“It comes down to this….” That’s a favorite sportscaster/announcer cliche’, but it’s also very appropriate for the Jaguars bid to win the AFC South and host a playoff game. For you see, a Sunday victory (or a Titans loss) will clinch the division for the first time since 1999 for the Jags.
So now for the full preview of Sunday’s Game:
Why to watch
As we mentioned above, it gets no bigger than clinching the division and thereby, playing at home in the playoffs coming up. The Jaguars have worked hard to get to 10-4 and already have a playoff spot locked up. However, they can’t be satisfied with that alone. To really have a shot to advance, you want to be hosting playoff games. So victory at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, will guarantee that. Now, as we mentioned previously this week, the Tennessee showdown with the Rams will be played at 1 p.m. Eastern in Nashville. So, the Jags may have a good idea whether the Titans have won to keep there hopes alive or if they have bottomed out/lost to L.A. and the Jags will have clinched without playing.
In any event. This is the biggest moment/time period for the franchise since George W. Bush was the President in 2007 (last playoff appearance). How will the Jags handle it all? Will a 49ers team that has won three in a row spoil things for Jacksonville? We’ll see.
Since inserting QB Jimmy Garappolo into the starting lineup, the 49ers are 3-0 and he’s lead them brilliantly. He led the game winning FG drive in the final seconds at Chicago in game one. Then, threw for 334 yards in the win at Houston and another 371 yards in the victory at home over Tennessee last week.
As we documented earlier this week, the Jaguars defense has been stout and leads the NFL in sacks with 51. Can the Jacksonville pass rush, against what is a shaky 49ers O-line, create havoc for Garappolo? Or will the new leader, who’s provided a shot in the arm for first year coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense, work more magic against the Jags?
There’s no bigger hope for San Francisco to pull off the win.
The West Coast has traditionally been a nightmare for the Jaguars. How bad? How about 2-11, lost your last seven in a row, bad? Yeah, that’s the situation that Doug Marrone and team are up against.
Of course, the 2017 Jaguars have been ending some bad trends this season. This includes going to London and blasting the Ravens in week two. And traveling to Pittsburgh for a five interception 21 point victory over the Steelers.
Still, traveling out West to the Arizona desert two weeks ago was not kind, as former Jags QB Blaine Gabbert led a 27-24 Cardinals triumph.
The Jaguars actually chose not to come to the San Francisco Bay Area Friday like a lot of other NFL teams do. Instead, Marone insisted that the previous staffs he’s been on and research his strength and nutritional people have done shows: there’s no real advantage on the body clock or rest to coming out Friday instead of Saturday.
Will it make a difference? If it does, and Jacksonville pulls off the win, it’s history making.
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