If someone told me the Jacksonville Jaguars would be leading the AFC South after Week 14, before the season began, I more than likely would have cried from laughter. Well, look who’s laughing now? The Jaguars (8-5) hold a slim, one game lead over the Indianapolis Colts (7-6) and the both of them will meet this Sunday, making it an AFC South showdown. In all likelihood, the winner of this game will clinch the division and move onto the postseason. As for the loser, they will most likely fall short of the Wild Card. Everything will be on the line for this divisional match-up.
This perhaps, might be one of the biggest games in recent Jaguar history. The Jaguars have never won the AFC South since it was realigned in 2002. The last time the Jaguars had won their division was in 1999, when they were in the AFC Central division. Talk about a drought; this team is hungrier than ever. The Jags are rolling as they have won four out of their last five. They have finally found their identity as a power-running football team. Maurice Jones-Drew has made his case as an MVP candidate with his sixth consecutive hundred-yard rushing performance. In his previous seven games, Jones-Drew only reached the century mark once. Not only is Jones-Drew playing at a high-level, but so is David Garrard. Garrard has benefited the most off of the Jags’ success on the ground, as he continues to play efficiently. This is the best football I’ve seen out of Garrard since the 2007-08 season. Talk about Tom Brady-like games, Garrard has had five games in which he had accounted for three or more touchdowns. He has already tied a franchise record for touchdown passes in a single season, tying Mark Brunell’s twenty. David Garrard quietly, continues to play at an All-Pro level yet goes unnoticed in the shadows of Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, or Peyton Manning. The Jaguars will go as far as their dynamic duo takes them.
Do I think the Jaguars have a shot at stealing the AFC South from the Colts? Yes, I honestly do. They have been a complete different team since the beginning of the season. The come-from-behind victory against the Raiders has given a different feel throughout the entire Jaguar locker room.
“Being in that position really showed a lot about this team. It showed we’re not just the same old Jaguars from years past,” quarterback David Garrard said. “It’s a different team.”
“We’ve really had some growth through the course of this year,” Coach Del Rio said. “Not only in terms of playing better football, but the culture we have in our locker room that guys really believe we’ll continue to fight and hang together.”
When you look back at the games won by a 59-yard field goal or a 50-yard hail mary ; some people may call this team lucky, but I call it fate. The Jaguars just keep finding ways to win games. We will learn a lot about this Jaguar team on Sunday as they visit the Colts with playoff hopes on the line.