Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Playoff Run Could Ruin Plan

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Playoff Run Could Ruin Plan

Article excerpt

Every Jaguars fan wants the team to make the playoffs. And

what a story it would be. A team that was once 3-6, with

the Andre Rison controversy once hanging over it like a

black cloud, somehow rallies to get into the post-season in its

second season.

If the Jaguars close out the season with five consecutive

victories, and six of the last seven, it would make quite a

story in terms of a playoff run.

Yet if the Jaguars make the playoffs, there could be a

downside.

Next season.

The euphoria of making the playoffs this season could have a

major impact on 1997. The Jaguars always have pointed to year

three as the year they would make a major impact.

If they make the playoffs this season, that three-year plan

could easily become a four-year plan.

That's because of the schedule. The NFL makes you pay for

success. It's the great equalizer. Good teams play good teams to

help make bad teams good teams.

Get it?

If the Jaguars would have finished last in the division this

season, they would have played the fifth-place team from the AFC

East, AFC West and NFC East. They would have also played the

fourth-place team from the AFC East and NFC East.

That means that the schedule could have included the Jets,

Seahawks, Giants, Cardinals and Dolphins.

That would have made year three a definite target year. If they

finish second, though, the schedule gets tough -- real tough.

The Jaguars would then play the first-place teams from the AFC

East and NFC East and second-place finishers from those

conferences. They also would play the second-place finisher from

the AFC West.

That schedule could then include the Patriots, Cowboys, Bills,

Eagles and Chiefs.

It's a set of circumstances that faced the New England Patriots

two years ago. Playing a fourth-place schedule, the Patriots

made the playoffs as a wildcard team. They finished second that

year in the AFC East in part because of a monster season by

quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

The comparisons to the Jaguars, who have gotten a huge year

from quarterback Mark Brunell, are very similar. …

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