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NFL playoff picture: Who to root for in Week 17 if you are a Jacksonville Jaguars fan

Week 17 is here and the Jacksonville Jaguars are in first place in the AFC South but are struggling as the playoff picture clears up. Who should Jaguars fans root for to help their chances?

A Jacksonville Jaguars fan during the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals on December 4, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fl. Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a tailspin, having lost four straight games. In spite, they are still in position to clinch the AFC South division title and they could even climb into the No. 3 seed if they can get back on the winning path and some chips fall their way.

The Jaguars can win the division without any help if they win their remaining two games. That starts with them hosting the Panthers in Week 17 as a touchdown favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. They’ll follow that with a Week 18 road game against the Titans. If they win out, they’ll win the division.

However, there’s a host of Week 17 matchups that can help them along the way. Here’s a look at the games Jaguars fans should keep an eye on and who they should be rooting for in each game.

Result: The Jaguars had no trouble against the Panthers, winning 26-0 with backup C.J. Beathard playing quarterback. However, wins by the Colts and Texans means Jacksonville cannot clinch the division until Week 18.

Raiders vs. Colts
Titans vs. Texans

Results: The Colts edged out the Raiders 23-20 while the Texans thumped the Titans 26-3. Jacksonville heads into Week 18 needing a win to clinch the division.

The Jaguars can clinch the division with a win and losses by the Colts and Titans. That makes the rooting interests simple in this one. Indianapolis is a field goal favorite and Houston is a 3.5-point favorite.

Steelers vs. Seahawks

Result: The Steelers beat the Seahawks.

The Steelers are tied with the Jaguars at 8-7 but it doesn’t matter as long as Jacksonville remains in first place in the AFC South. But if they slip, they’ll be looking for breathing room so they can still have a chance at a wild card berth. Pittsburgh is a 3.5-point underdog in Seattle.

Bengals vs. Chiefs

Result: The Chiefs beat the Bengals.

This is an interesting one. The Bengals are in a similar position to the Steelers, tied with the Jaguars at 8-7 but not able to pass them as long as Jacksonville remains in first place in the AFC South. A Bengals loss offers some breathing space in the wild card race if it comes down to that. However, a Chiefs loss opens the door for the Jaguars to move up in the overall standings. Kansas City holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Jacksonville, so they need to lose both of their remaining games for the Jaguars to climb ahead of them with two wins of their own the final two weeks.

The Chiefs are a touchdown home favorite over the Bengals.