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Patriots, Jaguars clash in Jacksonville

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-4) at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (8-6)
Sunday, December 24, 2006 - Alltel Stadium (67,164)
1:00 p.m. EST

The Patriots face a tough late-season road test against Jacksonville this week with an opportunity to clinch the AFC East division title with a victory. The Jaguars, also contending for a spot in the AFC playoffs, have been one of the NFL's best teams at home, sporting a 6-1 record at Alltel Stadium while allowing visitors a league-low 9.1 points per game. The Jaguars' second-ranked rushing offense and third-ranked rushing defense will provide a difficult challenge for New England's corresponding units as the Patriots seek their fourth straight division title.

PLAYOFF SCENARIO
The Patriots can clinch the 2006 AFC East title with one win or tie in their last two games (at Jacksonville, at Tennessee) or one loss or tie by the New York Jets in their last two games (at Miami, vs. Oakland). The Patriots (10-4) lead the secondplace Jets (8-6) by two games in the AFC East standings with two games to play. The Patriots have won a franchise-record three straight AFC East titles and have won four of the last five division crowns dating back to 2001. New England has won six division titles in the 12 full seasons since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994.

A RECORD PERFORMANCE
The Patriots have allowed an average of 13.79 points through 14 games this season, a mark that ranks second in the NFL (Baltimore, 13.36), and are on track to challenge the Patriots franchise record of 14.88 points per game, set in 2003.

KEEP OUT
The Patriots have allowed opposing offenses to score just 17 touchdowns through 14 games this season, a mark that ranks as the lowest total in the NFL. New England has allowed a total of 19 touchdowns this year - 17 by opposing offenses, one on a fumble return and one on a punt return. The team record for the fewest total touchdowns (23) was set in 2003.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by CBS. The game can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Greg Gumbel will handle play-by-play duties and Dan Dierdorf will provide analysis.

RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 30th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti for the 23rd season.

SERIES HISTORYThe Patriots and Jaguars will meet for the seventh time overall and for the first time since New England claimed a 28-3 win in the first round of last season's playoffs. The Patriots have won all three of the regular-season games between the clubs, including a 27-13 victory in the 2003 season at Gillette Stadium. The Jaguars will visit Foxborough for the fifth time, with the Patriots having won all four previous games against the teams in New England. Three of the six previous games between the teams have been playoff games, including the 1996 AFC Championship Game at Foxboro Stadium. In that contest, the Patriots beat the Jaguars 20-6 to advance to Super Bowl XXXI. The Jaguars claimed a 25-10 win in the 1998 wild card playoffs. In addition to their regular season and playoff games, the teams have met once in preseason play, with the Jaguars claiming a 31-0 victory in the final game of the 2004 preseason on Sept. 2, 2004.

SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY
The Patriots have an all-time record of 70-43-1 (.618) against the teams that make up the AFC South. It is the only division in the NFL where the Patriots own a winning record against each team. New England owns winning marks against Tennessee (20-16-1), Indianapolis (43-26), Jacksonville (5-1) and Houston (2-0). New England has won 10 of its last 12 games against AFC South teams. The Patriots play each of the four AFC South teams this season as part of the NFL's scheduling rotation. New England fell to Indianapolis, 27-20 on Nov. 5 and defeated Houston, 40-7 on Dec. 17.

QUICK HITS

  • In winning five of six total contests in the series, the Patriots have won 83 percent of their games against the Jaguars. The only other teams against which the Patriots have won at least 80 percent of their games are the Baltimore Ravens (3-0) and Houston Texans (2-0).
  • The Jaguars are one of just four teams against which the Patriots own an undefeated home record (4-0). The Patriots are 2-0 at home against Baltimore, 3-0 against Chicago and 1- 0 against Houston.
  • The Patriots will play their final two contests on the road (at Jacksonville and at Tennessee). New England is one of just three NFL teams to play each of its last two games on the road (also Arizona and Carolina).
  • The Patriots have scored 321 points this season while the Jaguars have scored 320 points.
  • The game features two of the league's stingiest defenses, with the Patriots ranking second in the NFL in allowing just 13.8 points per game and the Jaguars ranking fourth in allowing 15.4 points per contest. Jacksonville is the league's top home defense, allowing just 64 points through seven home games (9.1 points per game).

