It’s Patriots vs Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game. Probably not something you expected to eventually read before the season started. Incredibly, the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn’t take care of business in the AFC Divisional Playoff against Jacksonville. So instead of a Patriots-Steelers rematch, Tom Coughlin’s Jaguars will come to Foxboro.
The Jaguars upset the favored Steelers by a 45-42 score in a game that wasn’t quite as close as the final score indicated. Jacksonville went up 21-0 and later 28-7 in the first half and it ultimately proved too big of a deficit for the Steelers to overcome.
There’s plenty from that game to dissect, especially in terms of the Steelers’ many mistakes in terms of play-calling and situational awareness. But for the Patriots, it’s time to look ahead to Sunday’s AFC Championship matchup with the Jaguars.
And, especially on defense, this is a Jaguars team that should be taken seriously.
Patriots vs Jaguars: By The Numbers
— The Patriots are 7-0 all-time against the Jaguars in the regular season, and 3-1 in the playoffs.
— As you can see, the Pats and Jags actually have something of a history in the playoffs. And they did play in the AFC Championship Game one time, in the 1996 season. Bill Parcells, Drew Bledsoe, and the Patriots beat the Jaguars 20-6 to advance to Super Bowl XXXI.
— As for the 2017 Jaguars, their defense is no joke. They finished the regular season second in the NFL in total yards allowed (4,578) and points allowed per game (16.8).
— Their pass defense was the best in the league in the regular season, finishing first in passing yards allowed (2,718) and opposing passer rating (68.5). They let up just 17 passing touchdowns all season.
— Tom Brady’s career numbers in five games against the Jaguars: 130-for-182 (71.4 percent), 1369 yards, 11 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 108.5 passer rating. And of course, the Pats are 5-0.
— The Jaguars defense earned five All-Pro distinctions – between four players. That’s because Calais Campbell made both the first team as an edge rusher and the second team as an interior lineman. Cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye made the first and second teams, respectively. And linebacker Telvin Smith made the second team.
Patriots vs Jaguars: The Week Ahead
There’s plenty to look at with this matchup, especially as it pertains to Brady and the Patriots offense against the Jaguars defense. In the coming days on 985thesportshub.com, you can expect to see:
— A brief history of Patriots-Jaguars in the playoffs
— The Bill Belichick vs. Doug Marrone coaching matchup
— How the Pats could possibly exploit the Jags defense
— Tom Coughlin’s influence as Jacksonville’s executive vice president of football operations
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.