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O-Zone: Take it

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Eric from Jacksonville Beach

What a cool time to be a Jags fan! I've lived here since 1985 and was doing backflips when they announced we got a team. All the success was great in the beginning, but it was like we didn't know any better and just assumed it would continue (like Dan Marino making the Super Bowl in his rookie season). The 2017 season was a lot of fun, but I never expected it to continue because we just didn't have the quarterback to win long in the long run. This feels different. After all the tough years, I appreciate it more. More than that, it doesn't feel like lighting in a bottle, like it's going to fall off a cliff, it feels like the beginning of something great. Not sure I've ever been this excited as a fan and can't wait to see how this year, and the years to come, play out!!

Good eye. This is a point that has been made a couple of times this week, but it's worth making again. This indeed is a cool time to be a Jaguars fan, observer or follower – and it's cool for the reasons you cite. And it eventually may be remembered as one of the coolest times in franchise history. The late 1990s were certainly cool, beginning with the 1996 run to the postseason and running until the AFC Championship Game following the 1999 season. The team was entertaining, made the postseason every season and each season offered hope and fun. It hasn't been that way often enough since, and it hasn't been close to that way enough for the last decade or so. This last month has been cool because it is a departure from much of the last decade or so, and it's cool because this is an entertaining team – and a likeable team, too. But perhaps mostly it's cool because – as you said – it feels sustainable. And it feels sustainable because quarterback Trevor Lawrence is in his second season, which means the improvement he has shown this season may just the beginning of even better play for a long time. There's more to this franchise than Lawrence, but he's the foundation. And this feels like it could be the foundation of something durable and special.

Drew from Atlanta, GA

The Jaguars have the seventh-highest point differential in the entire NFL after Week 17. While that doesn't mean anything in regards to making the playoffs, it means a lot when looking at the competitiveness of this young team. And they are doing it AS a team.

Your point is valid. Point differential doesn't necessarily reflect a team's playoff chances, and you can have a good point differential and not make the postseason if that point differential is based on, say, one game. But the Jaguars have a strong point differential largely because of four one-sided victories – over the Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets and Houston Texans. The Chargers are the only team of that group that will make the playoffs, but it's significant that the Jaguars have four one-sided victories. It means they have been able to pull away from teams and not have games all games come down to a series or two. That's always a good sign.

Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA

Is Saturday night at 8:15 not a prime-time TV slot?

It is.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

The nerves are really setting in. This is going to be a very tough game. Scared, O. Very scared.

Of course it's going to be a tough game. The Titans are a proud team that will be rested, and they have a very good defense and a generational running back. But you know what? It's a winner-take-all-matchup for the AFC South. It's a game to go to the postseason. It's supposed to be hard. And those nerves? That's how you're supposed to feel when your team is about to play a big game. If you knew what was going to happen every week, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun and you wouldn't watch.

Ray from Newport News, VA

Saturday can't get here quick enough. So pumped and excited about this great season. While the goal should be a deep run in the playoffs, which was a pipe dream at the beginning of the season. It is nice to see the fan bases talking about the Super Bowl and at least still having hope. One for hope and being competitive.

This Jaguars season in a sense is a gift. I expected the Jaguars to be more competitive and to win six-to-seven games this season. While I expected them to be improved and to set the tone for a lot of seasons to push for the postseason, I didn't expect them to be playing for the AFC South on the final weekend of the regular season. I certainly didn't expect it when the Jaguars were 2-6 at midseason. But while the Jaguars already had improved at midseason, the acceleration of that improvement since has been remarkable. More than simply building a foundation for the future, they have given the fans an exhilarating – and well-deserved – month to remember. And yeah … one fer hope. It's a good thing. Maybe the best thing.

Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL

Should the Jags beat the Titans on Saturday, please do me a quick favor. Assuming he will have nothing much to do during the NFL playoffs, let Jalen Ramsey know that I will have a spare ticket just for him to the Jaguars' homefield playoff game. I even got him a nifty back cushion for his seat. Thanks, John.

That's really not nice.

Sean from Saint John's City

It's not about respect, it's about a competitive disadvantage. I'd be more than happy to watch at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

There certainly will be at least some competitive edge at play Saturday. The Titans will have had eight days between games on Saturday whereas the Jaguars will have had five days. Had the NFL scheduled the game on Sunday, the Titans would have had nine days between games whereas the Jaguars would have had six. Does that extra day give the Titans an advantage? Maybe, but I don't know that it's significant enough to change the game's outcome.

Thrill from The 'Ville

I don't understand the controversy over small markets playing on Saturday rather than Sunday. Kansas City is not a large market on the scale of New York or Philadelphia and prior to Patrick Mahomes, no one cared about nor wanted to watch Chiefs games. Now that they are at the top of the standings year after year, I can't turn on a TV or start a streaming video without seeing that guy. One of two things must be true to get those coveted "respect" time slots. Grow a big market or dominate the competition on a regular basis. One of these will be true for Jacksonville soon.

Yes.

Dan from Ormond Beach, FL

There seems to be a lot mentioned of us having to play this game on "short" rest. Doesn't this mean when we win we will have an extra day of rest over any team we play the following week in the playoffs? Plus that team will have to travel. I'll take that!!

If the Jaguars win Saturday they indeed will have an extra day to prepare than any of their potential first-round opponents.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

Mr O., I really don't care what DAY it is !! The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the playoffs and cannot be taken for granted by ANYBODY now. It was been a long wait, but sure worth the wait. Thank You to all.

Jim is ready for some football.

Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX

KOAF: You tell us to "be nice" often in the O-Zone. Well, I for one hope you have a miserable year covering the Jaguars on multiple prime time late night slots. On the flip side, at least you won't have to post as many "Late Night O-Zone."

That's not nice. One o'clock home games are the best. One o'clock road games with short flights are next. Anything else is inherently evil, but those multiple prime-time, late-night spots? They're coming. No doubt.

Bill from Middleburg, FL

If the game is tied and the Jags have the ball on their own 35 with one minute left in overtime, and the Titans have no time outs left, do you go into victory formation, or should I say Tie Formation?

I'll assume it's not fourth down, so that your scenario means the Jaguars can run out the clock. If that's the case, the Jaguars absolutely should go into victory formation and take the tie. Tying in that situation means winning the AFC South and going to the postseason. Running a play would be the only way Tennessee could win in that situation. It's not even a discussion.

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