PASSING PERFORMANCES
Tom Brady will face off against the Jaguars for the third time in his career. In his two previous games against Jacksonville, he has compiled passer ratings of more than 100.0, achieving a 103.6 rating in the 2003 regular season and a 116.4 rating against the Jaguars in last year's playoffs. Jaguars signal caller David Garrard has played in one game against the Patriots in his career, appearing in last year's playoff game in relief of Byron Leftwich.

CONNECTIONS

  • Jaguars defensive line coach Ray Hamilton played on the Patriots defensive line from 1973 to 1981 where he started a team-record 110 consecutive games and racked up 54 sacks to place him fifth on the team's all-time list. He later had two coaching tenures with the Patriots, as a defensive line assistant (1985-89) and a defensive line coach (1997-99).
  • Jaguars offensive coordinator Carl Smith was a coach on the Patriots staff for three seasons and held the responsibilities of the assistant head coach/quarterbacks (1997) and the tight ends coach (1998-99).
  • Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel played at the University of Southern California while Jaguars offensive coordinator Carl Smith (2004) and running backs coach Kennedy Pola (2000- 03) served on the Trojans coaching staff.
  • Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears, strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik and Jaguars assistant head coach Dave Campo were on the same staff at Syracuse from 1984-86.
  • Jaguars wide receivers coach Steve Walters had two tenures as an assistant coach for the Patriots. He was the defensive backs coach from 1982-84 and later returned as the wide receivers coach from 1997-98.
  • Jaguars special teams assistant coach Mark Michaels coached linebackers and special teams for one season at UMass in 1998, after serving in the same capacity at Brown University for four seasons from 1994-97. He helped coach the Minutemen to the 1998 I-AA Championship. Michaels broke into coaching at the University of New Haven from 1987-91.
  • Jaguars linebackers coach Mark Duffner served as head coach at Holy Cross from 1986-91 where he compiled a 60-5-1 mark that included two 11-0 seasons (1987 and 1991). He was named national coach of the year five times while at Holy Cross and 'New England Coach of the Year' five times. The 1987 Holy Cross team was ranked No. 1 in the nation in Division I-AA by the Associated Press for a period of time. Duffner initially served as defensive coordinator at the school from 1981-1985.
  • Patriots head coach Bill Belichick hired Terry McDonough as a scout while Belichick was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 1992. McDonough, an Executive Scout with the Jaguars, is a native of Hingham, Mass. He is the son of the late Will McDonough, a longtime sportswriter who covered the Patriots for the Boston Globe.
  • Jaguars running back Montell Owens played at the University of Maine from 2002-05.
  • Patriots wide receiver Chad Jackson and Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey were teammates at the University of Florida from 2004-05. Mincey was originally drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round (191st overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft.
  • Patriots defensive linemen Marquise Hill (2001-02), Jarvis Green (1999-2001) and linebacker Eric Alexander (2000-02) played with Jaguars running back LaBrandon Toefield at Louisiana State.
  • Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Jaguars tackle Maurice Williams were four-year teammates at the University of Michigan from 1996-99.
  • Patriots Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour and Jaguars Pro Bowl defensive lineman Marcus Stroud played on the same unit at the University of Georgia for four years from 1997-2000.
  • Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour (1998-2000) and tight end Benjamin Watson (2000-02) were teammates with Jaguars linebacker Tony Gilbert at the University of Georgia.
  • Patriots safety Rashad Baker and Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson played together at the University of Tennessee from 2000-01.
  • Patriots wide receiver Kelvin Kight, Patriots safety Guss Scott and Jaguars defensive end Bobby McCray were fouryear teammates at the University of Florida from 2000-03. McCray also played at Florida with Patriots wide receivers Jabar Gaffney (2000-01), Reche Caldwell (2000-01) and Chad Jackson (2003).
  • Jaguars cornerback Dee Webb, Patriots safety Guss Scott (2003) and Patriots wide receivers Kelvin Kight (2003) and Chad Jackson (2003-05) played together at the University of Florida.
  • Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin and Jaguars cornerback Terry Cousin were teammates with the Chicago Bears in 1999.
  • From 1997-2002, Patriots running back Corey Dillon played for the Cincinnati Bengals while Jaguars quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson and linebackers coach Mark Duffner were on the Bengals coaching staff.
  • Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin and Jaguars defensive end Paul Spicer competed against each other in high school in Indianapolis, Ind.
  • The Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21, in Super Bowl XXXIX at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., on Feb. 6, 2005.

