NFL Week 18 Preview: Jaguars Attempt to Avoid Disaster Against Lame-Duck Titans

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been plagued by injuries and poor play during the back half of the schedule. The Jaguars are now in a tough spot. They enter the last week of the season needing a win against the Tennessee Titans on the road.

The Titans aren’t a team weighed down by outside pressure. Tennessee is going to see a significant change in the offseason. Titans coach Mike Vrabel appears destined to leave to coach another team. Running back Derrick Henry will be leaving, and so will quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Two seasons ago, these Titans were the No. 1 seed in the AFC but saw their Super Bowl dreams fade away after an upset loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. But this weekend, Jacksonville will carry more pressure as it tries to grab a win and hang onto the AFC South Division title. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence may return from a shoulder injury to play in the finale.

However, Lawrence hasn’t played well since he was injured in a loss to the Bengals a month ago. Jacksonville started the season 8-3, but are now down to 9-7 during the last week. The Jaguars are part of what should be an entertaining last week of the season. Black sports news shows Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud has the team playing well and in a position to steal the crown if Jacksonville stumbles. The Texans, however, would still need to beat Indianapolis in the final week of the season to win the division.

 

Bills-Dolphins Battle for AFC East Will Be Tainted by Injuries

 

 

The Buffalo Bills don’t always look great. Still, the Bills have found a way to win four straight games, many of which have come ugly. But as long as Buffalo has star quarterback Josh Allen, they will be in the mix. Allen’s problem is that he can be too generous in giving the ball to the opponent.

The Bills still aren’t guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, however. Buffalo is 10-6 but could still be eliminated from the playoffs with a loss to Miami and a win by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Dolphins will be without star linebacker Nick Chubb, who tore his ACL. Cornerback Xavien Howard will also be out, according to recent sports updates.

The Dolphins haven’t played well against other top teams this season. While Miami beat Dallas two weeks ago, the first meeting between the Dolphins and Bills didn’t go well for Miami. Buffalo put up 48 points and coasted to a big win at home.

 

Buccaneers Playing for Their Lives

 

 

This season has been a rocky ride for Tampa Bay, but veteran quarterback Baker Mayfield has the Buccaneers in position to win the NFC South Division title. In their first chance to clinch the title last week, Mayfield and the offense laid an egg to keep the New Orleans Saints’ playoff hopes alive.

Mayfield hurt his ribs in the loss, which could loom large this weekend. Not that the Carolina Panthers have much going for them. The Panthers are cemented in last place in the division and are trying to avoid being distracted by the drama surrounding their owner, David Tepper. The league fined Tepper $300,000 for throwing a drink at a fan.

This is a dangerous spot for the Buccaneers. This is a win-and-their-in game, but it could be a long day for Tampa Bay fans without the offense playing well. If the Buccaneers slip up, they will lose out on their third consecutive division crown.

 

Pickett Drama Surrounds Steelers

 

The Pittsburgh Steelers don’t control their fate. That’s the consequence of dropping two games against teams with 2-10 records like they did a month ago. But Pittsburgh’s offense has sprung to life the past two weeks, topping 30 points in each game during wins over Seattle and Cincinnati.

The Steelers’ turnaround has been significant because they have done so with backup quarterback Mason Rudolph under center, according to up-to-date sports news. Pittsburgh’s decision to start Rudolph came with a rumor that regular starter Kenny Pickett refused to dress as the backup. While Pickett denied the rumor in a press conference, it has become an unnecessary distraction for the Steelers as they prepare to play the Baltimore Ravens this weekend.

The Steelers’ most straightforward path to the playoffs is a win and a Jacksonville or Buffalo loss. Pittsburgh could still get in the playoffs if the Broncos win, the Jaguars lose, and the Texans and Colts game doesn’t end in a tie. 

Baltimore wrapped up the No. 1 seed with a destruction of the Miami Dolphins last week. The Ravens aren’t expected to play Lamar Jackson and could create a window to help the Steelers get into the playoffs. Baltimore will play with veteran quarterback Tyler Huntley under center.

 

Packers Don’t Have Easy Final Test

 

Green Bay has a simple playoff scenario. If the Packers win their final game against the Chicago Bears, they will be in the playoffs. However, while Green Bay crushed Chicago during the two team’s first meeting of the year, the Bears are playing much better as of late. 

Chicago knocked Atlanta out of the playoffs last week with a 20-point victory. Bears quarterback Justin Fields had started to deliver on the promise he showed when he played at Ohio State. The Packers were able to keep their hopes alive by pounding division rival Minnesota last week.

Green Bay has scored 33 points in two straight games. The Packers’ offense will need to keep that up against the Bears. Jordan Love looked confident for Green Bay last week, and the Packers will have to continue to play well at home to get back into the playoffs in their first season without star quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

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