JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars have not played a home game with so much at stake in nearly a decade.
An outside shot in securing a postseason berth. A perennial contender for the playoffs and recent Super Bowl champion in the city. An opportunity to prove that they belong to the NFL elite.
Some could even match Sunday's match against the Seattle Seahawks (8-4) as a "game of affirmations." Not the Jaguars (8-4).
Jacksonville refuses to acknowledge what a victory against the 2014 Super Bowl champions would mean, even if everyone else does.
"You all dare to whom you want to exaggerate," said the Jaguares cornerback. Jalen Ramsey, criticizing the media. "You do not exaggerate who do not have, we're sorry last year, but we're not this year, we're not talking about last year."
Maybe not. But for a team that lost 74 of 96 games in the previous six seasons and has not been that close to the playoffs in December since 2010, placing itself in this position is a big change and should be part of the discussion.
"Everyone should stop doing that," Ramsey said. "The media, you do that too much." You have been exalting people; all of you hype teams Stop doing that. You must stop doing that. It is a new year. It's a new league, everything.
"There are new big dogs in the NFL, stop doing that, stop exalting people."
If the Jaguars are one of the "big new dogs," then facing Seattle late in the season should be the yardstick. After all, the Seahawks are the best in the NFL 20-5 in the regular season games in December and January.
But the Jaguars are not willing to go there.
"I do not know if you can pretty much say it's a game of affirmations," said Tashaun Gipson, Jaguars security. "I think we've shown that if it's not the best, it's one of the best, it's just going out and doing collectively what we know and what we can do."
"A game of affirmations? We do not want to put that kind of pressure in this game. We know that it is an important game and has many implications. They are trying to get their ninth victory and prepare. We're trying to do the same thing. "
Unlike Seattle, Jacksonville can get a playoff berth this week, both currently projecting as the No. 5 seed in their respective conferences.
The Jaguars need a victory, combined with the defeats of Buffalo, Miami, the New York Jets and Los Angeles Chargers to reach the postseason for the first time since 2007. They also need the game Oakland-Kansas City not to end up tied.
Seattle has not even mentioned the postseason this week, probably because they have been there five consecutive seasons and 11 times in the previous 14. years
One thing that has been a theme on both coasts: Jacksonville copied Seattle's defensive scheme that led him to Super Consecutive bowls, and comparisons are an obvious story, the Jaguars lead the NFL in defense of scoring, total defense, defense and serves.
Are the units comparable?  "Nah, there's only one Seattle Seahawks," Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said.
Here are some other things you should know about the Seahawks and the Jaguars:
Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell will face Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson for the eleventh time. Campbell is 4-5-1 in the previous 10 meetings and knows very well what Wilson can do.
"I call it Houdini because it can create from nothing," said Campbell. "It's like magic, you think you have it and then he just does something crazy, he breaks free and throws a touchdown, we have our hands full."
The Seahawks showed something like a viable game against Philadelphia. It took a mix of riots from Russell Wilson and some eye-catching plays by Mike Davis for the Seahawks to run 101 yards against the NFL's maximum defense.
Davis's 64 yards on the ground were the most used by a Seattle runner since Chris Carson had 93 yards in Week 2 vs. San Francisco.
Jimmy Graham continues on a touchdown run. Seattle's tight end is tied with Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins for the NFL lead with nine TD receptions. He has caught touchdowns in four consecutive games, and all nine of his scoring attempts have come in the last eight games.
IN THE AREA
Blake Bortles has been at his best in the red zone this season. Jacksonville's fourth-year quarterback has completed 22 of 41 passes for 140 yards, with 12 touchdowns and no interception inside the 20-yard line.
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