The AFC Wild Card race is a complicated puzzle, but the Jaguars could make things a lot simpler with a win over the Dolphins Sunday.
A victory over Miami would put the Jaguars on the doorstep of a playoff berth. All they would need after that was one more win — they face Cleveland in the season finale — unless the Ravens or Jets ran the table and swept their last four games.
Got all that?
In Jacksonville’s favor is a 6-2 conference record they could further improve against Miami. Of course, folks have been doubting Jacksonville’s ability to stay in the playoff race all season. Including us.
We chose Miami this week in our PFT picks partly because of Jacksonville’s unimpressive resume.
They don’t rank in the top-20 teams in scoring offense or defense. The Jaguars have won four games by three points or less; the combined record of those four opponents is 14-34. FootballOutsiders’ unbiased formula ranks Jacksonville as the 19th-best team in the league.
And all of that evidence won’t make a difference if the Jaguars can find a way to win Sunday. Jack Del Rio has one of the best running backs in the league and a quarterback in David Garrard playing closer to his ’07 peak than people realize.
“This is a playoff game for both teams,” Torry Holt said this week. “It’ll be entertaining for the fans. I think it’s good for the league,” Holt said.
It originally looked like the Ravens-Steelers clash in Week Sixteen would decide the final wild card spot, but Pittsburgh’s collapse has changed that.
Don’t be surprised if the winner of Sunday’s Jaguars-Dolphins matchup is the final team to get in.