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Monday, November 22, 2010
Let's give the Jaguars some credit

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

The easy thing to do is to dismiss the Jacksonville Jaguars and call their position atop the AFC South standings temporary because of a fluke win over the Indianapolis Colts back on Oct. 3.

No, I don’t think the Jaguars are going to win the division or get to the playoffs. But let’s give them their due. They're at 6-4, tied with the Colts and holding that head-to-head advantage.

A lot has gone right in Jacksonville through 10 games.

Make fun of their fans all you like, but in six home games they’ve not had a blackout, thanks largely to the efforts of Team Teal. The group, spearheaded by Tony Boselli, can’t get enough credit for helping get people into EverBank Field.

This team has been resilient on the field and found a way to win some key games -- the same thing we say about the Colts when we praise them.

David Garrard's been better overall that we could have foreseen and a secondary with shuffling and insufficient safeties has survived often enough. The defense sacked Colt McCoy six times in Jacksonville's win over Cleveland on Sunday despite missing their top pass rusher, Aaron Kampman, who’s out for the season.

They’ve won three in a row. The only other team with a similar streak in the AFC right now is the Jets.

Sunday against the Browns they gave the ball away six times and took it away just once. And it didn’t matter.

It was the franchise’s first win with a turnover differential of minus-five or worse. They were just the third team since 2000 to win in such a fashion. Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Info tells us the Titans beat the Browns 24-10 in 2000 despite a minus-six and the 2007 Cowboys beat the Bills 25-24 despite a minus-five.

“That was a first for us and enough for me,” linebacker Kirk Morrison said of the turnover differential. “You know when the offense struggles for a little bit, the defense picks it up. We’ve talked about that all season long. We talked about that all last week. Sometimes it’s not going to go the way we want it to.

“Last week the offense was clicking on all cylinders and the defense gave up some second half points against Houston but we still won the football game. This week was a complete reversal, but at the end of the day we talked about just getting the W. No matter how it looks, if we played poorly or badly when you come away with the W at the end of the day we feel good about ourselves.”