The Jacksonville Jaguars can clinch a spot in the NFL Playoffs if they beat the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. And after the results of the two NFL games on Saturday, that’s the only way they can get in.
No matter what happens, the Titans are playing for a draft spot, picking somewhere in the Top 10 in this year’s NFL Draft.
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, who has expressed support for the LGBTQ community and his former teammate, Ryan O’Callagahn, who came out as gay several years ago, may also find himself feeling like he’s coaching for his job. The Titans are 12-21 the last two seasons under him, after three straight playoff appearances.
But the real story of the game is the Jaguars. With the only publicly out male coach in all of major men’s pro sports — strength coach Kevin Maxen, who came out on Outsports last year — the LGBTQ community has a particular interest in seeing Jacksonville in the Playoffs.
The Jaguars are favored to win the game, and the “line” on the game is anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5 points, with 5 being the most common. This means that, between gamblers and sports book odds makers, most people think the Jaguars will win, and that they’ll win the game by an average of 5 points.
Of course, this doesn’t mean a heck of a lot. We’ve seen teams lose after being “favored” by double digits. In fact, as a player Vrabel was part of the Patriots team that upset the 14-point favorite Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
When the Titans visited Jacksonville in November, the Jaguars won by 20 points. Interestingly, the Jaguars have a better record on the road — 5-2 — than they do at home — 4-5.
If they win, Jacksonville will be the No. 4 seed, hosting a Wild Card game next weekend.
With all of that taken into account, oddsmakers give the Jaguars a 60% chance of getting in.
Whether they do, this season — and the Jaguars’ success in the face of some adversity — has been a testament to inclusion, with the team embracing Maxen after he came out.
The game will be broadcast on CBS on Sunday at 1pmET, and most of the country will have the chance to watch the game on network TV.