Jaguars face tough test in first playoff game


Lucas Lee

The Jacksonville Jaguars completed an amazing end to their regular season when they beat the Tennessee Titans to finish the year with a record of 9-8. The win secured the AFC South Division championship for the Jags, which means that on Saturday night, January 14, the Jacksonville Jaguars will face the Los Angeles Chargers at 8:15 p.m. at TIAA Bank Field.

Jacksonville Jaguars in the playoffs

Jacksonville’s win in the AFC South put them into the playoffs for the first time since 2018, led by Trevor Lawrence as the starting quarterback. The last time the Jaguars even came close to the playoffs was in 2018 when they lost in the AFC Championship Game to the New England Patriots. The Jaguars have been in the playoffs seven times since they started playing in 1995. In five of those years, the Jags won their first game, and two times they advanced to the conference championship.

In the 14 seasons before this year, the Jags had losing records 12 times. There has been a lot of hope for the team since they drafted Trevor Lawrence, but the team won only three games last year and started this year 2-6. In the team’s last nine games, they turned things around by winning seven games.

What the “experts” are saying

Opinion about the game is split, with most sportswriters predicting a very close game between the Jaguars and the Chargers. Dan Rorabaugh of the Florida Times-Union surveyed nine different writers, and five of them picked the Jaguars, though the average score prediction was Chargers 27, Jaguars 26. Pete Fiutak of College Football News picked the Jaguars to win 27-24, saying “It’ll be a fun back-and-forth fight in the second half, and then coaching will matter. (Jacksonville coach) Doug Pederson will come up with something silly in a key moment, and it’ll work. (San Diego coach) Brandon Staley will come up with something silly in a key moment, and it really, really won’t work.”

What they’re saying at Darnell Cookman

Assistant Principal Angela Holsey-Smiley is probably the biggest Jaguars fan at our school. She constantly wears all sorts of Jags merchandise to show her support of the team, and said that she has full confidence that they will win on Saturday night.

Mr. DeBolt, who teaches ELA and journalism, said that he believes the Jaguars will pull out a close win against the Chargers. Sophomore Tarique Jones had less confidence in the Jags and felt they would get close but come up just short. Freshman Ner Ya said he doesn’t pay much attention to American football, but that from what he’s heard, the Jaguars should win this game.

As for me, I’m predicting that the Jags will kick a field goal in the last minute to win the game. Go Jags!