JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars are still fully in the playoff chase.
A 19-3 victory over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, on Thursday helped those opportunities, keeping the Jaguars (7-8) very much alive for the 2022 NFL postseason.
The Jaguars’ clearest path to the playoffs?
That’s still winning the AFC South, and the division-leading Tennessee Titans are still the top team for Jaguars fans to watch in Week 16. But the Jaguars can still qualify for the postseason as a wild card team, and several games from Saturday to Monday have at least a mathematical chance of affecting their postseason hopes.
Barring ties, this is the easiest way to watch the AFC South chase:
The Titans and Jaguars play in Jacksonville in the regular season finale in Week 18. That game will decide the AFC South title unless the Titans (7-7) enter that game with a two-game lead over Jacksonville. .
The Jaguars play the Houston Texans (1-12-1) on the road in Week 17, while the Titans have games left at home against Houston on Saturday and at home against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 18. If the Jaguars beat the Texans, the end will be for the division. If the Titans lose any of their remaining games, the final will go to the division.
The only way the finals won’t go to the division is if the Titans win their remaining two games and the Jaguars lose to the Texans.
“We battled against adversity this year, through a lot of ups and downs, and still, at the end of the year, we’re in a position to accomplish some of our goals,” head coach Doug Pederson said.
With that in mind, here are games for Jaguars fans this weekend:
AFC SUR (Most likely scenario)
Houston Texans (1-12-1) vs. Titans (7-7), Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
The pairing: The Texans’ lone win this season came over the Jaguars in Week 5, but they have suffered narrow losses to two of the NFL’s best teams, Dallas and the Kansas City Chiefs, in the past two weeks. The Titans, the two-time defending AFC South champions, have lost four straight games. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill is expected to miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury, and Malik Willis is expected to make the third start of his career on Sunday.
If the Titans win: They will stay one game ahead of the Jaguars entering Week 17. The Titans could then clinch the South with a Week 17 home win over the Dallas Cowboys AND a Week 17 road loss to the Jaguars against the Texans.
If the Texans win: The Titans will slide into a tie for first place with the Jaguars at 7-8. That would ensure that the Week 18 matchup in Jacksonville would decide the AFC South regardless of the teams’ Week 17 results.
FOR A WILD POINT (unlikely scenarios)
With three weekends of games remaining, the AFC’s wild-card scenarios aren’t easily explained. Seven teams make it to the postseason: four division winners and three wild cards.
A few things to remember as we look at the scenarios:
- The Jaguars (7-8) can’t make the wild-card playoffs with a 9-8 record because they would win the AFC South by ending that record.
- The Jaguars, as the AFC’s current No. 9 seed, cannot pass any of the teams with the AFC’s top three records: Buffalo (11-3), Kansas City (11-3, AFC West Champions) or Cincinnati (10-4). They also can’t pass the fifth-seeded Baltimore Ravens (9-5) for a wild card because the worst Baltimore can end up is 9-8 and the Jaguars would win the South if they end up with that record.