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Jacksonville Jaguars

Who might Jaguars play and will Bucs-Dolphins affect playoff scenarios?

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The final Sunday of regular season NFL football is upon us and some things we know about the playoffs. Other scenarios are up in the air? And for the Jaguars, Dolphins and Buccaneers, all of their games have playoff relevance for them and/or their opponent.

So here’s some of most pertinent info headed to what should be a wild afternoon and evening with the understanding we’re not going into every tiebreaker possibility, just the likely ones:

The Jaguars have not only clinched the AFC South and a home game next weekend, but they are also locked into the AFC #3 seed, because even if they end tied with Kansas City, they have a better AFC record. So, the Chiefs will be #4 as AFC West champs, and play the #5 Wildcard.

That wildcard is likely the Ravens, because they only have to beat the Bengals at home to be 10-6 and clinch. They also will clinch a playoff spot if either the Titans or Bills lose their game. Seeding in a tie for Baltimore would still be a tiebreaker for Sunday night.

Who will be the likely #6 seed in the AFC? Well, as we have laid out, if Tennessee wins, they are in the playoffs and likely playing the Jags, because they need no other help. And barring a three or four way tiebreaker with the Ravens, Chargers and Bills improving them to #5, the Titans are most likely in, as the sixth seed re-matching the Jaguars next weekend.

As for the Bills, they are in Miami and the Dolphins can eliminate them with a win. Still Buffalo also more help. They would need the Ravens to lose with their win to get in. The Bills also get in with a win and both a Titans and a Chargers (playing Oakland at home) loss. They have a tough situation. They are on the road trying to win and need other losses. The Dolphins would like nothing better than to pay Buffalo back for a Week 15 loss. We’ll see.

Again, if the Jaguars beat Tennessee, they are likely playing the Chargers, but maybe the Bills in Jacksonville next weekend.

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As for the Buccaneers, they host the Saints, who are already in the NFC Playoffs, but have not clinched the NFC South, yet. New Orleans does that with a win Sunday and they will host a playoff game next weekend. The Saints will also be scoreboard watching, because if the Panthers lose in Atlanta, it gives New Orleans the division and the wildcard home game.

Now, Tampa Bay can do the Panthers a huge favor by winning over the Saints. Then, a Panthers win in Atlanta not only potentially knocks the Falcons out of the playoffs, but Carolina will win the division, themselves and get the home game next weekend in Charlotte.

Interestingly, the Panthers and the Saints could be playing each other, or if Atlanta wins the game Sunday, they are in the playoffs, and they could be playing the Saints for a third time in five weeks in the NFC Wildcard game next weekend.

There are still NFC seeding tiebreakers to sort out with the Saints, the West champion Rams, or maybe the Panthers if they win the division. Again, it will play out late on Sunday all over the NFL.

There is no question it will be wild and you will next extra screens and maybe, eyeballs, to keep track of it all. And, all three Florida NFL teams are involved in the middle of it.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars “cornerstone” player for 2018?

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The third installment of our “cornerstone” players series takes us to North Florida. And, as the Jaguars get ready to start up 2018, we wondered which impact player would be the one to build around.

You could make arguments for last year’s top free agent acquisition defensive tackle Calais Campbell, or lock down corner Jalen Ramsey, as being that player. However, it’s a player on the offensive side of the ball that appears to be everything that Jacksonville could have hoped for in a running back. That running back is Leonard Fournette.

Fournette, whom the Jags took fourth overall in the draft, is fantastic physical talent at 6’0 230lbs. with a blend of speed and power. And in his debut season, repeatedly showed why you would want to have your offense centered on his ability pound on a defense.

He made a tremendous impact from the beginning of the Jags breakout 2017 with a 100 yard game in the opening win at Houston, and three more 100 yard games in the first nine.

There was lull in Fournette’s productivity due an ankle injury and he also missed a game in Indianapolis due disciplinary reasons, but eventually, Fournette got back on track. He ran for 109 yards and 3 TDs in Jacksonville’s statement win over Seattle in December that clinched the first playoff spot for Jacksonville in 11 seasons.

