AFC Championship Preview

Can the Pats flex their muscle over the AFC?

The 2017-18 season has been a season to remember for Pats fans.

Faced with more controversy, the Pats continued to dominate the NFL posting a record of 13-3. Any beef that Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, or Tom Brady have against each other, it seems like it hasn’t affected the Pats in any way to the outside eye.

Tom Brady threw for 32 TD’s and 8 INT’s, another year of proving doubters that time seems to not affect good old’ TB12.

This year however was filled with confusion for the Pats. Reports flooding in from everywhere that there was “dissention” amongst the 3 most valuable members of the Pats organization (Kraft, Belichick, Brady).

Brady will need the versatility from his whole team today. Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead will be one’s to watch, as their jobs today will be to open the Jags tough run D in order to spread the secondary for the Jags. The Pats can’t forget the run game in order to adjust Brady, making him comfortable throwing the ball against this secondary.

Mystery factor: Brady’s hand.

Brady pictured after his collision with Burkhead

Brady injured his hand in practice a day ago when he handed the ball off to Burkhead. Apparently the helmet strap of Burkhead caught Brady’s hand, resulting in Brady’s hand to bleed at a fast rate. Brady showed up to his press conference, wearing both gloves in the photo above.

I don’t think this will affect him at all. Brady got 7 stitches added to his hand, so it may actually be serious. The Pats love to screw around with the media, so it could also be overhyped.

WR’s Cooks, Hogan, and Amendola are going to have to run routes to a T against Jalen Ramsey, A.J Bouye, and Aaron Colvin. Gronk will also have to play perfectly in order to beat the Jags.

At the age of 40, Brady has led the Patriots to the AFC Championship 12 times in his career. Brady is 7-4 as the QB for the Pats during his stretch from 01-18′ in Conference Championship.

To be able to beat Brady, it means you need to beat Belichick. The best coaching/Qb tandem in the NFL

Tom Brady in all his years, has proved to the world that he of all people should never be counted out.

As much as I despise TB12, the guy is the BEST QB of all time in my opinion. The man never seems to age. Still throwing for 30+ TD’s at the age of 40, it’s unheard of. The legend must make his case today, against the strong Jags D’.

Can the Jags shock the world?

The last time the Jaguars played in an AFC Championship game was in 1999-00 when the Jags lost to the Titans 33-14.

The Jaguars ride into the AFC Championship following a 10-6 season.

On Defense, the Jags have established a powerhouse of a squad. Consisting of pro bowlers such as Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell, and Malik Jackson. Campbell also took home DPOY honors.

Players like Myles Jack, Yannick Ngakoue, Telvin Smith, and Paul Posluszny have also helped the Jags establish dominance in the NFL amongst Defenders. Their Defense has been the main reason why the Jags are where they are today.

Putting the Offense in situations where they can screw up, make mistakes, come back, and capitalize.

The Jags have been plagued with inconsistent QB play all season. Blake Bortles finished the season throwing 21 TD’s and 13 INT’s. Also throwing for over 3,500+ passing yards.

The Jags have gone into battle without top WR Allen Robinson, ever since he tore his ACL Week 1. Relying more on offensive players such as Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns, Keenan Cole, Leonard Fournette, and Mercedes Lewis.

Bortles also finished the season with 322 rushing yards. Bortles gives the Jags versatility on offense. Bortles can either throw well on the run or use the ground, running away from pressure and picking up extra yards.

The Jags know what Bortles can be capable of when he’s in the zone, but they also know when Bortles can be trash as well

He can also overthrow screen passes and under-throw/overthrow receivers wide open. Bortles and his mechanics were worked on throughout the season.

The first half of the Bills/Jags AFC Wildcard game, was probably the worst half of football, all time. Bortles couldn’t get anything going through the air but found pockets where he could run and pick up yardage. Bortles threw for 87 yards. And still won the game. He also rushed for 88 yards.

The next week, Bortles throws for 214 and a TD. Running for only 35 yards. Somehow beating the Steelers, a team who many thought would walk away victorious.

Blake Bortles has figured out to play just well enough, in order to give the Defense the support it needs. The Defense will need a ton of support in order to achieve topping Brady and the Pats.

My take

The New England Patriots have plagued the NFL for too long.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady go hand in hand as one of the best if not the best coach/QB tandem in the history of the NFL. Which makes hating them so easy if your not a Pats fan.

Don’t let the 13-3 record fool you, something is up with Tom Brady. The man still throws for ridiculous stats. But Brady didn’t look as comfortable in the pocket this year as he has previous. Maybe it’s because of the absence Julian Edelman, maybe Brady doesn’t overall trust his O-line.

At 40, Brady will experience the hardship of the burden playing into your 40’s. The human body truly can tell when it’s time to give it up.

Maybe it starts with Brady’s tattered hand? Probably not.

The Jags in order to win today must frustrate Brady like no other. Getting Brady uncomfortable for the whole game is probably the hardest task a Defense could be assigned to do

The Jags Offense needs to execute the play that matter the most. Blake Bortles has thrown for 19 TD’s and 0 INT in the Red Zone this year. Brady has thrown for 23 TD’s and 0 INT.

Average play will only get you so far against the Patriots

Whether it’s a 2 minutes drill, or to respond to the Pats scoring against the Jags D. It’s up to Blake Bortles and whether or not he can handle the high-pressure expectations playing against the Patriots.

Fournette should have a big game if he can find the holes. Otherwise, he may be quiet again on the ground.

For Dion Lewis and Burkhead, passing options for check-downs will be huge. They should also find holes every few carries, exploiting the Jags run D due to the focus on Brady and the passing game

Keenan Cole is a man to watch for today’s game for the Jags. I think he’ll be essential to Bortles and his plan of attack for Belichick’s Defense.

Today’s game should be a back and forth until Brady figures out how to beat the Jags D. Then I think TB12 will take over and lead the Pats to the super bowl. But the Jags D will make it tough the entire game

Will it all fall down after today if the Pats lose?

No. Of course not, but something could be exposed to the world if they do. That it’s not all gold in New England.

Pats 31 Jags 24

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