You may see this week's matchup against the Browns as an easy win against a team that has been wallowing in mediocrity since the early 90s. However, with a win against the Browns, the Jags will be 4-6 and on a 2-game winning streak going against the division-leading Houston Texans next week. That momentum, along with Houston's loss of Matt Schaub for the rest of the season could easily put the Jaguars in the playoff hunt. After that, the Jags face a couple of struggling teams like the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night (And yet, in a twist of fate, I have jury duty that day) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Then, the Jags will take on the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome, which is a tough place to play. Finally, they will finish the year with divisional games against the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts.The Jaguars have a chance to not only make a case for the playoffs, but to create momentum going into next year.
Matt Schaub's injury opens many possibilities, but the most relevant one is that that it allows for the Jaguars and Titans to compete for the AFC South crown. It also makes the Jaguars more likely to beat the Texans as they come over to Everbank Field next week. Assuming that the Jaguars beat the Cleveland Browns as well, the Jags could be going into their Monday Night matchup against the Chargers on a 3-game winning streak and fighting for a .500 record. All of this a mere 6 weeks after the Jags were a "dead team walking" going into their first Monday Night matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. One would think that the Jaguars players would be pumped to be in that position and that success should translate into a few more wins.
However, whether that late season surge leads to a playoff run or not, the Jaguars and their fanbase will have some momentum going into the 2012 season. The defense is solid, Gabbert will have a year under his belt, and the Jags will likely address their offensive woes in the offseason during the draft and/or free agency. I'll just say it now, barring some major setback with Blaine Gabbert, the Jaguars WILL make the playoffs in 2012.
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