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O-Zone: Hot topic

JACKSONVILLE – Look-ahead Wednesday …

Let's get to it …

Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA

"Life finds a way." So, are the playoffs still on the table? What's interesting for me is who they've beaten and played well against. I could see them being that team everyone would quietly hope to avoid in January.

The playoffs are absolutely still a possibility for the Jaguars in 2022. While there are multiple possibilities, the most straightforward scenarios involve the Jaguars (5-8) making up the two games by which they trail the first-place Tennessee Titans (7-6) in the AFC South and finishing tied for first in the division. If that happens and the Jaguars beat the Titans in the regular-season finale, the Jaguars will win the AFC South no matter the teams' overall records because they will have swept the Titans. Head-to-head record is the first tiebreaker. I agree that who the Jaguars have beaten and played well against this season is intriguing. Two of their five victories have come against AFC division leaders – the Titans and the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens (9-4) – in the last three weeks. They also beat the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 3. The Jaguars have competed well with a realistic chance to win all their games except losses to the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions, and they have fared well against multiple contenders. There are no "good opponents" in the postseason. But would the Jaguars be dangerous if they got there? Absolutely.

Greg from Atlanta, GA

Trevor Lawrence was drafted as a generational quarterback and one of the most hyped draft picks of all time. Obviously, it's not fair to say expect him to be Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but what level of success do you think he will need to live up to his draft hype? Let's say he ends up being a consistent Top 8-12 quarterback, but never an MVP candidate. Would that be considered a success?

I find these sorts of questions impossible to answer. Every observer and fan define such things differently, and there are different levels of success. Some no doubt "expect" Lawrence to win a Super Bowl and will consider him a "failure" if he does not. Others expect multiple Super Bowls and multiple Most Valuable Player awards. I see the NFL as ultra-competitive, and I also believe quarterbacks are often too harshly judged on Super Bowls. While quarterbacks can lift otherwise less-than-great teams to the postseason, whether a team wins the Super Bowl often depends on matchups, health and good fortune. I expect a franchise, elite quarterback to be able to get teams to the postseason consistently and have their teams in position to make a run at the end of the season more often than not. If Lawrence does that consistently and the Jaguars have an extended run of playoffs with Super Bowl hopes many seasons, that would be a success in my view. Others feel differently. That's fine. Others are entitled to be incorrect sometimes, too.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Lawrence's 2022 stats if he maintains post-London level would be around 4,500 yards, 30 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 100 rating.

Would they? That would be good, I suppose. I don't pay all that much attention to season-ending statistics in the NFL. As the league has added games, the numbers that defined greatness in my youth – back in the days of white footballs and no facemasks – don't mean all that much. I know if Lawrence maintains his post-London level he's going to continue to give this team a chance to win most games and make this team's future very bright.

Emerson from ATX

Jags finally have a tight end with over 50 receptions. Who was the last one, Julius Thomas?

Marcedes Lewis in 2012 caught 52 passes for 540 yards and four touchdowns. He was the last Jaguars tight end with 50 or more receptions in a season.

Tom from St Johns

How many of us (including the KOAF) can honestly say that on Labor Day they expected to be watching the talking heads on television after Game 13 of the season show a big graphic that listed under the heading "In The Hunt" the bold letters JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS??


JR from the Squatchlands

Can we pleeease keep Evan Engram?

This will be a late-season and offseason storyline. Jaguars tight end Evan Engram signed one-year, "prove-it" deal as an unrestricted free agent last offseason. He has fit in well with the offense, and had by far his most productive day of his six-year career in Sunday's victory over the Tennessee Titans with 11 receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns. The Jaguars will have to be very judicious in which free agents they retain this offseason, but my sense is Engram could be one they try to maneuver and re-sign.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

I'll go on record officially now and say I'd rather have an impressive passing quarterback who is pretty good at running than a pretty good passing qb who is impressive at running.

So would anyone who understands the NFL.

Steve from The Hill

Do you think Cisco will be back this week? Gonna need him against Dallas O.

Safety Andre Cisco is expected to be day-to-day this week with the shoulder injury that has kept him out of the last two games. I expect him to play, but that's a gut feeling not inside information.

Ralph from Santa Fe, NM

Hey O, the future looks bright playoffs or not. We don't have a true No. 1 receiver this current year, but the way TL spreads the ball around do you think we will eventually need one? Can TL be that guy to make everyone better?

The Jaguars are expected to have Calvin Ridley at wide receiver next season after acquiring him in a trade this season with the Atlanta Falcons. While Ridley has been out of football since October of 2021 (suspended since March of 2022), he has the skill set of a No. 1 receiver. I don't know if the Jaguars will need a true No. 1 receiver with Lawrence. I know that the entire offense would benefit from one, primarily because of how such a player forces defenses to defend them.

Matthew from Jacksonville

Can you keep a secret? The Jags are not going to the playoffs. Don't tell your one reader this. But, Cowboys are just too good and Titans always win a surprising game or two a season. Dallas will score at least 30 points. Our defense is not up to the task.

I don't expect the Jaguars to beat the Cowboys Sunday because I think Dallas indeed is the better team at this point. I also think it's unlikely the Jaguars catch the Titans. But could the Jaguars win all their games except the Dallas game? And could the Titans conceivably lose to the Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas and the Jaguars? It's unlikely. But it's far from impossible.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Fun fact: The NFC East is 12-1 versus the AFC South so far in 2022 with three games remaining. The fun here is you have long downplayed any angst or salivating over an alleged easy or tough schedule ahead of the start of the season. Not sure many experts saw the NFC East (with 36 wins) being the significantly better division than the AFC West (25 wins) who attracted all the attention in this summer.

I found the hype last offseason over the AFC West amusing, and the oft-uttered idea that it would be the best division in league history absurd. While the division made noise in the offseason with high-profile acquisitions such as quarterback Russell Wilson (Denver), wide receiver Davante Adams (Las Vegas) and pass rusher Khalil Mack (Los Angeles Chargers), history has proven again and again that huge offseason expenditures often do little to truly shape the league. This is not to say that offseason moves never have the desired effect. The Philadelphia Eagles, for example, absolutely have benefitted from acquiring wide receiver A.J. Brown. But major improvement and elite teams more often come from within – and specifically, through drafted players playing together and growing around high-level quarterback play.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Until Sunday, I've seen Lawrence as a young quarterback trying to learn, improve and be an efficient and effective part of the offense. After Sunday? It now seems clear that Trevor owns this offense. Completely. It has become his team. Another sign of a generational, franchise quarterback?


Ron from Orlando, FL

Easy with the playoff talk Johnny. A week ago we were embarrassed by the three-win Lions. I get it, we have a shot, but we only do because the AFC South is pure garbage

I'll talk about what I like. The Detroit Lions have won six games, including five of their last six. They beat the 10-3 Minnesota Vikings last Sunday. The Jaguars have a chance at the playoffs in December for the first time in five seasons. That's going to be a topic here until it's no longer the case.