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O-Zone: So reputable

JACKSONVILLE – Look-Ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it …

Jami from Claxton, GA

Last year was win and in for the Jaguars. The opponent, the hated Titans. This year looks like a repeat. I don't feel nearly as good about this team's chances against the hated Titans. Karma?

The Jaguars entering 2023 Week 18 indeed facing a similar scenario to their Week 18 situation last season. They must beat the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday to win the AFC South. The Jaguars won last year's regular-season finale against the Titans in Jacksonville in one of the most memorable victories in franchise history, clinching their first AFC South title in five seasons. One minor difference: The Jaguars would have missed the playoffs had they lost last season's matchup. Missing the playoffs isn't a definite with a loss Sunday, but the wild card chances from this view are relatively slim. The Jaguars will need the Baltimore Ravens to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday and have the Denver Broncos lose to or tie the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday to get in as a wild card. With Baltimore having clinched the No. 1 seed and Pittsburgh alive in the postseason chase, I would expect the Steelers to win there. As for the Jaguars' chances Sunday … I like them better than you. Yes, the game is in Nashville, but the Titans are out of the postseason chase. Teams playing for something typically win late-season games against teams playing for nothing. Also: While the Jaguars lost four consecutive games before beating the Carolina Panthers this past Sunday, they're not a bad team. They know what it takes to win games with everything at stake and I like them to win Sunday.

Jay from So-Cal

O, what is going on. I am dizzy!!!! Can the Jags make the playoffs?! I certainly would hope so after going 8-3, dropping the prime rib roast, collard greens and cornbread! – and playing the worst NFL team but turning it around and getting the W! Another bad team next week. Aside from winning the division and getting into the playoffs (hopefully) what CAN they produce on the field in all aspects and sides of the game that will give them a decent chance of making a splash?!..

A lot to digest here. I'll wait until the Jaguars are actually in the postseason before breaking down postseason possibilities extensively. But there's no reason the Jaguars can't win a postseason game – or multiple postseason games. Thirteen of their 16 opponents to date are in postseason contention. They are 7-6 in those games. If they win the South, the Jaguars would be the No. 4 seed and host the No. 5 seed Cleveland Browns. The Jaguars had a chance to tie the Browns on the road in the final minutes of a 31-27 loss in early December – and the Jaguars committed four turnovers and gave away three coverage-bust touchdowns. Yes, the Jaguars can compete in the postseason. But they must get there first.

Howard from Homestead, FL

Not a question, but a reminder that a sweep of the evil Tennessee Titans constitutes a "perfect" season. They must be defeated, not only because they stand in the way of a second consecutive AFC South title, but because their teeth are yellow, their whisky is watered down and their music is outdated. Their cousins marry them, their moms detest them and even their dogs disown them. They stole their team from Houston. The Music City "miracle" was a forward pass. They are the reason God created the middle finger. To insult them is merely to describe them. May their hearts be "blessed" and may they always lose to the Jaguars.


Mike from Lakeland, FL

For anybody that questioned him in the past, Robinson is by far and away the best left tackle on the roster right now. His absence in the past several games hurt a lot more than I realized. Having him healthy again sure is nice.

This references Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson, who in his seventh NFL season has become something of a fan favorite this season. This is because he not only indeed is the best left tackle on the roster, he also is perhaps the biggest leader of the Jaguars' offense. That Robinson gives this team an energy, aggressiveness and confidence has been true much of his career. It has been particularly evident this season, with the team going 7-1 with him starting and 2-6 without him starting. The team went 2-2 when he was suspended to start the season and 0-4 when he was on injured reserve in Weeks 13-16. Robinson returned from a knee injury this past Sunday, and the Jaguars' 155 rushing yards in a 26-0 victory over the Panthers marked their second-highest rushing total of the season. It may not be right to say Robinson is the sole reason the Jaguars rushed for more than 100 yards for the first time since a Week 11 victory over the Titans, but Robinson's presence matters to this offense. A lot.

Chuck from OP South

I was wondering about something. Since we signed quarterback Matt Barkley off the New York Giants' practice squad, we are required to keep him in the active roster for three games. If we lose both these games and miss the playoffs, would we be required to have him on our opening day roster or does it end with the league year?

It ends with the League Year.

Jon from American Fork

Cam Robinson is a difference maker. The intensity he brings to the offensive line can't be overstated. Is he at risk of missing additional time for being disqualified?

Robinson indeed matters very much to this offense. The offensive line generally plays better when he plays, and the Jaguars tend to run better when he plays. He is unquestionably a leader. Whether that's an intangible or whatever, the line and offense as a whole play tougher when he plays. Robinson was ejected Sunday following a fourth-quarter altercation with Panthers defensive lineman Derrick Brown. Robinson had the best postgame quote from Sunday when discussing this. Told it appeared he got the best of the altercation, Robinson replied: "I usually do." It's hard not to root for a guy like that. His status for next Sunday shouldn't be an issue. The NFL typically doesn't suspend players for future games for such ejections. Comparatively speaking, this was a pretty minor altercation anyway.

Matt from Valley Center, KS

Hey, O. You mentioned Kirk and Jones "are two of the Jaguar's best offensive players – and two of their most reliable players." How can you leave out tight end Evan Engram? 104 receptions and counting … Give this guy the damn ball!

I mentioned wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones as reliable, good offensive players in a recent O-Zone answer because I was asked about … wait for it … Kirk and Jones. They are indeed good, reliable offensive. That doesn't mean Engram is not.

Brian from Round Rock, TX

This offensive scheme seems like a liability. It's over-engineered "nerd" football that is too intricate to execute with inevitable turnover due to injuries and playing physical opponents who just punch you in the mouth. We have the quarterback and the weapons, which should be the hard part. We need a physical line that can do the fundamentals and meat and potatoes offensive design that relies on our talent to win, not trickery. Now get off my lawn! Am I wrong?

The Jaguars' offensive scheme is similar to the one that the Kansas City Chiefs have run winning two Super Bowls in the last four seasons and it's similar to the one the Philadelphia Eagles ran winning one following the 2017 season. The Jaguars' offensive line must improve.

Bo from Winter Springs, FL

I know it was the Panthers, but for one of the first times this season this looked like a team that just did the fundamentals well. Catch, tackle and a quarterback that took what was given instead of "threading needles." And I hope we keep Cam, we need a guy who first game off injured reserve goes to bat for his teammate next to him who's getting a big man with his face mask in his hand and Cam finished it by taking the other dude's helmet off and tossing it. Can I get a one fer the dogman himself Cam Robinson?

One fer the dogman.

Ricky from Jax

What are the chances that Cam is on the team next year? I was certain he wouldn't be around at the beginning of this year, but now I can't see how they part ways.

I've long thought that the Jaguars would have a difficult decision in the coming offseason regarding Robinson. While his salary-cap hit will be significant, his value to the team also is significant. It's no guarantee the Jaguars will retain him. It would be a huge loss if they don't.

Troy from Dover, PA

Why do you keep trying to ruin Don from Marshall, NC's reputation?

Don can handle that on his own.