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Game Preview: Jaguars at Patriots

pdc-2020102-game-preview-wk17-jags

WEEK 17 · Sun 01/02 · 1:00 PM EST

Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars

AT

Patriots

New England Patriots

CBS / WBZ
98.5 FM The Sports Hub
GILLETTE STADIUM

The New England Patriots will attempt to snap a two-game losing streak this Sunday when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars in the final regular season home game of the season. It will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Patriots traveled to Jacksonville on Sept. 16, 2018 and fell to the Jaguars, 31-20. The Jaguars will play at Gillette Stadium for the first time since a 24-20 loss in the 2017 AFC Championship Game that was played on Jan. 21, 2018.

PATRIOTS AIMING FOR 10-WIN SEASON FOR 27TH TIME IN TEAM HISTORY

The Patriots enter this week's game with a 9-6 record, aiming for their 27th 10-win season to tie Dallas for most 10-win seasons since the 1970 NFL merger.

SCOUTING THE MATCHUPS

By Paul Perillo

Patriots welcome struggling Jags while looking to snap two-game losing streak.

When the Patriots run - Edge: Patriots

The Patriots continue to show their physicality while running the football each week and the Jaguars have had trouble stopping it all season. Part of that is due to the many deficits the team faces each week, allowing opponents to keep the ball on the ground in an effort to run out the clock. But Jacksonville isn't overly stout up front either, allowing 123.5 yards (24th) per game on the ground and 4.2 yards per play, which is middle of the pack at 14th. The Jags feature former Patriot Malcom Brown, DaVon Hamilton and Dawuane Smoot up front with linebackers Myles Jack, Josh Allen, Damien Wilson and Jihad Ward, although Jack and Allen missed Sunday's loss to the Jets due to COVID protocols and the team has since place 11 additional players on the reserve list. That group hasn't been terrible but spends too much time on the field. The Patriots will look to keep Damien Harris going. Harris turned in a solid 100-yard, three TD performance in the loss to the Bills and will look to get his partner, Rhamondre Stevenson, back in to fold after the rookie sat out due to COVID protocols. If Stevenson returns look for Josh McDaniels to get the tandem going early and often in an effort to move the ball, get the lead and keep Mac Jones comfortable.

When the Patriots pass - Edge: Patriots

In another example of the Jaguars constantly facing huge deficits, Jacksonville allows just 229.7 yards per game through the air, which ranks 14th in the league. But a more telling statistic is the 7.2 yards per pass the Jags secondary coughs up. That ranks 27th, and is indicative of teams being able to hit big plays against the Jags while racing out of big leads before throttling back in the second half. The Patriots should be able to have some success through the air in this game facing a secondary that includes corners Tyson Campbell, Shaquill Griffin and Nevin Lawson with safeties Daniel Thomas, Andre Cisco and Andrew Wingard. McDaniels needs to get Mac Jones back on track after a couple of subpar outings. One way to do that is by running the ball effectively early to set up some favorable situations for Jones to take advantage of. He should have Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne back at full strength as well as tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Nelson Agholor had to sit out the Bills game with a concussion and his presence was missed. Getting him back in the mix would help as well, but much of this is on Jones. He needs to be more accurate and more consistent in order for the passing game to get back on track.

When the Jaguars run - Edge: Patriots

Stop me if you've heard this trend before: Jacksonville can run the ball effectively but doesn't rack up a ton of yards because they're generally playing from behind and can't afford to keep it on the ground. James Robinson was a productive back before rupturing his Achilles in the loss to the Jets, leaving Dare Ogunbowale and Nathan Cottrell to fill the void. Prior to Robinson's injury the Jags ranked 23rd in the league averaging 105 yards per game but fared much better (seventh) with a 4.6-yard average. It remains to be seen how Ogunbowale handles things as the lead back. The Jags hoped to use first-round pick Travis Etienne in that role but the rookie was lost for the year to a foot injury during the summer. The Jags haven't been able to establish much on the ground, leaving most all of the burden on rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and the Patriots should be able to continue that trend. Lawrence Guy and Christian Barmore will keep this running game in check, even if Matthew Judon and Ja'Whaun Bentley are unable to go due to COVID protocols, and keep the pressure on the Jags passing game to keep pace.

When the Jaguars pass - Edge: Patriots

The Patriots are coming off one of their worst performances of the season as the secondary had no answers for Josh Allen and the Bills. Myles Bryant and J.C. Jackson in particular struggled, but the good news is the Jags don't have the same type of personnel to repeat that performance. Lawrence has struggled mightily as a rookie. He's completing 59 percent of his passes for 3,225 yards with just nine touchdowns against 14 picks. He's also lost five fumbles as the Jags have had a hard time creating offense with the burden almost solely on the rookie. He does have a couple of solid wideouts in veteran Marvin Jones and impressive second-year man Laviska Shenault, but Shenault missed the Jets game due to COVID protocols. Tavon Austin and Laquan Treadwell also factor in the passing game along with tight ends James O'Shaughnessy and Jacob Hollister. That group shouldn't stress the Patriots secondary much even if Lawrence gets the time to deliver the ball, which hasn't often been the case this season. The Patriots secondary is looking for a get-right game and the Jags appear to be the perfect opponent to make that happen.

