Jacksonville is going to have an opportunity to try and win a Super Bowl, because the Jaguars have clinched a playoff berth thanks to their stroll-in-the-park-style victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday. The Jaguars look like a team that will win the AFC South — there is still a game in Week 17 against the Titans that will matter — and they look like a dangerous football team with a filthy defense and a competent quarterback.
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Blake Bortles threw three touchdowns passes, including two to a reserve receiver who slept in his car earlier this season. The Jaguars won for the seventh time in eight games to clinch a postseason berth for the first time since 2007.
Bortles finished with a season-high 326 yards and the best QB rating (143.8) of his career, including 186 yards and a touchdown to rookie Keelan Cole. Primary punt returner Jaydon Mickens, who stepped in for injured starter Marqise Lee in the first quarter, caught four passes for 61 yards and two scores against the Texans (4-10).
The Jaguars were an NFL-worst 22-74 over the previous six years, more a laughingstock than a postseason contender.
Next up for the Jaguars (10-4) is to take aim at winning the AFC South and earn the franchise’s first home playoff game since the 1999 season.
The Jaguars entered the day one game ahead of Tennessee, which played San Francisco in an afternoon game Sunday. The Jaguars and Titans play Week 17 in Tennessee.
After the wave petered out in the fourth quarter, the fans turned to another standby: They chanted “playoffs, playoffs, playoffs.”
If things go as planned, the Jaguars (10-4) will earn a postseason game at home. Jacksonville can clinch the AFC South and a home date with a victory next week at San Francisco. The Jags also would clinch the division if Tennessee loses to the Los Angeles Rams.
“I think it is awesome,” Bortles said. “To be a part of the team that is changing the culture, it is tough to put into words. It’s special. Unbelievably proud to be a part of this group and play for this organization.”