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Wednesday Quick Six: Falcons week


JACKSONVILLE – The chances are slim, but real.

And because the Jaguars' playoff scenarios have been discussed on this site – and elsewhere – plenty in the last few days, we won't go into too much detail.

The Jaguars' primary concern is winning the rest of their games, then getting some help – perhaps from the Tennessee Titans. If those things happen, then the Jaguars might be spending the final three weeks of the 2015 regular season playing meaningful games.

As it stands, they're absolutely playing a meaningful game Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. If they win that game, then the following week's game at New Orleans likely will have meaning, too.

That's a lot of meaning for a franchise that has struggled for a long time, but the priority this week is beating the Falcons at EverBank Field at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Here are six important questions as the Jaguars begin preparations for that game:

1)Can the Jaguars handle prosperity?The Jaguars turned in their biggest victory of the Gus Bradley era Sunday. They did it by setting a franchise-record for points scored in a regular-season game in a 51-16 victory over the Colts. This is a team that had been close all season. Now that it has played a complete game, how will it respond?

2)Will the offense stay hot, particularly in the red zone?The Jaguars are 10 of 10 in the red zone the last two weeks. That has helped lead to 90 points in those two games. That's a sharp contrast to the team that struggled mightily in the red zone much of the season. It's a week-to-week league and there are no guarantees, but red-zone success remains key to this offense's production.

3)Will Posluszny and Yeldon play?Updates are expected on this area Wednesday. The Jaguars played one of their best games of the season without middle linebacker Paul Posluszny Sunday, but his presence against the run remains important. He will be fitted with a cast/club on his fractured right hand and the hope is he will be cleared to practice Wednesday. Running back T.J. Yeldon sustained a knee sprain Sunday and backup Denard Robinson rushed for 75 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries in his place. Still, the running back position is dangerously thin with Yeldon uncertain.

4)Can the Leos do it again?Leon rushers Chris Clemons and Andre Branch had perhaps their best game of the season Sunday, combining for three sacks. Branch made perhaps the key play of the game with a sack/forced/fumble/49-yard touchdown return late in the first half. That game came after a long period in which the team's key pass-rushing position was unproductive this season. The Jaguars need pressure from the Leo. Will they get it again?

5)Can the Jaguars run?Even without Yeldon, the Jaguars ran more effectively last week than in any previous game this season. After starting the season strong against the run, the Falcons have been vulnerable against good rushing teams such as Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Carolina in recent weeks. The Jaguars figure to be pass-heavy Sunday, but achieving balance will be key.

6)Will Good Blake keep showing up?Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was far from perfect Sunday, and his first half was particularly rocky: 7 for 17 passing, two lost fumbles, three sacks. But he recovered remarkably for three touchdown passes in the second half and did not throw an interception for a second consecutive week. The cleaner Bortles plays the better the Jaguars' offense.

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