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O-Zone: The right time

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bryan from Yorkshire, VA

Haven't seen the Jags play with this amount of confidence in a long, long, long time. Absolutely love it … seems eerie.

The Jaguars' 19-3 victory over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium Thursday absolutely felt big in that sense. The Jets have lost four consecutive games, so they're not currently a great team. And their quarterback play wasn't good Thursday. So, yes: The Jaguars were the better team. And this was a game they were maybe "supposed to win." But this team lost games it was "supposed to win" early in the season. It gave away games against a few teams early in the season that weren't getting good quarterback play. Good teams take advantage of the situation the Jaguars were presented Thursday. The Jaguars took advantage of the situation because they're now, suddenly and very definitely, a good team. They played Thursday with the confidence of a good team, and that should bode well moving forward.

Brad from The Avenues

It's gonna happen John! It's gonna happen!

The Jaguars absolutely have a good chance to win the AFC South. But they may still need to beat the Houston Texans next week – and they're going to have to beat the Tennessee Titans at home in Week 18 to do so. Yes, the Titans are struggling. Yes, the Jaguars are playing well. Yes, the Jaguars won in Nashville in Week 14. But beating the Titans won't be easy in that game. It just won't.

Brian from Greenwood, IN

If by chance the Texans beat the Titans this weekend, the last game of the year becomes a playoff game no matter what the Jags do next week, correct?

Yes.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. Most impressive to me was Trevor's ability to not let his fumble in the first drive, while on a national stage in another big game, shake him one bit. He did great the rest of the game ... even in wet/cold conditions. Trevor is becoming great right before our eyes. Fun to watch him and the team finally play focused football. I almost believe they can actually beat the Texans and the Titans to seal the division title. Very hard to do but it might just happen.

Good quarterbacks don't let one bad play early define a game. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is good. He's going to be good for a long time.

JR The Squatchlands

I love the way we adjusted to the circumstances: multiple quarterbacks, tough conditions and a stout defense. That was a solid, albeit ugly, W.

Thursday was a solid, professional NFL victory. The Jaguars hadn't had a "comfortable" victory since Week 3 over the Los Angeles Chargers. To get one in conditions such as Thursday – and against a defense as good as that of the Jets – was impressive.

Antony from Columbia, SC

Zone, I assumed they'd go to tight end Evan Engram a lot because of how good the Jets' corners are, but it seems like Head Coach Doug Pederson has switched from focusing on scheming wide receiver Christian Kirk open to scheming Engram open. Zone, are we witnessing a changing of the guard for the top receiving option for this team?

Not necessarily. The Jaguars throughout the season have said the primary receiver for a given game depends on the defense and the situation of that given game. This has been particularly evident lately with Kirk, wide receiver Zay Jones and Engram all having two 100-yard receiving games in the last seven games.

Kat from Augusta, GA

This team just continues to show signs of growth. We win back-to-back games on the road for the first time since 2017 and won in conditions that caused us to lose a few months ago. I would love for the Jags to continue to work on ball security but this sure is fun!

Except for ball security, Kat is "all in."

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

Great win against a struggling Jets team but there was way too much coasting in the second half. That won't work against better teams. Let's hope they keep improving in the next few weeks.

Coasting? I checked this email for a "sarcasm font" and found no evidence. So, I can only assume you're serious. Thursday's game was played in difficult conditions. The Jaguars were playing a team that was struggling on offense. They were also playing a very, very good defense. They played in the second half to minimize risk and maximize their chances of winning. That's not "coasting." That's winning in the NFL.

Alex from St. Augustine, FL

The Jaguars had a lot of spark in the first half, a ton of big plays. But in the second half it seemed like the Jets had a step ahead. Did the offense run out of plays? How can they maintain drives deep into the red zone?

The Jets might be the best defense the Jaguars have played all season. The Jaguars had 365 yards offense against that defense in difficult weather conditions. There was nothing wrong with the Jaguars' offense Thursday. They did not run out of plays.

Chris from Neptune Beach, FL

Do the Jags know they don't have to fumble on the first possession every game??!!

This was the much-ballyhooed, often-irritating, rarely-wonderfully-entertaining First Email of the Game – and it came after Lawrence lost a first-drive fumble. It indeed marked the third time in four games the Jaguars have fumbled on their first possession. On Thursday, the Jaguars' defense came up big with a blitzing sack by safety Andre Cisco on Jets quarterback Zach Wilson on third-and-five from the Jaguars 11. It was a huge play and a harbinger of big plays to come for the Jaguars' defense Thursday.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Obviously love all the progress, but Trevor needs to learn to hold onto the ball better. He fumbles far too much still.

This perhaps is not the Big Takeaway from Thursday, but yeah …

Adam from Allentown PA

If the team with the best quarterback usually wins the game, we are going to win a LOT of games.

Yes.

TJ from Orlando, FL

There, but for the grace of God, go we. Seems like a stark difference between No. 1 and 2.

Yes.

Stormy from Wyoming

Were you surprised Pederson played it safe with the field goals like he did?

No. This was a game where field goals where points were at a premium. The Jets are good defensively and struggling offensively. They're really good defensively in the red zone. Pederson took field goals because it felt as if the Jets were going to struggle to score touchdowns. It's professional football. You do what you have to do to win the game.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

There was always a shot the Jaguars could end up around .500 this year, but the way the Jaguars are achieving this record is so much better than even my most optimistic scenario. It seemed like the happy path was a defense that was playing a top 10 level based on a defensive line that started good and finished great. Instead, we have a head coach who is deserving of coach of the year and a QB who is making a strong case that he will be entering 2023 legitimately in the "top 5" discussion. Regardless of how things play out in the end here, how surprised are you with how bright the future looks this early?

Moderately. I expected the Jaguars would show improvement this season. I expected them to win six-to-seven games, so clearly they are very close to exceeding expectations. I also expected Lawrence would improve and that you would feel very good about him by season's end. The improvement we saw in the team and Lawrence through the first eight or nine games was about what I expected. I didn't expect it to accelerate as quickly as it has in the last seven games.

Jeremy from Wise, VA

Methodical.

That describes the Jaguars' offense well Thursday. The unit scored one touchdown and produced five drives that ended in field goal attempts. Six of their 10 drives were seven plays or more for 40 yards or more. They had just one play over 23 yards, but the were strikingly efficient against a very good defense in difficult conditions. Methodical? Yeah, but this also at times felt like one of the better offensive performances of the season considering the circumstances.

Michael from Indianapolis via 30 years in Jacksonville

In my wildest dreams I didn't think the Jaguars would win seven games. I was optimistic for five-to-six. Wow, Doug Pederson was the best offseason acquisition. He has gotten this team to believe in themselves. The team looks like they expect to win. I am so proud of this team and can now rub salt in the wounds of my Colts friends. GO Jags.

Winning is cool. Fans like it.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

What do they say about, "playing your best football in December?"

That it's cool. And fans like it.

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