JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Carol from St. Johns
There Will Never Be A Year Like This Again! Yes, I feel like we will have a Super Bowl Win (maybe this year but if not, soon) but I can say with all certainty this will go down as my favorite Jags year ever. This team who has marvelous players have just been a true joy to watch! I just wish we could wrap up this team and keep them exactly the same for many years! The Joy Is Immense!
This is good perspective. The 2022 Jaguars are a special team that has done – and continues to do – special things. They are one of eight teams remaining in the postseason, making this a ride no one expected when the season began. It also is a locker room of players that genuinely like each other and who are genuinely enjoying the moment. There also is a cool connecting/reconnecting with the fan base. The city is remembering at long last what it's like to love the Jaguars again. And yeah … no matter how good the Jaguars are in the future, and no matter what level of success they reach, it won't ever be new like this again. Savor it. It's really cool.
Chip from Jacksonville
Something special is happening. If it's not this year, next year and years to come. What do you think?
I say something special clearly is happening with this franchise. I don't know what exactly that means for next season or this season, but I think with Trevor Lawrence at quarterback and Doug Pederson as head coach, the Jaguars should be competitive for the foreseeable future.
JT from Palm Coast, FL
We have been playing for our playoffs lives the last few weeks. The Chiefs have plenty of rest and haven't had to play with near as much desperation as we have. I'm not taking anything away from our opponent, but sometimes fortune favors the team that has been in "go-mode" for a while. Happens all the time in the playoffs. The players and coaches on this team have a belief now that can propel teams to some pretty great heights.
Momentum matters in the postseason. So does rest and being very, very good. If the Jaguars win Saturday, I suspect we'll hear how they were hot and how a week off hurt the Chiefs. If the Chiefs win, I suspect we'll hear about the benefit of a first-round bye.
Brian from Round Rock, TX
We hit Peak Trevor in the last game. The last time he played at that level, he stayed there for a few games. Is he going to go off on the Chiefs?
Richard from Jacksonville
Next Gen Stats says Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has the third-highest drop in QBR rating when pressured. When he has a clean pocket, he leads the league in almost every statistical category that matters. Defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell has a history with Kansas City. He usually favors showing new "looks" on defense during a second game with any team during a season. What should we expect to see in this week's playoff game on defense? Does GM John O favor showing Mahomes new wrinkles or roll with what has worked during the streak?
Coaches typically keep GM John O out of game-planning meetings – and all meetings, for that matter. I don't know how much I read into Mahomes' drop in QBR when pressured – mainly because all quarterbacks prefer a clean pocket to pressure. The best quarterbacks – Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers – can be rattled when pressured. Perhaps Mahomes' most notable trait is he is otherworldly good escaping pressure and making plays. He is extremely hard to blitz. Remember, too: While the "book" on Mahomes used to be he would be impatient and make mistakes if you dropped seven or eight defenders in coverage, he has been better there this season. I do believe Caldwell will mix in some pressures against Mahomes. You can't do the same thing every play, every situation. But I don't think it will be all-blitz, all-the time.
Craig from Ponte Vedra Beach
I have a question about overtime under the following scenario: The Jaguars and Chiefs are tied in regulation and at the coin toss the Jaguars lose it and the Chiefs elect to receive the ball. During the kickoff the Jags attempt an onsides kick and recover the ball. The Jags subsequent drive results in a field goal. Do the Jaguars win?
Yes. The NFL's new postseason overtime rules make an onside kick to start overtime enticing. First, it's necessary to remember that the new rules give both teams the OPPORTUNITY to possess the ball. An onside kick is considered to have given the would-be receiving team that opportunity, so the Jaguars would win in your scenario. The Jaguars also would still have the opportunity to possess the ball after the score, lessening the risk/consequences of a failed onside kick.
Alan from Jacksonville
In the last three games, Lawrence has rushed for a total of nine yards. Is this toe-related? If not, it seems like the Jags are missing a big opportunity to keep defenses off-balance and designating a spy to guard against him romping down the field.
I don't sense Lawrence's toe is influencing game plan or approach.
Colin from Orlando, FL
Hey John, it's fourth-and-two in a 0-0 game in the first quarter. Big Cats have the ball on the Chiefs 20 yard line. Do they go for it?
Probably. I expect Pederson to be aggressive with the idea that the Jaguars will need to be aggressive and score touchdowns – not field goals – when they get opportunities in/near the red zone. He could do this multiple times.
Jason from Suffolk, VA
Maybe this is premature but I am curious. Do you ever see Trevor having the command that Peyton Manning did where he can just be given a number of plays by the OC and pick the best play at the line of scrimmage based off the defensive look? Or was Peyton just a one of a kind QB who had that type of ability?
Lawrence is at the end of his second season, his first in Pederson's offense. Manning started mastering the sort of command to which you're referring around his sixth season – and his sixth season in the same offense with the same offensive coordinator. So yeah … Lawrence likely will have that command in a few seasons if all goes well.
Princefigs from Jacksonville
Hypothetical: Game is tied and there are two seconds on the clock. Offense kicks a field goal that is obviously good. The refs though rule it no good despite the clear evidence that it was good. What happens?
Tommy from Jacksonville
Hey O, just realized that the NFL is down to the final 8 teams. When in the season did the Jags become a top 10 team? I never would have expected it to happen this year. It's a testament to the coaching, the players getting more comfortable in the system. It's been amazing to watch this transformation!
The Jaguars became a Top Eight team when Riley Patterson's field goal went through the uprights as time expired against the Los Angeles Chargers last Saturday. That put them in the final eight.
Dave from Jacksonville
Zone, does this game come down to if our interior line can control Chris Jones?
It's a big factor.
Ryan from Detroit, MI
Zone - how often do you think we'll have Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell cover Travis Kelce? He's a matchup nightmare for sure, and frankly our linebackers often look overmatched when forced into coverage against even average competition. I think we need to shadow him with our best defensive back all game long and make Mahomes throw to someone else.
I don't know that putting Campbell on Kelce gives the Jaguars much of a matchup advantage there; Kelce's size and athleticism makes that a tough cover for Campbell. I expect the Jaguars to mix coverages on Kelce and I expect Kelce to have a lot of success because he has a lot of success against pretty much all defenses. The Jaguars have to score a lot of points Saturday and stop the Chiefs in crucial situations. This likely won't be a game in the 20s.
Brian from Gainesville, FL
Big O, someday soon the Jaguars will happily hand Trevor Lawrence the largest payday in NFL history. Best part about that is that the Chiefs have proven the model that such a move need not kill a team.
You're right that Lawrence someday soon will sign a cap-dominating contract that forces the Jaguars to change their personnel model, and you're right that that doesn't have to kill a team. The quarterback must be great, and the team must draft and use free agency wisely, but a team can still compete for championships with a quarterback on an elite contract.
Bluto from The House
It gets many of the readers every time, doesn't it?
Clark, that's the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.