Doug Pederson: ‘Last month of our season prepared us’ for playoffs

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the tournament. With a win, they’d be one of eight teams in the Division Round of the NFL Playoffs. With a loss, the offseason would begin.

But Jaguars coach Doug Pederson isn’t too worried about his young team succumbing to the pressures of a win-or-go-home situation. That’s pretty much been the case for the Jaguars for a while.

“I think the last month of our season has kind of prepared us for this, because these were all must-win games, right?” Pederson said Thursday. “No bigger than last weekend. Obviously, this is a little different. The atmosphere will be different. The pace will be a bit different. The intensity will be a little different. It’s just the way it is in the postseason. I haven’t seen a difference with the team, which is a good thing.”

After beginning the month of December with a 40-14 loss to the Detroit Lions, the Jaguars were 4-8 and trailed the Tennessee Titans by three games in the AFC South. With hardly any room for error, Jacksonville rattled off five straight wins — including a winner-take-all game against the Titans in Week 18 — to reach the postseason.

While five of the AFC playoff teams (the Chiefs, Bills, Bengals, Chargers, and Ravens) all clinched a spot before the beginning of Week 18, the Jaguars were still scratching and clawing their way out of a hole.

The result of that struggle may be a battle-tested Jacksonville team that’s prepared for the high stakes and big stage. But that answer won’t be definitively answered until the Jaguars and Chargers take the field Saturday at TIAA Bank Field.

Story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire