So this Sunday at 9:25pm UK time, the AFC Championship rematch, as it’s being billed, takes place in the Sunshine State. Admittedly the Patriots don’t have the greatest of weapons at the minute but does that mean we should be worried? Should we be trembling at the thought of Sacksonville in Jacksonville?
At the start of the season I would’ve said yes but now I’m not so sure. Fournette is struggling with a hamstring injury, Yeldon is more of a backfield catcher than straight up grab the ball and run kind of guy and then there’s Blake Bortles… They don’t have a true number one receiver (or at least not figured out who it is yet) as last week the receptions were spread around with Westbrook getting 5 and Cole 3 whilst other receptions were shared between the runners and Seferian-Jenkins.
Until Doug Marrone trusts his QB to take them to the house with aggressive play start to finish then Bortles and the Jaguars will continue to struggle when it matters. They’re a run first team and when everyone knows you’re a run first team it’s easier to defend. Couple that with a promising glimpse of Patriots pass-rush, then I feel a lot happier about going in to TIAA Bank Field and taking home a W.
Match-ups to look out for:
Rob Gronkowski vs Jalen Ramsey – If you need to put your best Corner up against a TE then it says it all. It’s a waste of a Corner Back and plays in to Gronk’s hands.
Corderelle Patterson vs anyone – I have a sneaky feeling that Patterson might have a reasonably big involvement in this game than last week, especially now that Jeremy Hill has been confirmed on IR for the season. You could also replace Patterson with Corey Coleman as he could be thrown in on a few plays to surprise the Jags.
Yannick Ngakoue vs Trent Brown – This match-up is so intriguing it gives me goosebumps. If Brown repeats last week’s performance then he should keep Ngakoue quiet and Brady on his feet but if there’s any chink in the armour he could be flat on his back, along with Brady and the chances of a Patriots win.
All in all I feel relatively confident about this one but wouldn’t be surprised if we do lose. I’d rather take a loss now than in January when it really matters and being 1-1 is better than the 0-2 I thought we’d be to start the season.
Prediction: Patriots 24 – Jaguars 20