DIGGING DEEP - OFFENSE

78.9 %
The Patriots' NFL-leading fourth-down conversion rate this season. They have been successful on 15-of-19 fourth-down tries.

31
The number of goal-to-go situations the Patriots offense has been in this season. The mark is the third highest in the NFL (Dallas 33, Indianapolis 32).

108.7
The Patriots' team passer rating inside the 30-yared line this season. The mark is the second highest in the NFL (San Diego, 117.1).

60.4
The percentage of the time the Patriots have scored a touchdown when they have entered the red zone this season. The mark is the fourth best in the NFL (San Diego 69.0, Indianapolis 66.1, Dallas 62.7).

74.2
The percentage of the time the Patriots have scored a touchdown while in a goal-to-go situation. They rank fourth in the NFL (San Diego 89.7, Denver 76.2, Indianapolis 75.0).

79.2
The percentage of the time that the Patriots have converted on third-and-one or fourth-and-one. The mark ranks third in the NFL (Cincinnati 88.2, San Diego 85.7).

27.1
The Patriots' NFL-leading kickoff return average this season. Primary returner Laurence Maroney is tied for the league lead with an average of 28.7 yards per return.

DIGGING DEEP - DEFENSE

17
The number of touchdowns allowed by the Patriots defense this season. It is the lowest total in the NFL.

51.0
Patriots opponents' passer rating inside the 30-yard line this season. The mark is the lowest in the NFL.

26.7
The percentage that Patriots opponents have scored a touchdown when driving inside of the 30-yard line this season. The mark is the second lowest in the NFL (Baltimore, 26.1).

2
The number of rushes of 20 yards or longer allowed by the Patriots this season. The mark is the best in the NFL.

0
The number of quick-strike scoring drives (four plays or less) that the Patriots defense has allowed this season. The Patriots are the only team in the NFL to have not allowed any such drives this season.

16
The total number of points that the Patriots have allowed in the final two minutes of either the first or second half this season. The total is the best in the NFL.

34.6
The percentage of opponents rushes that have gone for four yards or longer. The mark is the second best in the NFL.

RED ZONE SUCCESS

3.52
The average number of yards per play gained by the Patriots when they are in the red zone. The mark is second in the NFL (San Diego, 3.65)

1.94The average number of yards per play allowed by the Patriots in the red zone. The mark is the best in the NFL.

STINGY DEFENSE

13.8
The average number of points per game the Patriots have allowed in 2006.

2
The Patriots' NFL rank in points allowed per game. Only Baltimore (13.4) ranks higher.

14.9
The Patriots team record for fewest points allowed per game in a full season, achieved in 2004.

17.45
The average number of points per game the Patriots have allowed since 2001, a mark that ranks second in the NFL over that span, trailing only Tampa Bay (17.47).

15.75
The average number of points per game that the Patriots have allowed at Gillette Stadium since it opened in 2002. The mark represents the fewest points per game allowed at home over that span.

13
The number of times Bill Belichick's defenses have finished in the NFL's top 10 in fewest points allowed since he was first named a defensive coordinator in 1985.

THE KRAFT ERA

140The number of regular-season and playoff victories the Patriots have earned since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is tied for the highest total in the NFL over that span.

4
The number of times the Patriots have appeared in the Super Bowl since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994. No other team has made more than two Super Bowl appearances in that span.

140-84
The Patriots' overall record since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994 (including postseason), a .625 winning percentage. The figure ranks second in the NFL over that span.

79-33The Patriots' record at home since 1994, including regularseason and postseason games, a winning percentage of .705.

35-9
The Patriots' record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season and postseason games (.795 win pct).

6
The number of AFC East titles the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994.

6
The number of consecutive seasons in which the Patriots have won nine or more games, a mark that represents the longest current streak in the NFL.

THE HEAD COACH

32
The number of years Bill Belichick has been an NFL coach, making him the longest tenured among the 32 head coaches.

7The number of head coaches in the NFL or college who were assistant coaches under Belichick (Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Nick Saban, Charlie Weis, Kirk Ferentz, Pat Hill and Al Groh).

43-2Belichick's record in New England when the Patriots score 25 points or more.

64-5
Belichick's record in New England when the Patriots score 21 points or more.

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