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O'HARA'S WEEK 13 PREVIEW: Lions have something to play for this December

Detroit Lions center Frank Ragnow experienced a range of emotions from a gut-wrenching loss on Thanksgiving Day to knowing a playoff opportunity is still alive as he prepares for Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It's the first time in Ragnow's five-year career that the Lions have gone into December with a legitimate chance to make the playoffs.

The Lions' 4-7 won-loss record does not qualify them as a leading contender for a wild card berth in the NFC playoffs, but at least they're in the race.

"Pretty cool, man," Ragnow said. "I don't think I've experienced it before. It's not over, right? We're still in this thing.

"To be able to do this is pretty cool."

Quarterback Jared Goff played in six playoff games and started five – including one Super Bowl – in his five seasons with the Rams.

He knows what it means to make the playoffs, and the work that goes into doing it.

"It makes every game mean a little more," Goff said. "You're playing for something. We certainly have a lot of work to do to put ourselves in there.

"It's one game at a time. We've got six left. How many of those can we win to give ourselves the best chance?"

Jaguars preview: Trevor Lawrence is next on the list of young quarterbacks on the rise to test the Lions' defense.

Lawrence took a big step forward in his development with his performance in Sunday's 28-27 win over the Ravens.

Lawrence led a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a 10-yard TD pass to former Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. Lawrence hit wide receiver Zay Jones for the two-point conversion to win the game.

It was a big moment for Lawrence, who hasn't had many since being drafted first overall by the Jaguars in 2021.

"He played well," said Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson. "He played tough. He played smart. He took care of the football. He made some really big throws.

"Learning how to win, learning how to win games, goes a long way for everyone's confidence."

The Jaguars haven't done much winning in Lawrence's two seasons. They were 3-14 in 2021 and have improved to 4-7 with the win over the Ravens.

Lawrence had 12 TD passes against 17 interceptions as a rookie. He's improved that to 16 TDs and six interceptions with six games left.

Lions' keys:

Offense: Don't give away points. A safety and a missed short field goal (29 yards) added up to five points given away in the three-point loss to the Bills on Thanksgiving Day.

Defense: Christian Kirk and Zay Jones are the Jags' top receivers, but don't ignore Marvin Jones Jr. He's a veteran who knows how to get open. He once caught four TD passes as a Lion in a game at Ford Field. He knows how to find the end zone.

Overall: Don't give anything away. Players are going to get beat on some plays. It happens. It's part of the game. But cheap penalties such as roughing the passer after the ball has been released are inexcusable and intolerable.

View photos of the starters for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Lions-Jaguars pick: Scary game for the Lions because of what another loss would mean. The Jags are coming off a big win over the Ravens. The Lions had a disheartening loss to the Bills.

Jaguars favored by 1.5.

My pick: Lions 26, Jaguars 24.

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