Posted December 06, 2013

How the once-0-8 Jacksonville Jaguars can incredibly make the playoffs

Jacksonville Jaguars
"Not so fast, my friend!" Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has a (very) outside shot at a playoff spot. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

“Not so fast, my friend!” Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley has a — very — outside shot at the playoffs. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Wait, what? Could this really happen?

A few days ago, my intrepid colleague Chris Burke detailed a series of scenarios by which the Houston Texans could catapult themselves from contention for the first overall pick in the 2014 draft to a back door into the 2013 playoffs. Of course, the Texans violated the first rule of Burke’s Law, which was to win out. They’ve now lost 11 in a row after their 27-20 Thursday night failure against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and at this point, Teddy Bridgewater might as well start putting the big red and blue bull on all his towels.

Meanwhile, there’s a stranger possible reality afoot — after an 0-8 start in which they were on pace to set all sorts of records for offensive futility, the aforementioned Jags are hot, hot, hot. They’ve won four of their last five games — admittedly against sub-par competition like the Texans (twice), the Cleveland Browns and a 29-27 Week 10 squeaker over the Tennessee Titans that got this ball rolling. They’re now 4-9, and the players have bought in fully to first-year head coach Gus Bradley’s system. Momentum can be a force multiplier, even for teams that haven’t made the playoffs or had a winning record since 2007.

How is this possible? As Mr. Burke did, I consulted ESPN’s Playoff Machine and discovered that yes, the Jaguars could indeed sneak into the AFC’s postseason picture under the following conditions:

BURKE: Which playoff contenders have the toughest remaining schedules?

The Jags have to win out. They have to do what the Texans could not, and that’s not impossible. They’ve got home games left with Tennessee and Buffalo and a trip to Indianapolis to end their regular season. The way the AFC South-leading Colts have played of late, I’d say the Titans are the bigger threat here — and the Jaguars have already beaten the Titans once. Factor in also that the Colts will likely have wrapped up the division and might rest a lot of starters as a result.

Oh, and the Titans have to lose another game outside of the proposed Jacksonville sweep.

The Dolphins, Ravens and Jets each have to lose at least three of their last four games. That shouldn’t be a problem for the Jets, who are going through another one of their dramatic tailspins. The Ravens are a tougher play to lose that many and the Dolphins refuse to go away as a playoff contender, even after all the drama from the Richie Incognito scandal.

THE PLAYBOOK: Previewing Panthers-Saints, Dolphins-Steelers, more Week 14 games

The Steelers, Raiders and Chargers each have to lose two of their last four games. The Chargers have lost four of their last five games despite Philip Rivers’ excellence, which is what happens when you have the league’s worst defense. The Steelers are hanging on tenterhooks right now — nobody seems to know what kind of team they’ll be week-to-week, especially if the NFL has to shoot Mike Tomlin into outer space for another sideline incident. The Raiders seem like the most dangerous obstruction here, despite the fact that they still have to face the Broncos and Chiefs again … oh, wait. A .500 finish is actually probable there.

The Browns have to lose at least one more game. As Brandon Weeden may be their quarterback for at least one of those games, we’ll go ahead and check that box.

Get it? Got it? Good. If all these dominoes fall, the Jags may very well travel back to Indianapolis for a wild-card game against the Colts, who look like the three-seed at this point.

Do you feel lucky? The Jaguars do … at least, for the moment.

13 comments
rrrrllllbbbb
rrrrllllbbbb

Jacksonville in the playoffs, I have to laugh! No way!

RobertReid
RobertReid

Impressed with the Jags' surge, and I credit that to excellent coaching.

Can anything be done about getting them out of the ugliest unis and helmet in NFL history?

DarrelBeehner
DarrelBeehner

To heck with the naysayers and the odds. I recall the beginning of the year when the pundits were claiming the Jags wouldn't win a single game this year. Alabama, they said, would field a better team than the Jaguars.

I'm a Seahawks fan, but I'm also a Gus fan.

Hang in their, Jacksonville supporters. Uncle Gus has a template for building a great team. It may not be this year, or even next. But in the near future, Jacksonville will be a major contender, 

Frotoon
Frotoon

Every year on every sports site there's always a guy who posts an article like this. "Hey, so-and-so can still make the playoffs if these forty things happen!"

josebier
josebier

And what is the probability of this happening anyways? You wont be selling any magazine subscriptions with this type of garbage SI...

josebier
josebier

Seriously, if I wanted to read the National Enquirer I would go out and buy it. Thanks for another laugh SI!!!

piizzadude
piizzadude

London Jags, finding a way to ruin even a lousy season. 


They shoudl still be 0-whatever and be going for a cornerstone QB of the future

sportsGuy12
sportsGuy12

look, it's nice the Jags recovered and are no longer one of the worst teams of all time, but playoffs??

DarrelBeehner
DarrelBeehner

@josebier Would not surprise in the least if the Jags win out. Not saying they will make the playoffs this year, but great things are coming sooner rather than later. May not make as big of headlines as Kim K giving birth to a yeti, but it will be prominent in the real world.