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Jacksonville Jaguars

Playoff Picture – Jaguars to Take on Bills on Sunday at 1pm ET

Josh Ciganek

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As Week 17 drew to a close, we saw the NFC South come out as the most dominant division in the NFC with 3 out of their respective 4 teams earning a playoff berth. Unfortunately, though, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not one of those three playoff teams, even after an impressive win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 17.

In the AFC, Jacksonville (10-6) was able to clinch the AFC East prior to their Week 17 matchup with division foe Tennessee, who subsequently defeated the Jaguars 15-10. However, with the win Tennessee (9-7) does clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2008 and with Baltimore’s loss to Cincinnati, the Titans are the 5th seed in the AFC.

Now that the match ups are set, here is how next week’s Wild Card games line up:

NFC

As mentioned prior, 3 teams from the NFC South made the playoffs and all of them will be in action during wild card weekend. First, the Atlanta Falcons (10-6) will be faced with the tough challenge of slowing down explosive offensive of the Los Angeles Rams (11-5), led by Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. These two teams squared off in Week 14 of last season with Atlanta handily defeating the Rams 42-14. They will meet Saturday night at 8:15pm.

 

In the other NFC Wild Card matchup, fans will get to watch New Orleans vs. Carolina: Part III. Both teams were able to finish the regular season with an 11-5 record but the Saints won both games against the Panthers during the regular season, thus holding the tiebreaker for the higher seed. With both teams coming off of losses in Week 17, this game is sure to provide some early playoff drama. The two teams will face off at 4:40pm on Sunday afternoon.

 

AFC

In an unusually weak performance from the AFC this year, the AFC West Champion Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) will play host to the Tennessee Titans (9-7) at 4:30pm on Saturday. Tennessee is faced with stopping an electric Chiefs offense led by rookie running back Kareem Hunt who won the rushing title this year. Hunt is the first player since Priest Holmes to win the rushing title for Kansas City. This is also Tennessee’s first appearance back in the playoffs since 2008.

The final matchup for these playoffs came in dramatic fashion as the Buffalo Bills (9-7) were able to sneak into the playoffs after Baltimore lost to Cincinnati. So the other AFC Wild Card matchup will see the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting the Bills at 1pm Sunday afternoon. The last time these two teams met in the playoffs was in 1996 when Jacksonville won that Wild Card matchup 30-27.

With New England, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Minnesota all earning the bye week, all eyes will be on these four games over the next week as the playoffs begin to be in full swing.

Josh Ciganek is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars “cornerstone” player for 2018?

Florida Football Insiders

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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?

Florida Football Insiders

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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

Florida Football Insiders

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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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