Special Teams - Edge: Patriots

The Patriots special teams haven't been overly effective as of late having allowed three blocked punts on the season and generating very little in the return game. The coverage also hasn't been overly sound as opponents have crossed the 30-yard line on kickoffs in each of the last two games. But Nick Folk remains the most consistent member of the team and he gives the Patriots an edge in the kicking game. He's made 34 of 37 field goals and 34 of 38 PATs during a season that probably should have resulted in a Pro Bowl berth. On the other side, Matthew Wright replaced the ineffective Josh Lambo and has connected on 16 of 19 field goals and 10 of 12 PATs, with two of his missed FGs coming from beyond 50 yards. Meanwhile Logan Cooke injured his knee against the Jets and may not be able to punt against the Patriots. The Jags use Jaydon Mickens on returns for both punts and kicks. He replaced James Agnew and has offered some explosiveness with a 48-yard punt return to his credit. Gunner Olszewski hasn't had a chance to break free in recent weeks after a couple of effective games in November, but he remains a threat. Folk's consistency gives the Patriots the edge against a Jags team that is playing out the string.

Patriots line up against the Jaguars during a playoff game on January 21, 2018.
Patriots line up against the Jaguars during a playoff game on January 21, 2018.

SERIES HISTORY

The New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars will meet for the first time since the 2018 season when the Jaguars pulled out a 31-20 win in Jacksonville on Sept. 16, 2018. The Patriots entered that game with a 7-0 regular season record against the Jaguars. New England is 7-1 against Jacksonville in the regular season and 11-2 overall. The Patriots are 8-0 overall against Jacksonville in home games, including 6-0 at Gillette Stadium.

Jacksonville will travel to face the Patriots at Gillette Stadium for the first time since the 2017 AFC Championship Game when the Patriots overcame a 20-10 fourth-quarter deficit before rallying for a 24-20 victory to advance to Super Bowl LII on Jan. 21, 2018 at Gillette Stadium.

The two teams have faced each other five times in the playoffs, including the 1996 AFC Championship Game at Foxboro Stadium and the 2017 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Jaguars, 20-6, in the 1996 AFC Championship Game, the first time New England hosted the AFC Conference Championship Game. The Patriots lead the Jaguars 4-1 overall in postseason games.

SERIES BREAKDOWN

Overall Record (including 4-1 in playoffs): 11-2

  • Record in New England: 8-0 (4-0 in playoffs)
  • Foxboro Stadium: 2-0 (1-0 in playoffs)
  • Gillette Stadium: 6-0 (3-0 in playoffs)

Record in Jacksonville: 3-2 (0-1 in playoffs)

Total Points: Patriots 347, Jaguars 224

Patriots' Largest Margin of Victory: 34 points (09/27/15)

Patriots' Largest Margin of Defeat: 15 points (01/03/99)

Highest Combined Point Total: 68 points (09/27/15)

Lowest Combined Point Total: 26 (01/12/97)

Games Decided by Seven or Fewer Points: 5

Bill Belichick vs. Jacksonville: 8-3 (8-1 with New England)

TALE OF THE TAPE

Table inside Article
2021 REGULAR SEASON NEW ENGLAND JACKSONVILLE
Record 9-6 2-13
Divisional Standings 2nd 4th
Total Yards Gained 5,158 4,600
Total Offense (Rank) 343.9 (17) 308.0 (26T)
Rush Offense 122.4 (9) 104.9 (23)
Pass Offense 221.5 (17) 203.1 (23)
Points Per Game 25.9 (11) 14.5 (32)
Total Touchdowns Scored 41 25
Total Yards Allowed 4,733 5,298
Total Defense (Rank) 315.5 (3) 353.2 (20)
Rush Defense 121.9 (23) 123.5 (24)
Pass Defense 193.7 (3) 229.7 (14)
Points Allowed/Game 17.3 (1T) 26.4 (27)
Possession Avg. 30:19 27:14
Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost 26/225 29/212
Sacks Made/Yards 33/230 26/190
Penalties Against/Yards 84/746 95/782
Punts/Avg. 48/44.5 65/46.6
Takeaway/Giveaway Ratio +7 (8) 19 (32)

QUARTERBACK COMPARISON

#10
2021_headshots_recropped__0042_Jones_Mac_2021
MAC JONES, QB, PATRIOTS
HT: 6-3 WT: 217 COLLEGE: ALABAMA
Table inside Article
SEASON COMP ATT YDS TD INT LNG SK/YDS
2021 310 461 3,313 18 12 75 26/225
#16
headshot-trevor-lawrence
TREVOR LAWRENCE, QB, JAGUARS
HT: 6-6 WT: 213 COLLEGE: CLEMSON
Table inside Article
SEASON COMP ATT YDS TD INT LNG SK/YDS
2021 319 543 3,225 9 14 58 29/212

CONNECTIONS

FORMER PATRIOTS

  • DT Malcom Brown (2015-19)
  • TE Jacob Hollister (2017-18)

FORMER JAGUARS

  • DL Carl Davis Jr. (2019)
  • DB Cody Davis (2018-19)

WHAT TO LOOK FOR...

  • The Patriots enter this week's game with a 9-6 record and are looking for their 27th 10-win season to tie Dallas for the most 10-win seasons since the 1970 NFL merger.
  • The Patriots have been successful on three 2-point plays in 2021. The Patriots need one more 2-point play to tie the franchise record of four set in 1960 and 1996.
  • The Patriots are 7th in the NFL in 2021 with 18 rushing touchdowns and need two rushing downs this week to reach 20 rushing touchdowns for the 9th time in team history. It would be the first time in team history that the Patriots had back-to-back years reaching 20 rushing touchdowns after finishing with 20 rushing touchdowns in 2020.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Andrew Catalon will handle play-by-play duties with James Lofton as the color analyst. Sherree Burruss will work from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Steve McKee and directed by Andy Goldberg.

SATELLITE RADIO: SiriusXM App: 821 (NE), 814 (JAC) | SiriusXM: 228 (NE), 383 (JAC)

LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 35 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. The games are produced by Marc Cappello.

For information on how to stream the game please visit our Ways to Watch guide.

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