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This is how I like it


Oh, how I have missed this. We got a minor dose of it last year but nothing close to the suspense and intrigue that is this year's AFC wild-card race.

Four teams – Jaguars, Steelers, Chargers and Chiefs – are vying for two wild-card spots. I'm not even going to get into all of the playoff permutations because they are too many and too confusing and that's just the way I like it.

Yeah, baby, this is the push for the playoffs. This is the stretch drive and you have to keep one eye on your team and one eye on all of the other teams. That's what it means to have a team in the playoff race, which we had only briefly last season for the first time since 1999.

Do you remember last year's circumstances for week 16? Well, the Jaguars were hosting the Texans and the Jaguars needed to win their game and get a Steelers win over the Ravens for the Jaguars to have a win-and-in circumstance in Oakland the following week. The Steelers accommodated; the Jaguars didn't.

So here we go again, except this time the Jaguars are in a win-and-in and it's the Steelers who are counting on the Jaguars. Yeah, the Steelers need to beat the Browns and have the Jaguars are beat the Texans on Saturday in Houston.

With a win over the Texans, the Jaguars would clinch the number five seed; the Steelers still might need the Jaguars to beat Tennessee next week. Oh, yeah, this is juicy stuff and it'll get absolutely mind-numbing should the Jaguars lose in Houston.

A Jaguars loss could screw the Steelers big time. A Jaguars loss could screw the Jaguars big time. The Chargers and Chiefs are waiting in the wings. Their fates hinge directly on what the Jaguars and Steelers do on Saturday.

You don't like it? You prefer less anxiety? Well, consider the alternative: playing out the string.

Oh, no, I've had enough of that. Give me the full angst. I'll take anything but that playing for a winning season crap.

This is the way I like it. Late December, family in for Christmas and playoff talk dominating conversation.

Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Texans.

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