Now, the probability of this actually happening is somewhere in the low single digits percentage-wise, but the fact is, after their win over the Houston Texans in the Toilet Bowl last night (which, ICYMI, resulted in the firing of Gary Kubiak today), there is still a mathematical chance that the Jacksonville Jaguars, current owners of the longest winning streak in the AFC (!!!!), could make the playoffs as the six-seed in the absolutely putrid American Football Conference.
Before getting into that, though, consider this: After starting the season 0-8, that Jags have won four of their last five and now, at 4-9, have a better record than four teams—including playoff teams from last year like the Washington Redskins (3-9), Atlanta Falcons (3-9), and those Texans (2-11)—and they could be tied with three others by the end of the week.
For them to make it, a hell of a lot of things have to happen, per ESPN’s NFL Playoff Machine (which is a great way to waste half of a workday, b-t-dubs). First and foremost, the Jaguars have to win out; their next three games are at home against Buffalo, home against the Titans, and what could turn out to be a critical Week 17 matchup at Indy, who will probably be looking to rest their starters ahead of Wild Card Weekend. This is completely doable.
Now things get slightly complicated.
- Tennessee loses to Denver on Sunday (which is practically a foregone conclusion) and only wins one of two against the Cardinals and Texans (they may lose both).
- Baltimore can beat Minnesota, but then drops its next three against the Lions, Pats, and Bengals.
- Same thing with Miami, except the first game is critical. They have to beat Pittsburgh on Sunday, then lose its last three to New England, Buffalo and the Jets.
- Pittsburgh has to lose to Miami and then drop at least one of its remaining three games (vs. Cincinnati, at Green Bay, vs. Cleveland).
- The Jets (who somehow remain in contention as well) lose two of three against the Raiders, Browns, and Panthers, and then beat the Dolphins in Week 17.
If all of that plays out like so… BOOM! The Jacksonville Jaguars are your 6-seed in the AFC. It’s as simple as that.
I may be slightly bat shit crazy for thinking that all of this is going to go down, but, hey, anything could happen. The Jags can pray for a miracle, which might’ve come a little easier had they signed a certain saintly quarterback (who’s still on the market, I might add). But even without him they’ve managed to fight their way back into relevance and still have a sliver of hope that they could be playing football in January (which I think I may be rooting for). That alone should be seen as a huge win for this team moving forward.