How the Jaguars make the playoffs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars are still alive in the hunt for the playoffs.

Don’t laugh.

Not only that, but there’s a scenario in which the Jaguars eke in as the AFC’s No. 6 seedInsider -- and the scenario isn’t as far-fetched as you would think.

OK, get up off the floor.

Seriously, though. It could happen. It’s highly, highly unlikely because the Jaguars would need a lot of help, but there’s one scenario that actually seems plausible, provided there’s an upset or two.

How did I figure this out? I used ESPN’s Playoff Machine, which allows you to play with the results of the season’s remaining games to see how it would affect the playoff seedings. You can chose home teams to win every game, road teams to win every game, the team with the better offense to win every game … or you can pick individual games.

That’s what I did, and if things fall a certain way, the Jaguars would be playing the No. 3 seed Colts in a wild-card game in Indianapolis.

The Jaguars (3-9) obviously have to win their remaining games against Houston, Buffalo, Tennessee and Indianapolis. Without that happening, everything is moot.

The Jaguars’ main competitors are the N.Y. Jets (5-7), Miami Dolphins (6-6), Buffalo Bills (4-8), Cincinnati Bengals (8-4), Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7), Cleveland Browns (4-8), San Diego Chargers (5-7) and Oakland Raiders (4-8).

Here’s a breakdown of what else has to happen:

Week 14 (* denotes home team)

Denver* beats Tennessee

New England* beats Cleveland

Oakland beats New York Jets*

New York Giants beat San Diego*

Miami beats Pittsburgh*

Tampa Bay* beats Buffalo

The breakdown: There are a couple of upsets involving teams flying cross-country. The Raiders seem the more likely winner considering the mess the Jets have at quarterback. The Bills aren’t much better at that position, so losing at home to the Bucs, who do seem settled there, isn’t a stretch.

Week 15

Denver* beats San Diego

Kansas City beats Oakland*

Chicago beats Cleveland*

Carolina* beats Jets

New England beats Miami*

Arizona beats Tennessee*

Cincinnati beats Pittsburgh*

Detroit* beats Baltimore

The breakdown: Each of the victorious teams is better than the teams they beat, although the Browns are a better team with Jason Campbell starting at quarterback. New England, Kansas City and Carolina are the key games.

Week 16

Buffalo* beats Miami

Minnesota beats Cincinnati*

Jets* beat Cleveland

Green Bay* beats Pittsburgh

Oakland beats San Diego*

New England beats Baltimore*

The breakdown: This is the most unlikely week for the Jaguars. Buffalo and Oakland victories are highly unlikely. If the games the previous weeks work out as planned, the Bills, Raiders and Patriots have to win, or the Jaguars won’t make the playoffs.

Week 17

Cincinnati* beats Baltimore

Cleveland beats Pittsburgh*

Denver beats Oakland*

Houston beats Tennessee*

Jets beat Miami*

Kansas City beats San Diego*

The breakdown: The unlikeliest of results has to happen: The Texans have to beat the host Titans. Houston is riding a 10-game losing streak heading into this week’s game against the Jaguars. Will Texans players be checked out by the final week, just trying to get this nightmare of a season over with? The Jets going into Miami and winning is unlikely, too.