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O-Zone: Never over

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Nick from Palatka, FL

Hey, Zone. Last week you said you wouldn't be surprised if either the Jags or the Chargers won the game. How do feel about this week's edition of Whack-a-Jag? Do you think Kansas City can keep them down for 60 minutes? Thanks for all you do.

I will be surprised if the Jaguars win and will not be surprised if the Chiefs win when the teams play in a 2022 AFC Divisional Playoff game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday. This is not because the Jaguars are bad. It's not because they can't win. It's because the Chiefs are really good. They're the AFC's No. 1 seed, have won seven consecutive AFC West titles, have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, have Travis Kelce at tight end, are playing at home and have experience winning games at this level. That's a tough combination to beat. It makes the Chiefs the legitimate favorite. It is not an impossible combination to beat. The Jaguars absolutely can win Saturday.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. Why didn't Pederson trust his players enough to challenge that important dropped catch by the Chargers receiver? Even the Chargers knew it was a drop when they hurried to run the next play. Also, when are they going to tell Walker to stop making stupid personal foul penalties after great defensive stops? It's maddening. These are questions that I would have asked if we lost but wanted to ask anyway. Thanks for all you do.

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson doesn't challenge plays based on players' reaction because players always think plays should be challenged and he would lose far more challenges than he won. Wise NFL coaches know this and make decisions thusly. Also: The unsportsmanlike conduct call against Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker Saturday against the Los Angeles Chargers was questionable. He had a penalty or two early this season that were inexcusable. This was not that.

Rich from Dacula, GA

The forecast for Saturday is snow. What kind of field is in Kansas City? Does this favor the Chiefs because of the cold and they're used to snow? What do we have to do to practice for it?

Arrowhead's field is Tartan Turf – a synthetic field. The cold and snow perhaps favor the Chiefs a bit, but it's not as if they play in the snow every week. And the cold won't be significantly worse than it was in Jacksonville last Saturday. The Jaguars practiced ball security this week to prepare. Beyond that, there's not much to do. You just have to go play.

Jaginator from (formerly of) Section 124

While I'm obviously not complaining, and I have a ton of faith in Doug Pederson, I'm starting to wonder what's lacking in our pregame planning that forces us to dig outta all these holes? While it's glorious to come back from 17-0 (Las Vegas Raiders), 19-10 (Baltimore Ravens), 21-7 (Dallas Cowboys), 10-0 (Tennessee Titans), and 27-0 (Chargers), you can't keep doing that and expect to win. Eventually … luck runs out.

Even when a head coach turns a franchise around, even when he leads a team from 3-14 to the Divisional Playoff, even when he coaches a team to six consecutive victories … even after all that it's always coaching in the NFL.

Rog from STA

I began as an original ticket holder for 21 years until moving. One of my most favorite moments was sitting in the stands as the plane flew over the stadium from Denver and then experiencing the team on the field late in the evening. I hope, really hope our fans get to have that experience very soon. Go Jags!

Perhaps they will.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Do you think Etienne will rush for 100-plus yards?

I think there's a chance. One of the areas that went a bit awry for the Jaguars against the Chiefs in Week 10 was the Jaguars' rushing game, managing just 75 yards. Part of that was because the Chiefs played really well defensively. Part of that was because the Jaguars couldn't score when they had opportunities in the first half and therefore fell behind 20-0. That made a good Chiefs defense look really good and took away the Jaguars' chances to run. The Chiefs have allowed 90 or more yards rushing in 13 of 17 games this season. If running back Travis Etienne Jr. can get to 100 or more – which is possible – it bodes well for the Jaguars.

David from Orlando, FL

Ozone, it has been well-documented that you've said "it's always about the money," yet you reject the idea that the refs call games in favor of cash cow teams. Sorry for beating the dead horse, but I want Jag fans to keep a keen eye on the refs for this game, especially if this game is close. If the NFL cared about money and ratings, and it does, then it would reason the NFL prefers the Kansas City Chiefs or Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl. The best way to affect the outcome of a game is a strategically placed yellow flag, preferably after an explosive play. I'm just saying: We can contend with the 12th man, crowd noise, but it's the 13th man, the refs, that concerns me.

Referee conspiracy theories, while of constant interest to fans, are unreasonable when considered logically. Still, I'm sure fans will keep an eye on this. They doubtless will complain about officiating – a lot if their team loses, less if their team wins. This will be true of both teams, incidentally. This truth won't sway readers who believe referees are biased. Oh well.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Realistically, can our Week 10 game help us going into this game? Feels like a while ago now.

The game can help because the Jaguars will go into Saturday's game familiar with the surroundings, and having a good idea what to expect from the Arrowhead crowd. They also will have played against Mahomes and this offense, so they will have an idea what it's like to play against an offense that plays as fast – and is as dangerous – as that of the Chiefs. They also will be keenly aware of the importance of the first few drives.

JaxJohn from Pacific, Missouri

Not sure if it is coaching, players or both but the ability of this team to score on both the last drive going into the half and first drive coming out of the half has been remarkable.

The Jaguars have been remarkably good in these areas. They have scored either a touchdown or field goal on their first possession of the second half in 13 of 18 games this season – and in the last seven games. They have scored on their last possession of the first half and first possession of the second half five times, including the last two games. They're hard to beat when they do that.

Ken from St Augustine, FL

_Hi John, I am from New York, so I've seen the Giants win four Super Bowls. Now living here and being a Jags fan for 11 seasons, for me this has been one of the most fun seasons of football to watch. Where does it rank for you and why? _

It's up there with the 1996 and 2017 Jaguars seasons. Nothing is better than watching teams begin to surprise themselves, then believe in themselves, then seeing the euphoria of a fan base along for the ride. The coolest thing about this run compared to those seasons is that so many of this team's memorable victories have come at home. The season has gotten more dramatic and more memorable as the season has continued. In that sense, I've never watched anything quite like it.

Keith from Jacksonville

I do not have a question, but it does not matter what happens Saturday, the Jags have exceeded expectations for this season.


Don from Marshall, NC

If I was a receiver, I would take less money to play with Trevor. It's a wonderful thing this quarterback we have. The Jaguars can go far! Go Jaguars!

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is good and getting better. It's going to be a wonderful thing for the Jaguars to have him as quarterback. The Jaguars can go far with him at quarterback. I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for many NFL receivers to take significantly less money to play with him, or with anyone else.

Bryan from Yorkshire, VA

What?? Over? Are they saying our season is basically over because we're playing in KC? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when we were 2-6 this year?? Was it over when we were down 27-0 against the Chargers?? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Heck no!...It ain't over now, 'cause when the goin' gets tough, the tough get goin'. Who's with me?? Duuuuuvaaalllll…..

It was not over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.