Jaguars one step closer to the playoffs after win vs. Panthers: 3 takeaways

• The Jaguars beat the Panthers in what was a must-win game

• They ended a 4-game losing streak and remain in 1st place in the AFC South

• Here are thee observations from the dominant win in Week 17

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Matt Barkley (19) talks with Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Matt Barkley (19) talks with Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Unio / USA
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The Jacksonville Jaguars faced the Carolina Panthers in what was basically a must-win game. Although they ultimately came out on top, it wasn't a given that the Jaguars were going to win. After all, Carolina was 2-13 heading into the game but Jacksonville was sitting on a four-game losing skid. Heck, the Panthers had won one game the past month, while the Jags have been just a glimpse of the team that went 6-2 to start the season.

Maybe losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the wake-up the Jags needed. Perhaps the prospect of missing the playoffs after qualifying last year was too much to bear. Either way, the Jags put on a dominant display, beating Carolina 26-0. Moreover, they did it without Trevor Lawrence, who missed the first game of his NFL career while dealing with a shoulder sprain.

Following the game, head coach Doug Pederson made sure to recognize his player's effort and commitment, knowing that they were at risk of getting knocked out of playoff contention.

"After four weeks of a little bit of heartbreak, it's the one thing I appreciate about our guys is they continue to roll up their sleeves, they continue to go to work," Pederson said when he met with the local media. "They know the mistakes they've made, that we've been making. But yet, they continue to work, and they continue to work hard during the week."

"And it showed it today. It might not have been a pretty football game, but they never are. They're hard, they're gritty, they're tough. They're physical, all that stuff, just proud of our guys for the way they competed today," Pederson said.

So what stood out in the Jaguars' ninth win of the season? A few things, including the next three.