It all comes down to two teams. The Jacksonville Jaguars were a team no one expected to even make the playoffs before the season. Well, they surely made it further than anyone expected by making the playoffs. Then, in a surprise to some, they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh. To say that they are playing the underdog role well is an understatement. The New England Patriots, on the other hand, has been expected to make it to the Super Bowl all season long. In typical New England fashion, they have come out and handled the competition like they are an underdog themselves trying to gain respect. They beat down the Tennessee Titans at home in order to take one more step towards their Super Bowl mission. Only one team stands in their way now in the Jacksonville Jaguars. Will New England take that next step forward or will the Jaguars take it to even another level by beating the Patriots at home? We shall find out Sunday but there are three things that you have to look for in regards to a New England or Jacksonville win in a special edition of the Pick Six.
1) Sackvonville Goes To The Northeast
All season long, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been known for sacking the quarterback, totaling 55 sacks on the season, which was good for second in the NFL. They are not the top team in the postseason in sacking the quarterback, but we all know they can bring the heat. The best way to get to Tom Brady and throw the Patriots offense out of rhythm is to get pressure on Brady and move him off his spots. If Calais Campbell and crew can get to Brady, put some hits on him and take him to the ground a few times, that could be disastrous for the Patriots and could bring a huge smile to the faces of the Jacksonville defenders.
2) Playoff Bortles
During the regular season, people were not very sure about Blake Bortles and what he would be able to do with their offense. He had some games where he was bad and others where he looked like a competent quarterback while Jacksonville was making their playoff run. In the playoffs, Bortles has actually been solid. He has yet to turn the football over. And although he has only thrown for two touchdowns in the postseason, he has used his legs masterfully to run for first downs and keep Jacksonville on schedule offensively for the most part. Against New England, the Jags need this version of Bortles to show up yet again. If Playoff Bortles shows up, the chances for the Jaguars to go to the Super Bowl increase.
3) Swag On 100
The Jacksonville Jaguars not only play a physical brand of football, but they carry themselves a certain type of way. Watch how they play and fly around the field, all the while telling the opponent what they are going to do and getting under their skin. With the Patriots, they may not get the type of responses they would usually get against other teams, but they have to continue to play with that swagger and confidence. The more they display that type of borderline arrogance, the better the Jags will play. It’s almost as if they feed off the trash talk. They must be like sharks when blood is in the water in this one.
New England Patriots
1) Dink And Dunk And The Small Ones
No, this is not the name of a band or anything like that, but it is the way the Patriots play the game. Running backs James White and Dion Lewis can hurt a team catching passes out of the backfield. Jacksonville got taken advantage of at times by Le’Veon Bell last week, so this combination of Lewis and White could harm them a lot. Along with the Patriots backfield duo, the smallish wide receiver tandem of Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola could cause a few headaches for the Jacksonville secondary because of the crossing patterns and the pick plays the Patriots run. If these two parts of the Patriots offense are clicking, then the Jags could have some problems.
2) Pressure Busts Pipes
The Patriots were not really known for pressuring the quarterback all season long. Well against the Tennessee Titans, the Patriots fooled us all and were bringing pressure from any and all angles. Against the Jaguars, the Patriots need to take whatever they found against Tennessee and bring it to this game. If they are able to bring the pressure, they just might get Blake Bortles to revert back to the guy that people were very unsure about going into the playoffs. The Jags would be in serious trouble if that happened.
3) Plug The Holes
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team that loves to run the football. That is what gets their offense going and takes some pressure off Blake Bortles. Well, the New England linebackers have a challenge ahead of them and that is to be more physical than the Jaguars offensive line and meet Leonard Fournette in the whole. The more the Patriots are able to limit Fournette, the more they will increase their chances to win the game. Fournette is not an easy guy to stop, but if you can slow him down, then New England gets in more advantageous down and distances for them to display all their defensive schemes.
The underdog versus the king of the mountain. The underdog Jags have enough swagger to come into Foxboro and win, but will the Patriots be able to hold serve? We shall see if these young Jags can shine in the biggest spotlight they have had to date or if they shrink under the pressure of the big moment.
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