Jaguars' December Struggles Continue

The Jaguars will be mathematically alive next Sunday when they close their regular season at Houston. But they may not make it even if they beat the Texans. They are 8-7 after a 20-17 loss to the Washington Redskins, a game behind the 9-6 Indianapolis Colts. If the Colts beat Tennessee in their finale, the Jaguars will be out even if they beat the Texans.

But if they win and the Colts lose, the Jaguars will be in for the first time since 2007.

And even coach Jack Del Rio isn't confident of the Titans' chances after the Titans lost to Kansas City, 38-14.

"I did peek up one time and I saw Kansas City was just rolling on Tennessee. The first thing I thought was that we can't count on Tennessee for anything next week in Indianapolis," Del Rio said.

So the loss likely means that Del Rio will be back on the hot seat with just one playoff victory on his resume in his eight-year tenure with the Jaguars.

Just a week ago, they had their playoff destiny in their own hands with an 8-5 record and the 20-17 overtime loss to the Redskins was their second in eight days. They lost to the Colts, 34-24 a week ago.

Quarterback David Garrard's second interception on the third play of overtime set the stage for a 31-yard field goal by Graham Gano that snapped a 17-17 tie. The temperature was 38 degrees at kickoff, making it the coldest home game in team history.

Del Rio's teams aren't noted for playing well in crunch time down the stretch in December.

"We need to get better at closing the deal, certainly," Del Rio said.

This was a virtual instant replay of the 15th game of the 2004 season when they were 8-6, playing at home the day after Christmas in 40-degree weather and lost to the Houston Texans, 21-0.

It continued in 2006 when they were 8-5 and lost their last three games and last year when they were 7-5 and lost their last four games.

In his eight seasons, Del Rio is 19-18 in December and the team is getting worse down the stretch. They were 15-8 in December in his first five years when they made the playoffs twice and 4-10 the last three years.

Del Rio used the word "disappointed" three times in his opening address and "very disappointed" once.

LINEUP WATCH: The Jaguars were handicapped by the absence of running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who missed a game for the first time in his career because of an injury. He played with an injured knee last week in Indianapolis and gained only 46 yards in 13 carries. Rashad Jennings replaced Jones-Drew in the starting lineup and got just 32 yards in 15 carries. Garrard was the leading rusher with 39 yards in six carries, including 20 yards for a touchdown on a draw play.

TRENDING: The Jaguars also tend to struggle the week after they play the Colts. The Jaguars are 6-10 after playing the Colts under Del Rio and 4-7 after losing to the Colts. They probably had a letdown after last week's loss to the Colts when they had a chance to clinch the division title.

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