After dominating the Indianapolis Colts in Week 14, the Jacksonville Jaguars climbed to 5-8 and just one game behind the 6-7 Colts and 6-7 Houston Texans. With three weeks left, that puts the Jaguars right in the thick of the race, but actually getting in is easier than it looks.
Thanks to losses to both the Colts and the Texans earlier in the year and a poor record in divisional play, the Jaguars don’t have the advantage in the tiebreaker over either team. So the Jaguars would have to earn a better record than both teams to get in and that’s made tougher by the fact that the Colts and Texans play each other in Week 15.
Ideally for the Jaguars, the Colts and Texans would tie on Sunday, but if that doesn’t happen then Jacksonville will have no choice but to win out to give itself a chance. The Jaguars haven’t strung together four consecutive wins since 2007, but that’s almost definitely necessary to get in. If they can, this is the most realistic scenario that hands the AFC South over to Jacksonville.
Like the Cowboys, the Jaguars would be a division winner if things went right and that would mean Jacksonville hosting a playoff game for the first time since 1999.
With three weeks left to play, the concern for both the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos is a first-round bye. Both teams are 10-3 and just one game behind the New England Patriots for the No. 1 seed, but neither team has clinched a spot in the playoffs. While it’s impossible for both the Bengals and Broncos to be left out of the postseason field, especially with the two teams playing each other in Week 16, there’s still a chance that hijinks could keep one out.
Both Denver and Cincinnati can clinch in Week 15 with a win, so they can put the doomsday scenarios to bed sooner rather than later, but if either team loses out then there’s a chance things could get hairy.