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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 DB Jalen Ramsey implied Monday he wants out of Jacksonville

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Frustration is mounting in Jacksonville as the Jaguars dropped their fifth straight game losing Sunday in Indianapolis 29 – 26.

And as the cliche goes, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” However, the literal meaning of that phrase can now being taken by Jaguars fans and media with regards to controversial defensive back Jalen Ramsey taking to social media Monday morning to imply that he wants to get going out of Jacksonville.

Whether it was frustration, trying to be funny or just being honest, Ramsey’s tweeted mid-morning message is definitely going to stir things up. And, the clear indication is that the former fifth overall pick of the Jags in 2016, who’s playing in his third season on his rookie contract, is counting down the days to be gone from North Florida.

This is the latest in a series of headaches for the Jaguars front office and Coach Doug Marrone. It began in the offseason when Ramsey refused to come work out with his teammates during OTAs and instead, elected to remain training in Tennessee with his father at their training facility.

Now, that one is more easily explained and accepted, because Ramsey has trained there throughout his young adult life in the offseason. And ultimately, OTAs are supposed to be voluntary workouts anyway.

Still, the perception was that Ramsey was not wanting to be part of the team concept and around his teammates coming off of a playoff season, when the franchise was hoping to take the next steps.

Then came Ramsey’s decision to not show up at the beginning of Jaguars training camp due to the birth of his daughter. While he informed the Jaguars of his intentions in advance, the fact that Ramsey did not come to participate in practices and preparation for the season for five days of actual practices was another concerning hint that he’s not pleased with the Jags and the situation.

The subject was basically glossed over by the media in Jacksonville, but if winning and getting better with your teammates is a priority and your girlfriend and child did not have any complications during childbirth, why were you not with them within a day or so of the birth?

Next, came and ugly and embarrassing public skirmish at a Jaguars training camp practice, as defensive line teammates Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler got into a shoving match and had to be separated from teammates in full view of fans and media looking on. Ramsey joined in in threatening two different reporters to stop video taping the incident, even though they were perfectly within their right to do so covering the team.

Maronne suspended both Fowler and Ramsey for the entire week of practice with the Minnesota Vikings before playing the preseason game in Minneapolis. Fowler was traded two weeks ago to the L.A. Rams, while in the final year of his rookie contract.

Also, Ramsey’s comments in GQ Magazine and an online article also came out later that same August week  and in the article, Ramsey took shots at quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, rookie Josh Allen, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan, too.

This obviously brought unwanted attention to Ramsey around the football world, at a time when the Jaguars would have wanted it toned down.

Now, the Jaguars are facing adversity on the field having lost five in a row to drop to 3 and 6 on the season and in last place in the AFC South.

It’s also interesting timing for Ramsey to be speaking out, half joking or not, because it’s after the trading deadline and the Jaguar still have Ramsay’s exclusive rights to give him a new deal through next season. They also have the option to pick up the 5th Year on his rookie contract, which would be 2020.

Another theory would be: that Ramsey is trying the  “if you complain loudly and long enough they will trade you” route to get out.

There is no disputing that Ramsey is one of the best one-on-one cover corners in football, but as we have asked frequently, at what point do all of the antics and drama off the field outweigh that?

This is especially, when you can potentially get something for him of substance in return or maybe, in a trade Ramsey.

However that’s a question for the off-season for the Jags. For now?

It’s another headache off the field from #20.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars slide continues, as comeback comes up short

Florida Football Insiders

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A valiant comeback in the second half in Indianapolis was spoiled by a late turnover, and unfortunately at this stage for the Jaguars, there’s no such thing as a “moral victory.”

And in the end, the scoreboard read Colts 29, Jaguars 26.

That’s five straight losses for Jacksonville, a team that won the division and two playoff games a year ago, but looks very ordinary and at times, awful when it matters this season.

For example, they were bad defensively for much of the first half of this game Sunday, as Andrew Luck repeatedly riddled them for big throws and touchdowns in the first half  building a 21 – 7 lead.

Still, the Jags showed great moxie in the second half trying to snap their four-game losing streak. Jacksonville put together a 75-yard drive out of the locker room that culminated with Leonard Fournette’s second touchdown of the season and trimmed the lead to 29 – 23.

The Jaguar defense continue to lockdown the Colts in the second half, and linebacker Telvin Smith picked off Luck at the end of the third quarter to keep the Jaguars within range.

After a Josh Lambo field goal had cut the lead to three, Indianapolis was trying to put the game away, but could not run the clock out. Then, they elected to try a 52-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri which the future Hall of Famer missed.

And, that opened the door for the Jags to have one last chance.

However, that chance also got  squandered after Blake Bortles had completed a couple of passes to T.J. Yeldon, and then Yeldon had a 9-yard run down to the Indy 35 making it 3rd and one.

That’s when Bortles completed a pass downfield to Rashad Greene, who was stripped by defensive back Kenny Moore of the Colts. The play was initially called a catch on the field, but replay review later overturned it and allow the Colts to kneel on the ball and run the clock out.

So it was a mixed bag of some good things, but not enough of them.

And the reality for coach Doug Marrone and the team is: five straight losses and a team that was once riding high in the AFC South off a win over the Patriots that made them 3 – 1, has now disintegrated.

The Jaguars five game losing streak has also put them in the basement of the AFC South at 3 – 6.

And that’s not a place where anyone expected them to be.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Gameday- Jaguars must bounce back at Indianapolis

Florida Football Insiders

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Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Jaguars (3-5) at Colts (5-5)

When: Sunday 1 p.m.

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Spread: Colts by 3 points (Courtesy VegasInsder.com)

Here’s what to watch:

Fournette is back

Those are three words that Jaguar fans have been waiting for five weeks. And finally second-year running back Leonard Fournette appears to be healthy after missing six of the last seven games with a hamstring injury. Fournette re-aggravated that hamstring injury in October game against the Jets and has not played in the last for Jaguar games. All of those games have been losses, with the Jaguars unable to run the ball and set up their play action passing.

Now, off the bye week, the explosive second-year running back from LSU was able to practice all week and should be a full go for this match-up in Indy. He should make a difference, provided that there’s not another reaggravatation, which would only have the Jags fans throwing up their hands and rolling their eyes.

Get after Andrew Luck

If the Colts are going to continue their success it’s writing on the former number one overall pick. After missing all of last season with shoulder surgery, Luck is rounding into form in the middle of 2018.

Luck has 23 TD passes and just eight INTS as the Colts have won back to back games.

The Jaguars pass rush has got to be ready to go in this one. That means players like Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Telvin Smith and Myles Jack have to pressure, knock down and sack Luck on Sunday or it could be a long day for the Jags.

Play with a sense of urgency

Just like what we wrote in the Buccaneers preview with the Redskins, the Jaguars have seen their 3-1 start evaporate, and with four straight losses, they have to come out Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium playing like their season is on the line.

That’s because, it likely is.

The Jags have to get to nine wins, just like the Buccaneers in the NFC, to have a realistic hope at a wild card spot. Their drought of victories has put them at 3 – 5, and that means they have to start winning, now.

Off their bye week, will they be sharp and well disciplined on both sides of the ball? Will there be penalties, will there be turnovers and will there be mistakes in assignments?

If there are a lot of those, then excitement built off a year ago and the hope for following it up with a playoff season in 2018 will basically be gone.

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