I can not wait to see the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the New England Patriots. If coach Bill Belichick can come up with a way to stifle the impressive Jacksonville Jaguars rushing attack, he really is the man. I was watching NFL Access today and Rich Eisen and the guys were going on about how the Jaguars have no shot to score enough points to keep up with the Patriots.
Excuse me? The Jaguars have put up 24 or more points in 11 straight games and New England hasn’t. The Patriots have a run defense that is prone to attack and running the ball is what the Jaguars do best. The Jaguars can score, I am just not sure they can prevent New England from scoring 40 plus points unless the weather is a factor (and it shouldn’t be).
I really can’t see how the no pass rush having Jaguars can get anywhere near Brady to stop the Patriots passing attack. Sacking Ben Roethlisberger six times is one thing (he was among the league leaders in getting sacked), getting a hand on Brady is much more difficult.
When I watched the Jaguars take on a bungling Philip Rivers in Jacksonville, they couldn’t get within 10 feet of the happy footed (for no reason) Rivers even though they knew Rivers had to pass the ball. They certainly won’t get the same reaction from the ultra poised Tom Brady. That could be a huge problem for the Jags, but only if Brady can parley great pass protection into a big lead.
If the Patriots are unable to pull away, late in the game the Jaguars’ rushing attack could be the huge problem. The Patriots have some older players like the not so Junior Seau (or as Deion Sanders calls him—Senior Seau) and Teddy Bruschi that can wear down late, but the veterans benefited from an extra week off. I can see the Jaguars running the ball right down the field and into the end zone to keep pace with the Patriots early. If I can visualize this, then coach Belichick has already visualized it and come up with a scheme to stop it. We’ll see if it works.
In close games, the Patriots have thrived off of the other team either losing their poise late in games or turtling up and playing prevent offense. The Jaguars will not implode if they have the lead. Turning around and handing the ball off two Maurice Jones-Drew or Fred Taylor is what they do best. The play action pass is another weapon that they’ve used with great success. In the fourth quarter, that is hard to stop.
The Jaguars still remember that 28-3 domination they Patriots put on them in the 2005 playoffs. My thought is that the Patriots will probably win again, because the Jaguars pass rush can be neutralized and the weather does not look like it will be a factor. However, I certainly would not be shocked if the Jaguars came in like the tough guys they are and pulled out a hard fought win.