Opportunity Knocks

Del Rio talks about where the Jaguars have been, and how they are improving.

Playoff spots are not won in September or October, but they can certainly be lost in these months. The Jaguars have an opportunity on the first weekend of August to put all the bad feelings aside from their opening day loss to the Titans and take the pole position for a wildcard spot.

    "The sky was falling after week one. We have to come in and consistently go to work and that's what we've done and that's what we will continue to do. It's one of those things that as a coach you always work on because you want your football team to play at a high level consistently." --Jack Del Rio

At 2-1, the Jaguars are tied with Tennessee for the best record in the AFC among teams who aren't leading their divisions. As we glance upon the Jaguars upcoming schedule, they are at Kansas City this week, home against Houston, a Monday night battle against Indianapolis, and then a rough road trip to Tampa Bay. Although the Chiefs have won two in a row, including an impressive two touchdown victory on the road against the Chargers, they may be the easiest game for the Jaguars, and certainly one that they really need to win, considering their historical problems with a now improved Texans team, and Indy playing like the Super Bowl Champions they are. Simply put, October looks extremely difficult for the Jaguars, and a loss at Kansas City would put their backs firmly against the wall, especially considering what's looming ahead. The Jaguars haven't historically fared well under Del Rio after the bye week. The team is just 1-3 in games after a week off.

    "We recognize there are certain things that take place. There's a process that's underway, there's a work ethic that's a part of how we're approaching things." --Jack Del Rio

Lets look at some of the other AFC contenders, and who they have coming up. Tennessee is sitting at 2-1, and their month of October looks significantly easier than the Jaguars. The Titans host Atlanta, then travel to Tampa Bay, then to Houston, then come back home for the Oakland Raiders. Three out of four looks like a solid possibility for the Titans and that would put them at 5-2 after seven games, including a head-to-head advantage over the Jaguars.

Baltimore, Denver, Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, and Houston are all currently sitting at 2-2. Baltimore travels to San Francisco, Denver hosts San Diego, Cleveland plays at New England, K.C. is of course at home against the Jaguars, Houston hosts Miami, and Oakland has a bye week. It is possible that a few of those 2-2 teams playing could lose, and a Jaguars victory would put further pressure on those franchises.

The Jaguars aren't yet in a must win situation this weekend, but a loss would leave them at 2-2, looking up at Kansas City, probably Houston, probably Tennessee, likely Baltimore, and possibly Denver with that tough October schedule looming. A win would put them at 3-1, at least one game ahead of those teams, including head-to-head tiebreakers against Denver and Kansas City. That leaves a little more room for error this month.

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