfield with the momentum of a fourth-down stop, things could have gone very differently. This past week felt like it hinged on that first fumble. Up 14-0, if Jacksonville converts on that fourth down and scores again, the game would have felt very different. It's disappointing to lose games when it feels like one or two different plays would have changed the outcome, but it's also better than past years, which felt as though losing was guaranteed no matter how many plays changed. How long has it been since the Jaguars actually had a shot every week, regardless of the opponent?

Way too long.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Losing games against NFC opponents is the least damaging from an end-of-season tiebreak perspective if we continue to take care of business against the AFC South teams.

We're less than a quarter into the 2022 NFL season. The Jaguars are tied for first place in the AFC South, are 2-0 in the AFC and 1-0 in the division. It would be hard for the season to be more "all out in front of them" and "there for the taking" than is currently the case.

Andrew from Mattoon, IL

And still in first place. Win the division.

That's the focus.

Mason from Lake Asbury

Hey O, longtime reader, first time to comment. The loss didn't surprise me, the turnovers did. Let's give the kid a break and know this is DDDUUUUUVAAALLLL!!.

I don't expect most Jaguars fans to be down on or critical of quarterback Trevor Lawrence for long. He had a bad game in tough conditions Sunday. He for the most part this season has looked dramatically improved. It's Look-ahead Wednesday. Let's move on.

Libran from Aledo – Texas

This team has everything going in the right direction. Through four games, what do you think this team will do with the remainder of the schedule?

Win more than they lose – or at least come very close.

Carlos from Mexico City, Mexico

Don't get me wrong, it would be absolutely amazing if team wins eight games, but if they want to become contenders, they need some more big guys, particularly at tight end, wide receiver and defensive tackle. They just won't beat championship caliber teams like the Eagles without them.

This Jaguars team is bigger, stronger and faster than it was a season or two ago. General Manager Trent Baalke is a "big-people" football guy, and his acquisitions typically reflect that. It's hard to acquire premium, blue-chip athleticism immediately at every position. I expect the Jaguars will continue to move toward bigger, stronger and faster in the coming offseasons.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Hopefully Pederson can turn it into a learning opportunity and we'll see a better performance with fewer errors against the Texans next Sunday. Should we also worry that Texas could be a "trap" game?

I rarely tell people not to worry. I am the Worrier King. Pederson seems to have the attention of his players. I would be surprised if the Jaguars are unprepared, unmotivated or unfocused Sunday. None of which means the Jaguars are guaranteed to win. This is the NFL. Winless teams win games. The Texans have been competitive each week. The Jaguars can lose this game without being "trapped."

Al from Orange Park, FL

_One fer Jamal Agnew? _


Brad from The Avenues

John, on Sunday morning you spoke of gameday rituals. I grew up in an extremely sportstitious home. Many was the time I witnessed my brother's panic when he couldn't find his lucky baseball socks, or my dad who coached his team freaking out over his missing lucky pencil. One time, as I walked into the living room, Horst Muhlmann shanked an easy field goal and I had to go sit in the kitchen and listen to the rest of the game. Today I know that nothing I do has any effect on the outcome of the game whatsoever. However, if my chicken tenders don't come out just right and we lose, it's my fault.

I laughed at the part about Horst Muhlmann. I never had to go into the kitchen, but I did have various spots on the sofa where I had to sit. I also had multiple shirts that I wore on game day believing my team wouldn't win if I didn't wear it. I don't remember how I resolved the fact that they typically won and lost regardless of where I sat and what I wore. Fans fan. It's what they do.

Shane from Atlanta, GA

"What? Over? Did you say over? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor!? Hell no!!" Last I checked Sunday was an out of conference game against a Super Bowl favorite. We are 2-2 in the first quarter of the season. Before the season started, every fan would've taken that and not looked back. Lot of football left.

Shane remains "all in."

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Traditionally the Texans own us. We are currently projected as a 7.5-point favorite over the Texans. I'm not understanding what Vegas see that I do not see. Sure the Jags "on paper" are the better team, but this Texans team runs the ball well and beat us with their current quarterback at the helm. These games typically don't go in our favor. This game will really show us what this Jags team is. Good teams beat the bad ones.

Oddsmakers see an improved Jaguars team against a struggling Texans team. It's completely reasonable the Jaguars are favored. They should be favored. That in no way guarantees they will win.

Nathan from Utah, US

Zone, "Me used to be angry young man. Me hiding me head in the sand … it can't get more worse." With the Jaguars undefeated in the division through four games. 2-2 record with three of those games on the road, "I've got to admit, it's getting better."

"I'm very well-acquainted with the seven deadly sins. I keep a busy schedule, trying to fit them in."