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Jags aim to clinch first playoff spot since 2007

From FOX Sports - December 13, 2017

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.The Jacksonville Jaguars arent used to having to figure out playoff-clinching scenarios.

Fortunately, the equation is easy.

Jacksonville will return to the playoffs for the first time since 2007 if they beat the Houston Texans on Sunday at EverBank Field.

The Jaguars (9-4) are a game up on Tennessee for the lead in the AFC South after going 3-13 last year. They started their improbable run back in Houston in Week 1, defeating the Texans 29-7 on Sept. 10.

Since that game, Houston (4-9) has lost star defensive end J.J. Watt, electric rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson and playmaking outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, as well as several other contributors to injuries.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars added stout defensive tackle Marcell Dareus in a trade with Buffalo on Oct. 28, signed punt returner Jaydon Mickens (two-time AFC special teams player of the week in seven games) and kicker Josh Lambo (16-of-17 on field goals).

The Jaguars recorded a franchise-record 10 sacks in the first meeting against Houston. The Texans started Tom Savage in that game before switching to Watson in the second half. With Savage out with a concussion, Houston coach Bill OBrien will turn to T.J. Yates.

Theyre playing at a high level, OBrien said. Just like every year in this league, teams get hot. Jacksonvilles hot.

The Jaguars have won six of their last seven games and are coming off a 30-24 victory over visiting Seattle in a matchup of 8-4 teams, while the Texans have lost three consecutive games.

It all adds up to an easy Jaguars win, right? Well, the NFL isnt that simple.

When asked about the possibility of clinching a playoff spot Wednesday, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone quickly move away from the topic.

Youre not taking me there, Marrone said. Nope. Not doing it. Not jumping. We are focusing on what we have to do today. We have a team coming in that is getting players back and an in-division game. They want nothing more than to beat us, as we want nothing more than to beat them. I understand it, I get the questions and everything, but I promise you none of you are going to be able to take me there.

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