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The season is basically over for the large majority of teams, there’s no playoff hopes in sight, and that’s especially true for the Jacksonville Jaguars as they head into the last week of one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
While the 2-14 record is already enough to earn the mark of one of the worst teams in the history of the franchise, the drama and extracurricular activities that went on at TIAA Bank Field this season was the icing on top to make it a complete re-do year. Even with much, if not all, of the coaching staff slated to be dismissed next week, Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts still holds plenty of value.
The Colts are currently 9-7 and are heading to Jacksonville virtually needing a win to make the playoffs. Though, they could still get in with a 9-8 record if the Dolphins defeat the Patriots, Raiders defeat the Chargers and the Ravens beat the Steelers. That’s enough for a playoff bid in the AFC No. 7 seed, but Jacksonville certainly has an opportunity to play spoiler on Sunday.
“We’re playing a divisional opponent [the Indianapolis Colts] that has a shot to make the playoffs and we want to do everything we can to keep the divisional opponent from doing that,” Jaguars interim head coach Darrell Bevell said on Wednesday.
“They’re also playing for the name on their back. Like I’ve told you guys many times, everything that we do is being evaluated, so I think there’s plenty to play for. I think these guys are motivated. I do know that these guys care. I’m around them every day and this is an important thing to them, so I think they’ll be ready to go.”
That’s plenty of motivation to continue to push forward and finish out the final five (now, four) days left in the season for Jacksonville. It also is worth noting that the Jaguars have defeated the Colts in Jacksonville every year since 2015, a stunning winning streak that ought to at least give some credence to anyone who places a bet for the Jaguars to win Sunday.
While Bevell hasn’t spoken to anyone in the team’s leadership committee about what this week means, really, he says he knows his players and some of the guys individually enough to this week is important for them. “There would be nothing better than to have a good taste in our mouth, to be able to go out the season with a win.”
While playing spoiler is plenty for the Jaguars to get up and play their hearts out on Sunday, there’s also a matter of pride. No one wants to be a loser, even former Jaguars HC Urban Meyer said that. But, for Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen, that rings true even more, playing for pride is what it’s about at the end of the day.
“I play every week, I buckle up, I put my pride, I put my family name, I put this organization, I’m putting everything on the line,” Allen said on Wednesday. “So, I don’t go out here and lose, that’s not my mentality, that’s not our mentality to go out here and lose. That’s not what we think.”
So, don’t expect the Jaguars to just roll over and die on Sunday. No, they have plenty to play for, and the Colts will have to give it their all, in order to reach the playoffs and get over on Jacksonville.