Patriots-Jaguars: Defenses Will Rule Day in AFC Title Game Rematch

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 6:56 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2018 6:56 PM UTC

Arguably the marquee matchup of Week 2 in the NFL is an AFC title game rematch between the Patriots and Jaguars, but this time from Jacksonville.

Matt’s 2018 Individual Game Record: 1-1 ATS

New England (1-0, 1-0 ATS) at Jacksonville (1-0, 1-0 ATS)Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)Free NFL Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: JustBet

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When’s the last time someone wrote “marquee matchup” of any week and it involved the Jacksonville Jaguars? Times are a changing in the NFL! The Jaguars play their biggest home game of the season already in Week 2 as they host the New England Patriots in a rematch of last season’s AFC title game.

Few gave Jacksonville a chance to win in Foxboro (ditto in Pittsburgh in the Divisional Round) on Jan. 21 as New England was a 7.5-point favorite. The Jaguars played really well, though, and took a 20-10 lead early in the fourth quarter on Josh Lambo’s 43-yard field goal. Alas, Tom Brady then started doing Tom Brady things, hitting Danny Amendola on a 9-yard TD pass with 8:44 to go and then Amendola again from 4 yards out with 2:28 left. On the ensuing possession, Blake Bortles could only get the Jaguars to the New England 43 and that was that.

Brady finished with 290 yards passing and those two scores. New England’s top two receivers that day, Brandin Cooks and Amendola, are now with the Rams and Dolphins, respectively. Bortles was solid, completing 23 of 36 for 293 yards and a score. Leonard Fournette rushed 24 times for 76 yards and a score. Two of the Jags’ top receivers in that one were Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee. Hurns is now in Dallas and Lee already lost for this season.

The Patriots are 9-1 SU in the past 10 meetings including playoffs and 6-4 ATS. Jacksonville’s lone win was Jan. 3, 1999 in a home wild-card game.

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#Jaguars DE Dante Fowler believes the AFC Championship Game against the #Patriots was his 'come out' moment

— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) September 11, 2018

Fournette In Question

Will the Jaguars have Fournette vs. New England? He’s the clear key to that offense but left this past Sunday’s 20-15 win at the Giants with a hamstring injury. The guy is a stud, but he sure seems injury prone dating to his LSU days. Fournette thinks he’ll play, but you can’t rush hamstring injuries or they’ll get worse. If he can’t go. T.J. Yeldon (who will be a popular fantasy pickup this week) would be the primary back. The Jacksonville offense really struggled against the Giants after Fournette left.

Jacksonville’s excellent defense will get a boost here as end Dante Fowler missed Week 1 due to a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The former No. 3 overall pick in 2015 has been a disappointing overall but did have eight sacks last year.

New England did Jacksonville a favor (Jags were only AFC South team to win Week 1) by beating visiting Houston 27-20 on Sunday. Brady threw for 277 yards and three scores. He became the third quarterback in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in a season-opening game at the age of 41 or older.

Rob Gronkowski caught seven balls for 123 yards and a touchdown. I’ll be fascinated to see if the Jaguars stick All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey on Gronk at times despite the size difference because he’s so clearly Brady’s top target with Julian Edelman suspended the first four games. Phillip Dorsett stepped up in his place with seven catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. Dorsett was the 69th different player to catch a touchdown pass from Brady. That’s one shy of an NFL record held by Vinny Testaverde.

  • Under is 11-5 in Patriots last 16 games overall.
  • Under is 9-2 in Jaguars last 11 vs. AFC.
  • Under is 3-1-1 in the last 5 meetings.

The Patriots’ defense was terrific against the Texans with 12 quarterback hits and three sacks. That group forced two turnovers. With or without Fournette, the Jags are going to have to win this with defense. I don’t feel super confident on a side choice until knowing if Fournette will play but do like the ‘under’ regardless for an NFL pick. Just not sure Brady has enough weapons against the NFL’s top pass defense.

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