The biggest takeaway from the Jacksonville Jaguars' 51-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 14 is this is a team that has hit its stride at the right time of the year.
At one point, the home team was trailing 13-3 before a less than thrilled crowd at EverBank Field that had seen this before – an offense that could not get out of its own way.
With Jacksonville trailing 13-9 at halftime, it appeared this would be another ho-hum Sunday afternoon and playoff hopes, however slim, would be dashed. The second half proved to be a different story.
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A 42-3 onslaught, the likes no one has seen in Jacksonville since the 1990s, led to the victory and an end to the Colts' stranglehold of the AFC South.
Now, with three games left and a 5-8 record, there is more light at the end of the tunnel in Jacksonville, even if the playoffs are not a probable destination.
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The Jaguars still have to face Houston in the season finale, which could be for the AFC South title. Atlanta and New Orleans are sandwiched in between that meeting – both winnable games.
Oh what this season could have been if the offense, led by Blake Bortles, and the defense, which pressured Colts quarterbacks all game, had been in sync long ago.
That 5-8 record should be 8-5 or better and we wouldn't be having the conversation of whether the team could make the playoffs, rather who this team would be hosting in the first round of the postseason.
It’s a safe statement to make that this is a team that could be scary good on offense and needs to continue to find a pass rush and plug in some holes on defense. Jacksonville could be the NFL’s version of Jekyll and Hyde, a true enigma that other teams in the league cannot figure out, but at the same time prove to be hot or cold any given Sunday.
Last week, we were calling for defensive coordinator Bob Babich’s head on a platter, this week we are applauding the effort of a unit without both Sen’Derrick Marks and Paul Posluszny.
Exciting time ahead
The Jaguars must win out, listen to the media types spin their wheels, pray to the football gods and hope both Indianapolis and Houston stumble a bit more.
It’s scary to think this team has the best offense in the division – which it does. It’s also scary to think just how good it could be with a better running game and a defense that should play like Sunday, every Sunday.
Jacksonville might be a team lying in wait. Wait until next year when all the parts have another season of maturity and the defense finds more missing parts.
That’s when we will know how good it really can be. If Sunday was a sample of this team’s future, it is as bright as the Florida sky was this weekend. And this is a team heating up just at the right time.