The Jaguars are on the smooth train to Minnesota and there’s only one stop left but will this be their last? Jacksonville faces the one and only Tom Brady and the Patriots tomorrow to decide who will be advancing to Super Bowl LII. This game is huge for the Jaguars. Will they be able to take down a very experienced play-off team like the Patriots, or will they acquire the golden ticket to Minneapolis?
Taking out the Patriots Conductor
Tom Brady recently suffered an injury that required him to get stitches in his right hand. There is a high chance that Brady has to wear a glove on his throwing hand in tomorrow’s game. This is an interesting fact to acknowledge because earlier in the season he had mentioned that he does not like wearing a glove because he feels that it hinders his performance. This could be a huge advantage to Jacksonville and might lean the game more in their favor.
Another key thing the Jaguars need to enforce tomorrow is pressure. Tom Brady has been known to get frustrated after being sacked or hit multiple times in a game. They need to bring the pressure to Foxborough tomorrow if they want to advanced to the next stop. If they can constantly provide pressure, as they have been doing all year, then it will force Brady to get rid of the ball faster and hinder his throwing, especially with a bad hand. This could lead to more chances for interceptions or pass deflections.
“He hasn’t played a corner like me before” Jalen Ramsey said when reporters asked about him covering Gronk in the AFC Championship game this weekend.
The Jaguars allowed an average of 6.6 targets and 4.1 receptions to opposing tight ends throughout the first 17 weeks of the regular season. Gronk finished the season with 69 catches, averaging 4.31 catches a game. With those catches he averages a massive 15.7 yards per catch.
So, what kind of player do you trust to put the brakes on Gronk’s train? That player, if you’re the Jaguars, is none other than Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey has been one of the best corners in the league this year, earning his first pro bowl. According to Pro-Football Focus, Ramsey has a 54.3 passer rating when targeted this season. That was the seventh best in the league this year. A.J. Boyue was first overall with a 26.0 passer rating allowed when targeted.
Gassing Up the Train
Last week the Jaguars offense was firing on all cylinders. The offense combined for 387 yards and 5 touchdowns. The running game was established early, allowing Leonard Fournette to have 25 carries for 109 yards and 3 touchdowns. The running game helped take the pressure off of Blake Bortles, who managed 214 yards and a touchdown. The Jaguars did get a little too confident too early, which resulted in the Steelers revival. They cannot burn out all their gas too early, or else Foxborough will be their last stop. The Jaguars need to play conservative football throughout the whole game. Allowing Fournette and T.J. Yeldon to run the ball with ease and give Bortles the confidence to throw downfield and not let the pressure get into his head.
One-Way Ticket to Bowl Town
Overall, this will be a hard game for both teams. The Jaguars have the best defense in the league and the Patriots have the best quarterback, even if he does have a minor injury. Both teams will rely heavily on their biggest weapons to win them the game and move on to Minnesota for the biggest game of the year. Jacksonville has their eyes on the golden ticket, and I believe if they continue to play like they have been, it’s going be a smooth ride.