Every AFC wild-card contender not named the Titans can rejoice: The Jacksonville Jaguars aren't planning on sitting their starters against the Titans on Sunday, which means the Titans won't get a free win.
According to ESPN's Michael DiRocco, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone told reporters on Tuesday that he won't be resting his starters in Week 17. It's a meaningless game for the Jaguars, who have already clinched the AFC South and can't earn a first-round bye even if they win.
"Make no mistake about it, just so there is not a lot of talk during the week: When the players come in [Wednesday], we are talking about how we are going to play to win and do everything we possibly can to win this game, period," Marrone said. "I am not even thinking about what happens beyond that, and that is the way we are going to go about our business this week."
Marrone added that they're "all in" on beating the Titans.
"I knew that it was going to be a question," Marrone said. "I knew that it would be asked. When we go over the games and everything and I said, 'We are going to bounce back and we are going to work our asses off this week and we are going to go out and win this game and win this quarter.' That was pretty much the conversation, and there wasn't, 'Are you sure?' There wasn't any wavering from anyone of what we want to do and what we want to accomplish this week.
"We are 100 percent all-in on winning this football game."
The Week 17 game might not matter for the Jaguars, but it matters a ton for AFC playoff hopefuls. The Titans can clinch a playoff berth by beating the Jaguars. Meanwhile, teams like the Chargers, Ravens, and Bills will be rooting for the Jaguars to beat the Titans. As it stands, the 9-6 Ravens own the fifth seed while the 8-7 Titans own the sixth seed. Behind them are the 8-7 Chargers and Bills.
The Ravens can make the playoffs with:
1.) BAL win or tie OR
2.) BUF loss or tie OR
3.) TEN loss or tie
The Titans can make the playoffs with:
1.) TEN win OR
2.) TEN tie + BUF loss or tie + LAC loss or tie OR
3.) BUF loss + LAC loss
The Chargers can make the playoffs with:
1.) LAC win + TEN loss or tie + BUF loss or tie OR
2.) LAC win + TEN loss or tie + BAL win or tie OR
3.) LAC tie + TEN loss + BUF loss or tie
The Bills can make the playoffs with:
1.) BUF win + BAL loss OR
2.) BUF win + LAC loss or tie + TEN loss or tie OR
3.) BUF tie + LAC loss + TEN loss
As for the Jaguars, they're likely more motivated to play for a win after how their Week 16 game against the 49ers went. The Jaguars lost 44-33. Their defense got gouged by Jimmy Garoppolo. After a hot start to December, Blake Bortles morphed back into the Blake Bortles we've all come to know over the past few years by throwing three interceptions. And Leonard Fournette averaged 2.7 yards per carry.
Despite the loss, the Jaguars still clinched their first division title since 1999, when they played in the AFC Central. They can't, however, catch the Steelers for the No. 2 seed, so they won't be getting a first-round bye. Regardless of what happens on Sunday, they'll be playing on wild-card weekend.
And if the Jaguars lose to the Titans, there's a decent chance they'll have to face them for a third time.
AFC scenarios:— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) December 26, 2017
*Jaguars could host Titans, Chargers, Bills, or Ravens
*Chiefs could host Titans, Bills, Ravens, but NOT Chargers
*9 of 30 possible AFC scenarios have Titans vs Jaguars again Wild Card Weekend
That might be the worst outcome for the Jaguars considering the state of the Titans (bad).