The Jacksonville Jaguars have a chance to clinch their first division title since 1999, and it sounds like they are excited about the possibility. Linebacker Telvin Smith was quoted by AP writer Mark Long on Thursday saying, “This is a hat and t-shirt week.”
I can’t find additional context to it, but my guess is he simply means they have a chance to clinch and get the hat and t-shirt that comes with earning a playoff berth. It could be read as considering it a lock to happen, but I don’t actually think he’s talking smack about the San Francisco 49ers. I could be entirely wrong (and I kinda hope I am), but I think that’s all there is to it.
That being said, given the Jaguars unfamiliarity with the world of playoff berths, I do wonder if they might be a bit antsy and overly amped up for this game. The Jaguars have finally put it all together, and are looking like a legitimate Super Bowl contender. They have learned how to win, but I do wonder how they are mentally in approaching this game.
The Jaguars clinch the division with a win or a Tennessee Titan loss. If the Titans win and the Jaguars lose, the winner of their Week 17 matchup wins the division. The Titans host the Los Angeles Rams at 10:00 a.m. PT on Sunday, while the Jaguars and 49ers get going at 1:05 p.m. I would not be surprised to see the Jaguars try and tune out the Titans game, but if the Titans spring the upset, maybe the Jaguars tighten up knowing how much more important their game is with the 49ers?
The game is important for trying to earn a bye, but they could go from division champs to wild card team with a loss and then a loss to the Titans. I’m probably reading too much into it, but the mental state of the Jaguars heading into this game is at least a little bit interesting to me.