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NFL Playoff Picture: Jacksonville Jaguars

With only one week left in the regular season, fans of the NFL across the country are gearing up for what is looking to be the intense postseason for teams vying for a championship run.

One team that we will see this year in the playoffs is the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jaguars, who will make their first appearance in a postseason game since the 2007 season, has played very well this season. Jacksonville has had great performances this year, and they have defeated teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are widely considered as one of the best teams in the NFL this season.

However, despite clinching the AFC South prior to the start of their contest on Christmas Eve, Jacksonville lost to the San Francisco 49ers, who recently just finished the season 6-10 this year, by a score of 44-33. Some days it seems like the Jags have what it takes to win it all, and other days they seem to fall apart.

In terms of the playoffs, I do not foresee the Jacksonville Jaguars going all the way and winning a Super Bowl.

Although they have an extremely dominant defense that is one of the best in the league, their offense is very inconsistent, and does not always seem to be cohesive. On the defensive end, they have players like defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who was acquired via trade from the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 27, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, tackle Abry Jones, and defensive end Calais Campbell, who have all been very strong in their respective positions. The performances of Campbell and Ramsey have made many people often compare their defense to the 2013 Seattle Seahawks, who won the NFC West that year. However, in order to win a Super Bowl, a team has to have the full package: a strong offense and stifling defense.

Offensively, the Jaguars do not stack up to teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, or even the Steelers. With the amount of playoff experience that Tom Brady has accrued over his career, New England is a favorite to win the whole thing, as are the Eagles, who are playing better than they have in recent memory, despite being without star quarterback Carson Wentz. The Jaguars have had somewhat inconsistent quarterback play this year that it is tough to confidently believe that it will be nonexistent in quarterback Blake Bortles‘ first ever playoff game.

The Jaguars have never played in the Super Bowl before, so it would be nice to see them attempt to make a run in their first playoff game in 11 years. However, trying to beat teams who are more used to the pressure can be very difficult.

And, as we saw in the most recent loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, they may still have some growing to do.

In their final regular season game, the Jags fell to the Titans 15-10, finishing the season with back-to-back losses.  Bortles ran for 158 yards, and had two interceptions. In the fourth quarter, Jacksonville manage to hold Tennessee scoreless, but it was still not enough for them to come back and win the game.

If you asked me who I feel confident in winning the Super Bowl this year, I would say it will come down to one of the teams I mentioned above, those being the Steelers, Eagles, or the Patriots.

Who knows, maybe Jacksonville will figure out its offensive challenges and be extremely dangerous in the playoffs, but as of now, it seems unlikely.

Jacksonville will play the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wildcard game on Sunday, January 7th. Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. EST at EverBank Field.

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Gabrielle Hurlbut

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