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Jaguars playoff scenarios entering final week

Jacksonville will host first playoff game since '99 season

2014 Pick No 3: QB Blake Bortles - In February the Jaguars signed Bortles to a 3-year, $54-millon contract extension. This new deal came on the heels of Bortles having his best career as a pro. In 2017 the Jaguars went 10-6 during the regular season and won the AFC South conference. In the playoffs the Jaguars fell to New England in the AFC Championship game.
2014 Pick No 3: QB Blake Bortles - In February the Jaguars signed Bortles to a 3-year, $54-millon contract extension. This new deal came on the heels of Bortles having his best career as a pro. In 2017 the Jaguars went 10-6 during the regular season and won the AFC South conference. In the playoffs the Jaguars fell to New England in the AFC Championship game. (Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With one week remaining in the regular season, the Jaguars hold the third-best record in the AFC at 10-5. They will host a playoff game. What we don't know is when and against whom. Here are the scenarios that could affect the Jaguars playoff plans:

Jacksonville is locked into the number three seed. With the Steelers win over the Texans Monday, Pittsburgh clinched the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs.

The Jaguars will host a wild-card round game as the No. 3 seed. The Jaguars cannot finish as the fourth seed. As the third seed, the Jaguars would face the No. 6 seed in the AFC, a wild-card team, on either on Saturday, Jan. 6 or Sunday, Jan. 7. Typically, the early game Saturday, a 4:35 p.m. kickoff last year, features the smallest media market or team with the least national appeal. The Jaguars fit the description. 

So, who could the Jaguars face? The Ravens, Titans, Chargers and Bills are still alive in the AFC wildcard chase. If the Jaguars beat the Titans Sunday, Tennessee would finish at 8-8 and could still make the playoffs if the Bills were to lose to the Dolphins. In that case the Titans would be the sixth seed and would travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars in the first-round.

If the Titans beat the Jaguars, Tennessee would also lock up a playoff spot. Their seed would depend on the result of the Ravens game. The Titans have the tie-breaker on Baltimore as a result of their head-to-head win earlier this season. If the Ravens lose at home to Cincinnati and the Titans win, the teams would have identical 9-7 records and Tennessee would be the No. 5 seed. That would leave the Jaguars to host the Ravens, who would be the No. 6 seed.

If the Jaguars beat the Titans, that opens the door for the Chargers or the Bills to earn the No. 6 seed. If the Chargers beat the Raiders and the Bills win at Miami, both would be 9-7, but the Chargers would get the nod thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The only way the Bills can make it into the playoffs is for the Jaguars to beat the Titans, the Raiders to beat the Chargers and the Bills to beat the Dolphins in Miami. In that scenario, the Jaguars would host the Bills in the wild-card round.


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