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State-of-mind game


Mark Brunell says this Sunday's game in Kansas City has extra importance.

"It's in the back of your mind," Brunell said of the prospect of beginning the season with an 0-2 record. "It's probably the motivation this week. We don't want to go into the bye week 0-2. This one (counts) a little more than one game."

Some players prefer only to focus on winning; others draw motivation from their fear of losing. Here's the facts to each:

  • A win in Kansas City this Sunday will send the Jaguars into their bye week with a 1-1 record and home games against the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles on the immediate horizon.
  • If the Jaguars were to lose to the Chiefs, 0-2 would cause fans to wonder when the Jaguars might score their first victory. Against the expansion Texans on Oct. 27?

Both scenarios go to state of mind. Winning creates enthusiasm; losing causes anxiety.

"Winning ultimately breeds confidence. That's the key. There were a lot of positives (in the loss to the Colts), but we got the loss so it still stings," Brunell said.

Brunell and the Jaguars passing game must have a big day against a Chiefs defense that is worst in the league against the pass.

"When you're 32nd in the league, you know that's what they're working on this week," wide receiver Jimmy Smith said. "I think I'm ready to roll," he added, having played his first game last Sunday following a preseason-long holdout.

But the Jaguars defense didn't fare much better in its season-opener. The Jaguars are dead last in the league in third-down defense.

"It's got to get better. (Sixty-four) percent is not good," coach Tom Coughlin said of his defense's failures on third down against the Colts.

So, this Sunday would seem to be a game very similar to this past Sunday's season-opener between the Jaguars and Colts: Two good offenses and against two bad defenses. The team that plays the better defense will probably win the game.

"We need to go into the bye week with a win. It's absolutely critical to this football team," Brunell said.

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