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
4 of 4

1. The Jaguars took a step toward the playoffs, the work isn't over

The Jaguars took care of business in Week 17, but don't forget the Panthers are literally the worst team in the league. Had they lost, they wouldn't have deserved to make the playoffs nor win the division. On the other hand, the impact of the victory cannot not be overstated.

Jacksonville was coming off a four-game losing streak and both players and Doug Pederson sounded particularly defeated following the defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Then again, sometimes, a pesky win is the spark a club needs to get back on track. That the Jaguars beat Carolina without Trevor Lawrence is worthy of praise.

Against the Panthers, the Jags put an emphasis on getting the running game going, something they've failed to do in the second half of the season. Running back Travis Etienne crossed the 100-yard mark for only the second time this season, while Evan Engram surpassed the 100-catch mark, the 11th time in NFL history a team has reached the milestone.

Simply put, the offense was operating in a way it hadn't since the win over the Houston Texans. The defense also did their part, shutting Carolina out and sacking Bryce Young six times. Again, Jacksonville put down a bad team but they did enough to keep their season alive.

If the Jaguars can build on their latest win and once again show out against the Titans, maybe, just maybe they could make a deep playoff push. That said, they must take it one game at a time, and not put their guard down in the season finale.

Here are more stories from Black & Teal: