JACKSONVILLE – Game Day O-Zone. Playoffs. Damned right.
Let's get to it …
Bradley from Carson City, NV:
I'm not the least bit scared of the Bills. I expect the Jaguars' defense to play extremely well. Interested to see playoff Blake Bortles. I can only hope. I do see the Jags as a team built for the playoffs. I'm predicting a double-digit victory on Sunday. #DTWD
John: I think the Jaguars are ready for Sunday's game, and I think they're capable of winning any game they play in the postseason. I'm not "scared" of the Bills because NFL games don't scare me. Many things do scare me, and I did spend a good chunk of my twenties moving past a tricky case of "Omphalophobia" – i.e., fear of the navel. As for Sunday: the idea that the Bills aren't competitive or dangerous is foolish. This is a team that won nine games and forces turnovers at a high rate. The Jaguars are favored, but they are not playoff-experienced and will not be not staked a big lead entering the game. If they commit turnovers and struggle to run, they are very capable of letting the Bills hang around – and the Bills are capable of winning games if they stay close. I believe the Jaguars are better – and I believe if the teams played 10 times the Jaguars would win seven or eight times. I also believe playing at EverBank Field gives them a big edge. And yes, they could win by double digits if things break right. But don't be shocked if this one is competitive and close. It's the professional football playoffs. It's set up to be hard.
Richard from Lincoln, RI:
My son (Pats fan), just brought over my belated Christmas gift. An AFC South Champions cap and T-shirt. Just in time for Sunday's game. John ... is this awesome or what?
John: It is awesome – all, of course, except your son being a Patriots fan.
Biff from Jacksonville:
"Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power." - William James. Last week I was optimistic, and they lost. I refuse to be weak. How is the mood of the team this week related to last week? #philosopherjag
John: "I got ice in my veins, blood in my eyes, hate in my heart, love in my mind." L'il Wayne
Craig from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
So, looks like Greg Olsen is back as a viable quarterback coach and is being pursued by the Raiders/Jon Gruden. Apparently his firing in Jacksonville has been vindicated and could it be that Bortles was the real problem? I guess we'll know the answer on Monday.
John: Or it could be that coordinators get hired and fired all the time, and that their hiring isn't really any sort of an edict about a coordinator's previous quarterback or team. Don't get discouraged. Understanding how the league works is tough, as is making points that make sense. And spelling names correctly. Practice, practice, practice …
Robert from Middleburg, FL:
My biggest worry is that our defense comes into this game too high. They're really good, they know they're good. My fear is that they'll come in too hyped. Try to do too much. And, as a result, not play with discipline. I think Head Coach Doug Marrone's biggest challenge will be to keep this defense grounded.
John: Yep. No doubt. You must play poised in the postseason.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
We finally get revenge for the Music City Miracle Sunday, and the Bills ruining the Jaguars' Super Bowl run in 1999. It is also the first step in a special season. I have been glued to everything Jaguars since the Steelers game in Week 5, because it just had that feel of something special building. I'm not gonna say I guarantee a victory in Pittsburgh next week, but it just seems like it is 'meant to happen' this season.
John: Slow down. The Jaguars play the Bills Sunday, not the Steelers.
Chris from Norfolk, VA:
Hey O, how does playoff pay work? I must admit this is an area I'm clueless. Is it just another regular game check? Do home team players get more? Is it more thru each round? Thanks, Man.
John: Players get paid one-sixteenth of their salary for every regular-season game. They do not get paid a salary for the playoffs. All players and coaches participating in a Wild Card playoff game get an equal share whether they win or lose, then all players in the ensuing round get an equal share whether they win or lose. It goes on like this until the Super Bowl, with the winning players and coaches of that game getting twice the loser's share. The wild-card shares last season were $27,000 for division winners and $24,000 for wild-card teams, with the shares for Divisional Playoff games $27,000, conference championship games $49,000 and the Super Bowl $53,000 for the loser and $107,000 for the winners. If it seems like a highly-paid player takes a pay cut from the regular season to the postseason that's because he does.
Dennis from Port St. Lucie:
Big O: I have a complaint about ticket prices. Jaguars-Bills on TickPick.com has been $214.16. The other matchups: Saints-Panthers, $181.94; Rams-Falcons, $153.38; Chiefs-Titans, $77.61. How about all the years fans supported a losing team? It cost them lots of money and many years of heartbreak to justify handing out so much cash for losing seasons. Now, the playoffs finally are back at home and many fixed-income fans are priced out of the market to buy tickets. It's just not right that we find ourselves paying the highest ticket prices for a playoff game. I love the Jags and Mr. Khan for all he has done for the city and the team but keeping prices reasonable for all fans would have been a wonderful way of showing the team's support for the fans.
John: The Jaguars have nothing to do with the prices on TickPick.com, Stubhub or any other secondary market. The Jaguars sold their postseason tickets through Ticketmaster and they sold out in an hour. They then made 3,500 more available two days later and they sold out in five minutes. What happens to the price of those tickets after they are sold is beyond the Jaguars' control.
Myles from Newcastle, England:
The Jags have been my team for over 10 years and have got me through some tough times. I could not be more excited to see the stadium Sunday. Let's do this thing. #DTWD
Alan from Jacksonville:
One of the things that makes me proud to be a Jaguars fan is the hospitality with which we treat opposing fans, even when their team is pounding us. I've been to games in Miami and Tampa and have seen how ugly homers can be. I just hope, win or lose, that our fan base remains classy. Now let's crush the Bills fans' hopes and dreams ... on the field.
Jerell from Columba, SC:
John, I will be in the Bank on Sunday and the Jags WILL WIN. I am speaking it into reality! Jags world and the Bills are locked in it. Go Jags!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
John: Jerell's ready.
DUVAL DOOM from Section 217:
Hey John! Been a while. Weird how when we win I have so much less to say. Anyway, I just wanted to write in before Sunday to say... What a season! I've had so much fun – from finally getting the majority of the games at home to be wins, to traveling to Trashville, to the always awesome tailgate … man, it has been fun. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about Sunday, but I think that's mostly the last decade getting to me. My oldest graduated last year, and moved off to Oklahoma to start life. It was a weird and hard time. As football season started I was kinda down. I hadn't been to a Jags game without him since '99, so that first tailgate was looming. I wondered if he would even care about his hometown team anymore, or had I forced all this on him? The night before that first tailgate he texted with one simple question that made me smile: "Hey Dad. What's the Sunday Ticket login? They won't show the Jags here." We've talked after every game since, win or lose. He's visiting this week, and I was so excited when the game was announced for Sunday, because it means he'll get to go. He sat through a LOT of bad football over the course of his childhood, and I want a win Sunday for him as much as any other reason. Go Jaguars and DTWD.
Bruce from Gotham, NY:
If anyone watches that #DTWD: Playoffs in Jacksonville video and doesn't feel beyond excited after... then they do not have a pulse. A little bit of a side story with everything going on, but how big has having the flex field been at this time of year to ensure proper practices Mr. O? A little glad Mr. Khan did not wait for the Shipyards and ensuring it was completed this year.
John: The Jaguars practiced every day in the Flex Field this week, so having it has been huge for preparation. As for the video, here it is in case you missed it. Credit to Max "Hollywood" Hochman in the Jaguars' broadcasting department for putting it together. Max has been through a lot of adversity in his life. He has known struggles and heartache no man should have had to endure. He overcame it all and nailed this one.