The Jaguars' three wins:
*Kept the Colts out of the playoffs
*Kept the Dolphins out of the playoffs
*Forced the Bills to play last night's game on the road
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) January 24, 2022
It was far from a banner year in Jacksonville. In fact, it was the furthest you can get. The Jaguars’ 3-14 record was the worst in the NFL, and the team will be selecting with the first overall pick in the 2022 draft. Those three wins, however, proved to be monumental and had a significant effect on the AFC playoffs.
To start with, two of those victories came against teams who would otherwise be in the playoffs had they not lost to the Jags. The Miami Dolphins didn’t know it at the time, as they sat at just 1-5, but their loss to Jacksonville didn’t just help it avoid the longest losing streak in NFL history. It also would ultimately cost the Dolphins a playoff spot as they finished one game short after an unlikely turnaround in the second half of the season.
Of course, Jags fans know what happened in the season finale, as well. It was straightforward for the Colts: A win would clinch an AFC wild-card spot. But the Colts were stunned and ultimately missed the playoffs after an embarrassing loss against a team who, before Detroit’s upset over Green Bay, likely would have been better served to lose the game.
However, arguably the biggest impact came from Jacksonville’s upset win over Buffalo. Many had just shrugged that game off as a flukey slip-up, and it didn’t keep the Bills from winning the AFC East. But it did cause them to finish one game shy of Kansas City, who they had the head-to-head tiebreaker against.
Had they won against the Jags, Sunday night’s wild divisional-round game would have been played in Buffalo. Considering how evenly matched the game was, it very likely could have gone the other direction if the Bills had the benefit of home-field advantage.
Though the Jaguars are sitting at home during the postseason, their few wins this season proved to be ones with massive effects on the playoff picture.