Then, in the post season Fournette was just okay against the Bills in the AFC Wildcard game with 57 yards on 21 carries. However the next week in Pittsburgh, Fournette set the tone early and often with two first quarter TDs. He finished with 109 yards and 3 rushing TDs, and Jacksonville stunned the Steelers to advance to the AFC Championship Game.

The Jags sledgehammer back scored another early TD and finished with 76 yards rushing as the Patriots rallied to win 24-20 scoring in the final three minutes to knock the Jaguars out of the Superbowl.

Of course there will be great scrutiny on the play of quarterback Blake Bortles, and rightfully so.

However, much of the Jaguars success offensively, the identity of what they want to do, will be centered around Leonard Fournette.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Why is Jalen Ramsey Twitter feuding with NFL Network analyst?

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There is no mistaking that Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey is talented, and in 2017 he was named as an All-Pro by his peers and most recenlty in the player polled “Top 100.” So, that’s a validation that doesn’t need a whole lot else.

Yet, an NFL Network analyst and a former NFL defensive back himself, is questioning part of his game.

And, Jalen Ramsey got annoyed. Like, really annoyed.

It all began when, Bucky Brooks, who hosts a successful podcast and appears regularly on the NFL Network questioned another player, DB Casey Hayward of the Chargers, and whether he was a “transcendent talent” in coverage.

The exchanges with Hayward on Twitter Thursday went on for a bit and then, Ramsey jumped in here:

 

And, when Brooks tweeted about Ramsey and why he was drafted two years ago in the top five by Jacksonville, things cranked up on social media:

Next, Ramsey questioned whether Brooks believes Ramsey is only a product of the Jaguars “defensive system” and not of his ability to shutdown the opposing team’s top wideout, one on one:

Brooks referenced former fellow Noles All American and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders as one of those rare “lock down” corners, and of course, that someone that Ramsey, two years removed from FSU, wants to be compared to with his own game.

Brooks then explained further about his own analysis and teams/GMs/personnel executives thinking:

In the end, Ramsey, who is not bashful about expressing his opinions on or off the field, finally gave some props to Brooks for having an informed opinion:

The bottom line is that analysts get paid to analyze. And the good ones are always soliciting the opinions of others, who are actually coaching and working in the NFL Front office.

And further, if Ramsey keeps “locking down” the likes of the Texans DeAndre Hopkins, and the Colts T.Y. Hilton, who he sees twice a year, then he will continue to get the respect he wants. And, he’ll get the second contract dollars that come with it, too.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL Network will show Jaguars preseason game at Minnesota nationally

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a tremendous surprise turnaround season that included a division win and two playoff victories, the Jaguars have everyone in North Florida buzzing for 2018. And the NFL Network is interested enough that it has announced it will be showing their second preseason game, at the Vikings, to the nation on Saturday August 18th.

This information was included in the NFL’s announcement that NFL Network will televise a total of 15 preseason games live, nationally:

The Jaguars will practice against the Vikings in Minnesota on Wednesday and Thursday (8/15-16) prior to playing the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota, who won the NFC North and made the NFC Championship Game last year, signed arguably the top free agent on the market last March. That’s when they inked former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins to a massive three year fully guaranteed $84 million deal.

Jacksonville will open the preseason the previous week against the NFC South champion Saints at newly renamed TIAA Bank Field in North Florida.

The good news in addition to the practice time with the Vikes, most of the starters on both sides of the ball will see action into the second quarter, if not halftime of the second preseason game.

This will be good work for QB Blake Bortles and his new assortment of targets like WR Donte Moncrief and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who both signed with the Jags in March.

And for the stout Jaguars defense led by DT Calais Campbell, LB Telvin Smith and CB Jalen Ramsey (all of whom made the Pro Bowl last year) will get a good opening half challenge from Cousins, and receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. It will also be curious to see if second year former FSU star running back Dalvin will be fully recovered from his ACL tear. And, we’ll see if the Vikings want to give him some work or rest him completely in August.

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