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Jaguars could simplify playoff race Sunday

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.

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19 Responses to “Jaguars could simplify playoff race Sunday”
  1. Seeryer says: Dec 11, 2009 10:57 AM

    Just bought two more tickets for SUN game. I bought 4 total and I work during the games so I am trying to do my part to keep the Jags in town. This game is so huge. If the Jags win that will most likely mean a playoff birth. That would be 2 playoff births in three years as Garrard starting. Yet half the town wants Tim Tebow and the other half doesn’t want Garrard. Come on David, keep it up and the fans won’t have much to say except “thnaks for another playoff run”. This year is similar to ’07 in that I think the Jags go on the road in the final weeks of the season to meet a likely 1st round playoff opponent. In ’07 it was the Steelrs who went down, in ’09 it is looking like the Patriots.

  2. Jax at least were not oakland says: Dec 11, 2009 11:00 AM

    Jags are the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL

  3. samh says: Dec 11, 2009 11:00 AM

    Jax is 19th and Miami is alllll the way up at 16th in the FO ratings. I can see your point.

  4. ftomeo says: Dec 11, 2009 11:02 AM

    I much prefer the headline: “Dolphins could further complicate AFC playoff race Sunday.” I know every other 76-6 or 5-7 team is routing for the Fins as well.

  5. bloodystupidjohnson says: Dec 11, 2009 11:04 AM

    That game against the Browns is in Cleveland, not Jacksonsville.

  6. Asswipe Johnson (Pronounced Az-Wee-Pay) says: Dec 11, 2009 11:07 AM

    Gregg Rosenthal said:
    “We chose Miami this week in our PFT picks partly because of Jacksonville’s unimpressive resume.”
    Gutsy call taking Miami on the road against the Jags…I hope you’re right.

  7. getagrip says: Dec 11, 2009 11:20 AM

    Considering Jacksonville’s problems selling tickets and the fact that the Florida Atlantic coast is still full of Dolphins fans, I’m not even sure this qualifies as a road game for Miami.

  8. Bart says: Dec 11, 2009 11:27 AM

    JAX- 1-3 vs the NFC West… all three losses were ass kickings as well… how the hell is this team a playoff contender???

  9. samh says: Dec 11, 2009 11:42 AM

    Very few teams have an impressive resume this year, but whatever.

  10. jj jones says: Dec 11, 2009 11:59 AM

    “JAX- 1-3 vs the NFC West… all three losses were ass kickings as well… how the hell is this team a playoff contender???”
    Let’s see.
    Tennessee started 0-6 including a loss to the Jaguars.
    The Jets are 3-6 in their last 9 games including a loss to the Jaguars.
    The Texans got swept by the Jaguars.
    The Steelers lost at Cleveland, at KC and at home to the Raiders.
    The Ravens have lost close games against every good team they have played.

  11. ftomeo says: Dec 11, 2009 12:01 PM

    samh, in DVOA, 5.5% is a fairly considerable lead over -.3%. But, then again, FO has the Steelers ahead of both teams.

  12. Pack83 says: Dec 11, 2009 12:04 PM

    9-7 is gonna get some team a Wild Card…I don’t think any 6-6 team is winning out.
    Denver should get to 10 wins, if they can survive Oakland and KC…no guarantee.
    Jax could easily go 1-3 or 2-2 in their final 4; Miami, Indy and at New England coming up.
    Baltimore has to go to Pittsburgh, and you never know what could happen in Oakland.
    Miami has some tough games down the stretch, including at Jax and Tennessee.
    Jets have Indy and Cinci.
    9-7 is getting someone in.

  13. KILLER FIN says: Dec 11, 2009 12:12 PM

    They’re both Florida teams & the Jags fans aren’t there could be a Miami home game!!! GO FINS!!!

  14. Jag4Life says: Dec 11, 2009 1:06 PM

    This is more like it. Let’s talk football. Poor attendance, good attendance, I don’t give a damn. I did at the beginning of the year but that’s old news now. Now we’re in the last leg of the season and you know what matters now, WINNING. Time to put the women and children to bed and go looking for food. This is the best time of the year playing meaningful football in December. All I want for X-mas is a wildcard spot wrapped under the tree and this Sunday could be the first gift I unwrap. Just win baby!!!!!!!

  15. Jeff Smith says: Dec 11, 2009 1:26 PM

    It should be a great game on Sunday with the winner likely in the playoffs. Go Jags!

  16. Alfie says: Dec 11, 2009 1:41 PM

    @Seeryer – Maybe if Garrard didn’t have more total turnovers than he did total touchdowns, people wouldn’t be so hard on him.
    @getagrip – Uh, Miami fans don’t even go to the games in Miami, what makes you think they’ll go in Jax?
    Florio you can add: Jags have yet to beat a team with a winning record and have been blown out in 4 of their 5 losses.

  17. texasPHINSfan says: Dec 11, 2009 2:13 PM

    Mike Sims-Walker is now listed as doubtful. That has to be a big loss for the Jags.

  18. Jag4Life says: Dec 11, 2009 2:29 PM

    This is more like it. Let’s talk football. Poor attendance, good attendance, I don’t give a d@mn. I did at the beginning of the year, but that’s old news now. Now we’re in the last leg of the season and you now what matters now, WINNING. Time to put the women and children to bed and go looking for food. This is the best time of the year playing meaningful football in December. All I want for X-mas is a wild card and hopefully I can start unwrapping my gift this Sunday. Just win baby!!!!

  19. Pablo0620 says: Dec 11, 2009 2:42 PM

    Dolphins Win the last Wild Card spot. If we dont take the AFC East

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