Jacksonville Jaguars on the Prowl for AFC South Title After Epic OT Victory
Posted on: December 19, 2022, 12:13h.
Last updated on: December 19, 2022, 02:03h.
It’s a tight, two-way race in the AFC South with three weeks remaining in the NFL regular season. The Tennessee Titans (7-7) lost four games in a row, and their AFC South odds slipped to -150, while the Jacksonville Jaguars (6-8) saw their odds jump to +125 after a stunning overtime victory against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Jaguars kept their postseason hopes alive with a comeback victory against the Cowboys while the Titans extended their losing streak to four in a row after a disheartening loss against the Los Angeles Chargers.
With most of the divisional races settled, the AFC South is still wide open. The winner will lock up an automatic berth to the postseason.
The Titans have a 57% chance to win the division, according to an updated projection by FiveThirtyEight. The Jaguars improved their AFC South title chances to 43% after winning back-to-back games.
The Jaguars have been in playoff mode the last two weeks with must-win scenarios against the Titans in Week 14, and against the Cowboys in Week 15.
The Jaguars have a clear path to the playoffs if they run the table and win their remaining three games. The Jaguars hit the road on a short week to play the banged-up New York Jets on “Thursday Night Football.” They’re on the road again against the Houston Texans in Week 17 on New Year’s Day. The final game of the season could determine the AFC South crown when the Jaguars host the Titans in Week 18.
Jaguars Now 3-1 Since Bye Week
The Jaguars started 2-1 in September, but lost five games in a row in October. Head coach Doug Pederson made sure the young team didn’t panic during their skid. They stumbled into the bye week with a 3-7 record and made some key corrections on both sides of the ball. Since the bye in Week 11, the Jaguars went 3-1.
The Jaguars kept games close all season, and it was only a matter of time before a flurry of good luck swung their way. The first six losses of the season were all decided by one score or less.
Three out of the last four victories were decided by one score. The other win during that stretch featured a 14-point victory against the Titans in Week 14.
In a must-win game against the Cowboys, quarterback Trevor Lawrence outgunned Dak Prescott with 318 passing yards and four touchdowns, including three to Zay Jones, who had a career day with six catches for 109 yards and three touchdowns. Defensive standout Rayshawn Jenkins kept the Jaguars’ playoff hopes alive with a pick-six interception in overtime to shock the Cowboys with a 52-yard touchdown return.
I’ve been in this organization for four years,” said Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen. “There were times when we were behind, and we couldn’t find our way back. Now we have the offense, defense and special teams that can continue to fight. We have the determination, and we have the mentality to finish every game.”
The Jaguars defeated the Cowboys 40-34 to improve to 6-8 on the season. With three games to go, the Jaguars seized the momentum in the AFC South.
Titanic Slide for Titans
It’s been a streaky season for head coach Mike Vrabel and the Titans. They started the season 0-2 before winning five games in a row. It was nearly six straight wins, but they lost a tough overtime game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9. The Titans followed up that loss with two more wins and improved to 7-3.
Recently, the Titans lost four games in a row and are desperate to stop the bleeding. They’re still 7-7 and control their own destiny with two more home games. They host the Houston Texans in Nashville on Christmas Eve, but have a short week of prep before meeting the Dallas Cowboys on “Thursday Night Football” in Week 17.
The Titans have one more road game, which is against the Jaguars in Week 18. The season finale could determine the AFC South crown. It’s also a revenge game for the Titans after a 36-22 loss against the Jaguars in Week 14.
The whole first half, just shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers,” said quarterback Ryan Tannehill about the loss to the Jaguars.
Tannehill suffered an ankle injury on their opening possession against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. He went into the locker room to get it taped, and returned in the first half. He couldn’t get the passing offense going in the second half, and the Titans scored only 14 points in the loss.
It’s unknown if the ankle injury will slow him down in the last three games of the season. Tannehill says he won’t miss any time with a playoff berth on the line.
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