AFC Championship Game Preview: Jaguars at Patriots
On Sunday afternoon and for the seventh consecutive year, the New England Patriots will be playing in the AFC Conference Championship game.
The defending Super Bowl champs will look to add to their trophy case and all that is standing in their way is the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars. A team that upset the Pittsburgh Steelers 45-42 last Sunday in front of a stunned crowd at Heinz Field will now try to do it again.
#Patriots and Jaguars to meet in their second AFC Championship matchup Sunday.#JAXvsNE game preview: https://t.co/RoRoDZcYaA pic.twitter.com/uUfXsY4kKQ
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 18, 2018
On paper, the Jaguars are road kill because NOBODY wins in Foxborough in January. The last team to pull it off was the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 in what was a playoff run by a so-called team of destiny but that was a veteran squad in the last season for all-time great Ray Lewis who is a slam dunk first ballot future Hall of Famer.
Are the Jaguars a team of destiny too?
The offensive explosion against the Steelers seems to be more of a fluke than anything else or according to some, the result of overconfidence by a poorly coached Pittsburgh team. After all, the Jags struggled to beat the Buffalo Bills at home in the opening round 10-7.
What Jacksonville does have is a cocky, trash-talking defense that is capable of giving even the Patriots dynasty fits as the end draws near on 40-year-old Tom Brady’s legendary career. It is a defense that has absolutely nothing to lose and if they can spring the upset, it would be among the greatest in the history of the NFL if not in the annals of sports.
When they have the ball, they are led by the erratic quarterback Blake Bortles and former LSU mini-tank Leonard Fournette at running back. It is not a team built for winning shootouts against a powerhouse like the Patriots and the odds are not in the Jags favor that they can even keep this thing close let alone shock the world.
The big story this week has been Tom Brady’s allegedly injured hand but it’s hard to know whether to believe the Patriots who have a well-documented history of deception or if the indestructible Brady is really hurt.
Update: Tom Brady will start Sunday's AFC Championship Game, sources tell @diannaESPN.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 21, 2018
Chances are that it doesn’t matter. Brady is indestructible as well as the greatest quarterback of all time and even if he did get a boo-boo on his hand, there is no way in hell that you are going to keep this warrior off the field.
Where Brady really has the advantage is inside his head and having the unstoppable force Rob Gronkowski doesn’t hurt either. If the injury is not a Machiavellian ploy by head coach Bill Belichick to deceive the young Jaguars defense then they may regret giving away promising backup Jimmy Garoppolo for chump change.
The scoop: New England easily beats the inexperienced Jaguars and advances to the Super Bowl. If the Jags can somehow pull it off, this humble author will be far from the only one scraping his jaw off of the floor.
The game is at 3:05 pm ET on Sunday.