After being pegged as a team that would simply tank for a high draft pick before the season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are just a few wins away from clinching a second-straigh NFC South title.
It's been a turn of events in more than one way, as the Bucs not only overcame preseason predictions but also a midseason slump that nearly derailed everything. A 3-1 start to the season was completely squandered after the Bucs went 1-6 after their bye week, but the ship has seemingly turned around in recent weeks.
Tampa Bay pummeled the Packers last Sunday, getting back to .500 and snatching back full control of the NFC South. That grip tightened thanks to a Thursday night loss by New Orleans and a win over the Jaguars on Sunday would put the Bucs on the brink of returning to the playoffs.
It won't be an easy matchup, though. Jacksonville is clinging to playoff hopes of their own and are currently free falling after a recent rough patch. Injuries to Trevor Lawrence haven't helped matters, and his status heading into Sunday is something to keep an eye on.
Jaguars give surprising Trevor Lawrence injury update ahead of Week 16 vs. Buccaneers
Lawerence miraculously bounced back from a nasty looking injury against the Bengals a few weeks ago, one that knocked him out of a close game late and likely ended up being a major factor in the Jaguars loss.
His return against the Browns and Ravens didn't help, though, as Jacksonville is in the midst of a three-game losing streak and once again Lawrence is dealing with an injury. He entered concussion protocol after last week's loss to Baltimore, and it was looking like he probably wouldn't be able to play against the Bucs on Sunday.
Now it seems the gun might have been jumped a bit.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Jaguars are heading into the weekend with a 'questionable' designation attached to Lawrence. This is a significant upgrade from earlier reports that indicated that he was unlikely to play against Tampa Bay on Sunday.
If Lawrence is unable to play, or doesn't clear concussion protocol in time, it'll be C.J. Beathard who will start for Jacksonville.
That's obviously the ideal situation for the Bucs, but Lawrence playing is no guarantee that the Jaguars suddenly are some world-beating force. Three straight losses put them in a desperate spot but indicates that if the Bucs play the way we've seen them play lately, it might be another happy afternoon for fans in Tampa Bay.