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O-Zone: Special day 

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

Loving the Texans right now, Zone.

As you should be. The Jaguars on Saturday moved into first place in the AFC South when the Houston Texans beat the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Tenn. More importantly, the Titans' loss Saturday guaranteed that the 2022 AFC South title will be decided when the Jaguars (7-8) play host to the Titans (7-8) at TIAA Bank Field in Week 18. Neither team can clinch the division next week, and the winner of the Week 18 game will hold the tiebreaker advantage if the teams finish in a tie.

Randy from Gainesville, FL

Should the Jaguars rest starters in Week 17?

This is tricky. If the Miami Dolphins win Sunday and the Los Angeles Chargers win Monday, the Jaguars can no longer qualify for the postseason as a wild-card team. That would make the Jaguars-Texans game Sunday meaningless in terms of the postseason. At the same time, the Jaguars are a hot team – and a young team – and Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson may want to keep this team playing hard as what is now essentially a postseason game in Week 18 approaches. It's a delicate balance.

Ken from Rabun Gap, GA

So, I guess this answers the question which is better, a Top 3 defense or a franchise guy at the wheel (and a coaching staff that knows how to scheme an opponent)?

I don't know that this ever was a question – not in the last four or five decades in the NFL, anyway, and certainly not now. A Top 3 defense in the NFL is important. You can win with a Top 3 defense. But a franchise quarterback, as we are starting to see with quarterback Trevor Lawrence, can make plays above-the-Xs and Os and control games consistently in a way that's difficult for defenses to match. Another issue, as became evident with the very good 2016-2018 Jaguars defenses, is keeping together the multiple players necessary to maintain a top defense over the long-term. A franchise quarterback not only is the better option for the short-term, it's absolutely and unquestionably better for the long-term. Presuming the franchise quarterback stays healthy and can win from the pocket, the player can be signed for the long-term and therefore be a foundation for a decade or more. A dominant defense almost certainly can't be held together that long.

Dave from Chorley, UK

Merry Xmas John, I wondered what Doug would do to rectify the direction of the team a while back. Whatever he has done it is clearly working. The grit they've shown to not let their heads drop when things don't go their way is incredible and they are clearly having fun and playing for themselves and each other. Trevor also looks like he's becoming a leader of the team. Long may this continue. The Jets win was a nice Xmas present from the Jags to all us Fans. Thank you.

Though I understand the question, I'm not sure I completely agree with the premise. That's because I never quite saw the Jaguars' direction this season being so out of whack that it needed rectifying. This team showed significant improvement from the start of the season. While they were losing close games, the team was clearly moving in the right direction. I don't know that Pederson had to change the direction as much as he needed to be patient and continue to show a young team how to work, how to improve and to win. Time also was needed to allow Lawrence's obvious improvement reach a level that it didn't just get the Jaguars close to winning but allowed them to start winning. I thought for the first couple of months of the season that we would see enough improvement for the Jaguars to win games at the end of the season and feel very good about the future at season's end. I didn't expect the future to arrive so quicky.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty 'O' / King of all Funk, Merry Christmas to you, your family and friends and all Jags fans across the world. May you have enjoyable and peaceful times. Happy Holidays from Across The Pond.

Merry Krimma.

Chad from Denver, NC

Jags are slow to start but once they find their rhythm it's something special to watch. I'm starting to think they start slow to feel out the defense. If so, that's a brilliant strategy. Was wondering if you thought this may be possible. Thank you for all you do and happy holidays!

You're seemingly asking if I believe the Jaguars start slowly on purpose to feel out the opposing defense. No, I do not think this.

Parish from CARY

This is fun! My hope for this season was improvement during the year with signs of a young team and new coaching staff showing progress … oh yeah, and figuring out if we had "the guy." Mission accomplished. I would be disappointed if they didn't make the playoffs at this point, but everything is gravy at this point. Any other things you are keeping an eye on these last few games?

The AFC South title and the playoffs are the storylines now.

Nick from Virginia Beach, VA

God Bless Frank Gore. God Bless this resilient team. It's been a long road to this point but it makes it so much sweeter. If they make it to the playoffs how surprising does that rank in the annals of NFL history?

It would be surprising. I don't know that it would be all that much more surprising than a lot of playoff appearances. I don't know that it would be more surprising than, say, the 1996 Jaguars. But yeah … it would be surprising.

Jason from Jacksonville

It was always the Jags!!!! Might be the best line to describe this team

It was always the Jags.

Alan from Ellington, CT

Impressive win over a very good defense, but SLIDE TREVOR! I cringe every time he takes a shot. It's awesome to watch the Jags win in December.

Lawrence is learning and developing before our eyes. He's otherworldly improved on many fronts, and improving at a pace I didn't expect. I absolutely did not expect him to be as efficient and effective as he has been in the last seven games this quickly. But yeah … he needs to improve a little at knowing when to slide and when to put himself at risk. And there needs to be a bit less of the latter.

Pradeep from Bangalore, India

Hi John, do we have a chance to enter playoffs through wildcard?

A very, very small one.

James from Titusville, NJ

What seems to get lost in the shuffle during this fun winning streak is how the offense isn't shooting itself in the foot by committing silly false start penalties. Trevor releasing the ball so quick aids in the reduction of holding calls, but credit to the O-line for their penalty-free football they've been playing, especially while being banged up.

The Jaguars' offensive line long has been the most overcriticized unit on the team. It long has been better than most fans realized. While many are praising the unit this season, I have received multiple emails after various games this season calling for the line to be revamped. But yes … the unit in recent weeks has shown yet again it's a team strength – especially considering the injuries the unit has sustained lately.

Jag Fan Everywhere

Thank you Jags for letting us open your Christmas present early, and a very Merry "I don't have to travel to an NFL city!" Christmas to you, John.

Merry Krimma.

Bruce from Saint Simons Island

O, You know what all the NFL teams are wishing for this Christmas season? Not to play the Jaguars!

The Jaguars are hot. If they can get into the postseason – and there's a very good chance they will – they will be a tough out.

Howard from Homestead, FL

The NFL is finally going to sell its product to digital consumers in the US starting in 2023. Jags fans everywhere will be able to watch every game! One fer all of us!


TAF from PVB

Jags are playing the Texans in January and no one is thinking or talking about how the outcome will affect 2023 draft position. I'm pretty sure that at this time last year many a Jag fan was focused more on draft position and personnel than on next week's opponent. I'm happy to say that I have no idea who Todd McShay has at number one.

I'm pretty sure at this time nine of the last 10 years many a Jag fan was focused more on draft position and personnel than on next week's opponent. Times are changing. Strike that: Times have changed. This isn't a fluke. This is a new era.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

It's Christmas. I still don't like you. But I won't say you suck. At least not today.

Merry Krimma.