JACKSONVILLE – It's simple. At the same time, it's not.
The Jaguars, winners of three consecutive games, control their postseason destiny with a very easy-to-understand scenario:
If they win their regular-season finale, they're in the postseason.
The Jaguars (7-8) will play the Tennessee Titans (7-8) at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville in that Week 18. regular-season finale. The teams either will play January 7 (Saturday) or January 8 (Sunday) with times to be determined after this week's Week 17 games. If either the Titans or Jaguars win that game, that winner will win the AFC South no matter how either team fares this week.
That's the simple part.
But there are more unlikely scenarios that are more complicated. We'll explain those here with a few points:
- Sunday could matter. It has been vogue in recent days to say this week's games don't matter for the Jaguars. This isn't true. The Jaguars visit the Houston Texans (2-12-1) Sunday and the Titans play host to the Dallas Cowboys (11-4) Thursday, two games that do have at least some effect on the Jaguars' postseason hopes.
- The Jaguars are rooting for the Cowboys to win Thursday because don't forget ties. If the Cowboys beat the Titans, the Jaguars will win the South with EITHER a tie or a victory over the Titans in Week 18 no matter how the Jaguars fare against the Texans Sunday. If the Titans beat the Cowboys and the Jaguars lose to the Texans, the Jaguars must beat the Titans to win the South. A Jaguars-Titans tie in that scenario would give the Titans an 8-8-1 final record compared to the Jaguars' 7-9-1 record. If the teams finish the season tied and tie in the finale, the Jaguars would win the South because of a 1-0-1 record against the Titans this season.
- The Jaguars can still make the postseason as a wild-card team. The Jaguars can only make the playoffs as a wild card if they finish 8-9 with a victory over the Texans and a loss to Tennessee. If they finish 7-10, they will be out of the postseason. If they finish 9-8, they will be in as AFC South champions. If they finish 8-9 with a loss to the Texans and a victory over Tennessee, they will be in as AFC South champions. They can make the postseason as a wild card at 8-9 IF: New England beats Miami in Week 17, AND Seattle beats the New York Jets in Week 17, the Jets beat Miami in Week 18, Buffalo beats New England in Week 18 AND Pittsburgh loses to Cincinnati or Baltimore in Week 17 or 18. That would put the Jaguars in at 8-9.
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