The Jacksonville Jaguars have positioned themselves nicely with seven games remaining in the 2017 regular season. Not only are they a shoe-in to make the playoffs, but the Jaguars have the potential to lock up a division title, a first round bye, and home field advantage for some of, it not all of, the 2017 playoffs.
In their division, the AFC South, the Jaguars control their own destiny. They still play the down trodden Colts and Texans. They also play the Browns and 49ers -- likely the two worst teams in football. Beyond that the Jaguars play the Cardinals and Seahawks. The injury riddled Cardinals are very beatable, while the Seahawks likely present the toughest outside of division test remaining. Of course, the Jaguars end their regular season with a showdown in Nashville against the Titans. That game could decide the division -- either way the Jaguars are in control own their AFC South future.
Beyond the AFC South there aren't too many teams in the AFC that look more dangerous than the Jaguars. The Jags are just one game behind the Steelers and Patriots, who are currently tied for first place in the entire AFC. If the Jaguars were to pull even with either team in terms of wins and losses, they could potentially earn a first round bye week and home field throughout the entire playoffs. The Steelers and Patriots play one another later on in the season, so one of them is guaranteed to drop another game. On the Steelers side they also play the Titans, winners of four straight. Who should the Jaguars fans route for in that one? The Titans, who are in direct competition with the Jaguars for the one guaranteed playoff spot from the AFC South, or the Steelers, who are a half game ahead of the Jaguars for first place in the AFC? I would say route for the Steelers, because winning the division is goal number one. For the Patriots every game down the stretch looks winnable, but they still play the dangerous Bills and Dolphins two times each. The Pats also plays the Raiders and Jets, neither of which is a gimme.
The idea of the Jaguars, who went 3-13 just a season ago, transforming into a dominant team that can win with an elite defense and running game AND a team that could make it to the playoffs with potential for a first round bye/ home field advantage is almost impossible to fathom.
This team has won convincingly in five of their six wins. With their week ten win over the Chargers the Jaguars also proved they can win games where the odds are stacked against them. Two Blake Bortles interceptions in the waning moments of regulation couldn't stop the Jaguars from beating the Philip Rivers and the Chargers, a team that had beaten the Big Cats six consecutive times.
These Jaguars have an opportunity to be the best Jaguars team since 1999 - a year in which the Jaguars were 15-0 against every team in the NFL not named the Titans. For the Jaguars and their fans' sake, let's hope they can beat the Titans when it counts in 2017.
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