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O-Zone: One day more

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Adam from Allentown, PA

I'm worried, John. Once bitten, twice shy.

Your worry is understandable. And merited. The Jaguars will play the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Saturday for the AFC South title – and for the accompanying playoff spot. There is a perception among some readers that the game should be one-sided in the Jaguars' favor because the Jaguars are playing well in the last two months and because the Titans have lost six consecutive games. But the reality is the Titans are the two-time defending division champions, they are getting healthier and they have been competitive in a lot of games during this six-game losing streak. They also led twice early in a 36-22 Jaguars victory in Week 14, and they were a late Jaguars defensive stop from getting back into that game in Nashville last month. There is every reason for Jaguars fans to worry about this game and every reason to think it will be close. That doesn't mean the Jaguars won't win. It does mean they must play very well and take advantage of a few matchups – particularly the Titans' inexperience at quarterback. I believe they will do just that. Also: That worry you feel? The anxiety? That's the beauty of the unknown and part of the thrill of sports. It wouldn't be fun if it were easy. It wouldn't be fun if you knew the outcome. And get used that worrisome feeling. It happens before all big games, and the Jaguars could be playing in a lot of them moving forward.

Jason from North Pole, AK

Do you expect the Jaguars to have a primetime game next season if we make the playoffs? Seems like NFL should start marketing quarterback Trevor Lawrence versus some of the other AFC quarterbacks if he continues to play his way into that tier. Jaguars play Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals and either Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers or Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs next season.

Winning changes perception and circumstances in the NFL. The Jaguars haven't been on primetime television outside of Thursday night during the regular season since 2011. That's perhaps a little because of market size, but it's mostly because they have not been very good – or very popular nationally – for the last decade or so. This current four-game winning streak and accompanying playoff push feels like it could be the start of the Jaguars being competitive-to-very-good for a while. They appear likely to have a "rock-star" type quarterback in Lawrence for a while. They also appear likely to have an exciting offense for a while. Competitive-to-very-good team plus rock-star quarterback plus exciting offense equals primetime games. And yes, I expect that will start happening next season if the Jaguars win Saturday.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Local sports media here in Nashville is saying no team in the history of the NFL has gone winless in December and made the playoffs. So if the Titans win Saturday history will be made?

Evidently.

Cael from Henderson, TN

The Jags, especially Lawrence and the offense, have been looking elite ever since we began this win streak. We have played like a more experienced and playoff-worthy team than we looked like through the first nine games. Despite all of our success and confidence, however, ESPN is still writing articles questioning whether we are a playoff-caliber team. In your opinion, is this a legit question or should we feel confident in the offense (and defense) heading into a more high-stakes matchup than we have had since 2017?

If the Jaguars win Saturday, they will be AFC South champions and therefore a playoff team. If that happens, they will enter the playoffs with a 3-3 record against playoff teams. They will have beaten the last playoff team they played – Dallas – and they will have knocked the two-time defending AFC South champions out of the playoffs. They also will be at least tied for the sixth best record in the conference. They would be every bit a playoff team.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Hi, John. Hopefully, Fred makes finalists next year.

Jaguars running back Fred Taylor indeed was not among the 15 modern-era finalists for the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. He had been among the semifinalists. I'm not a big believer in saying certain players should be in over other players because all 15 finalists are deserving. The Hall process isn't always easy and it's in fact rarely easy for players who aren't "slam-dunk" candidates. Taylor isn't a slam-dunk candidate, but he's absolutely deserving. I continue to believe he will be a finalist soon – and that he eventually will be enshrined.

Don from Marshall, NC

The Titans were coasting to a division title and they decided to fire their general manager. I do not think they have won a game since then. Does that mean that it is always the GM in football? Titans need to get out of the way and don't go laying down on the field faking injuries. Go Jaguars!

Don remains "all in."

Glenn from Tampa

John, KOAF- I became a lifelong fan on December 22, 1996. As a military brat, I never had a "hometown," per de. My dad brought me to that game at 14 years old, and now I have the chance to do the same thing for my kids this weekend. Too good of a chance to pass up … first chance to come to a game in more than seven years. Can't wait! How good is this??

Very.

Kathy from Palm Coast, FL

I have followed the Jaguars since Day One. The last good season was 2017. I am really hoping this is the beginning of a great run. What do you think?

I think I covered the Jaguars from Day One until 2001 and have covered them again since 2011. I also think I would be very surprised if this season is not the beginning of a long stretch of the Jaguars competing for the postseason and making it far more often than not.

Mark from Richmond, VA

TL throws high sometimes, especially in the early parts of the game. How can this be coached out of him?

Lawrence indeed does throw high at times. It's an area has improved dramatically since preseason and early in the season, and an area I expect will continue to improve. It's possible this is attributed to early-game adrenaline. It's also worth remembering that Lawrence threw high a couple of times against the Houston Texans this past Sunday and completed 17 of 21 passes. Quarterbacks in the NFL throw incomplete passes now and again. It's real life.

Levi from Huntsville AL

I want the Jags to make the playoffs for Trevor, for him to get the recognition of getting his team to the playoffs in his second year. For him to be able to do that, especially after last year, would be amazing for him. He deserves that. Go Jags!

Recognition for Lawrence won't be an issue for long. But it damned sure will come quickly with a victory Saturday.

Nicholas from Fort Hood, Texas by way of Sun City, Florida

Do we need to be worried about the Dobbs? Will his "lack of game tape" hinder the ability of the Jaguars to game plan against him?

Lack of tape on Dobbs is an issue. He has started one NFL game, which means he hasn't established tendencies. It also means the Titans haven't established tendencies offensively with him in the lineup. The counter to this is he's inexperienced. It's up to the Jaguars to take advantage of the inexperience part and make the lack of tendencies not matter.

Mark from Chiang Mai Thailand

Not really a question: just really looking forward to the Titans game. I have very high confidence that we will win - unless we display "a callous disregard for the football."

The Jaguars must stop running back Derrick Henry on early downs and force Dobbs to throw – and make mistakes – in bad down-and-distances situations. If they do that and protect the football, they should win.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

The upcoming game has to be one of the top three home games in franchise history, right? Maybe my memory is foggy, but that seems like an accurate statement.

I would put it right next to the 1996 regular-season finale against the Atlanta Falcons as the biggest regular-season home game in franchise history. I would have to rank it just behind the four home playoff games – one following the 1998 season, two following the 1999 season and one following the 2017 season. I wouldn't rank it very far behind those, though. Saturday is going to feel like a postseason game.

Jim from Jagsonville

We got eight wins, more than expected. I am sated ... but victory means greatness, are we ready? Can't wait to find out! Go Jaguars!!

Jim is ready for some football.

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