In the Game of the Week in the NFL, the New England Patriots travel to Florida for a clash with the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s a rematch of the AFC Championship, a game that the Patriots narrowly won by a score of 24-20. It could have gone either way, but Tom Brady was Tom Brady and he hooked up with Danny Amendola in the back of the end zone to give the Pats a ticket to the Super Bowl.
As you know, the Patriots ultimately went and lost against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots opened the year with a 27-20 win over the Texans in Week 1. It was a prototypical win for the Pats. They took away the Texans’ most coveted weapon, DeAndre Hopkins, and limited Watson to just 176 yards with a touchdowns and interception.
Bill Belichick is a master at taking away the opposing team’s best player. Hopkins was targeted 11 times and finished with 78 yards. The Patriots may not have to worry about the Jaguars’ top offensive weapon, Leonard Fournette. He is currently listed as questionable to play on Sunday and it’s leaning towards no at the moment.
Riley McCarron, the Patriots’ punt returner against the Texans, made it interesting after he muffed a return late. The Texans quickly took advantage of the mistake to pull within 7 points. It wasn’t enough for Houston to complete the comeback, but it was enough for McCarron to get cut by Belichick. On a team with limited depth at the wide receiver position, McCarron thought he could stick around but that was the end of the line.
Don’t make basic mistakes with Belichick if you’re a fringe player. The Pats signed Corey Coleman, but this is a complicated offense, so I wouldn’t expect much from him against the Jags. Julian Edelman will return in Week 5 after serving his suspension. In the meantime, Brady is making it work with a thin receiving core. It would be awfully nice to have Edelman against the Jags on Sunday. Get our free Patriots vs. Jaguars pick for Sunday afternoon below.
New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Week 2 Betting Odds:
vs. Jaguars +0.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Patriots vs. Jaguars Pick:
The Patriots had to fight hard for every yard and point they got on the Jags in the playoffs. Tom Brady made it work, but the Jaguars made him work for it. The Pats had just 10 points after 3 quarters. It wasn’t until Brady connected with Amendola twice to put the Pats in the lead. Amendola would have been nice to have as well, but he was too expensive to resign. With that said, Gronkowski and Chris Hogan are his only reliable options.
Yes, Phillip Dorsett can have a decent year, but he likely isn’t going to scare the Jaguars’ defense. The Jags finished 2nd in 2017 with 286.1 yards allowed and 16.8 points per game. They were 1st in the league at defending the pass by a long shot. The Jaguars allowed 169.9 yards per game through the air, while the 2nd place Minnesota Vikings gave up 192.4 yards per game.
The Jaguars held the Patriots’ running game to just 49 yards on the ground. Dion Lewis led the team with 24 yards, his longest an 18-yard scamper. The Patriots are down a running back after Jeremy Hill went down in Week 1. He’s out for the year, so others will have to pick up the extra work. Rookie Sony Michel has been battling a knee injury, but he’s trying to get back on the field for Week 2 in Jacksonville.
He’d have a heck of a challenge against the Jaguars. James White will see an increased workload with Hill gone. The Jaguar defense should be able to exert their will on a bad New England offensive line. I don’t think it really matters who is running the ball, the Jaguars are likely going to shut it down. The offensive line is the one trouble spot for the Patriots in 2018. Wide receiver is one thing, but Brady needs a line to go against these really good defenses.
As mentioned earlier, the Jaguars are expected to go into this matchup without Fournette in the backfield. The Jags will give former Alabama product, T.J. Yeldon, some more work without Fournette carrying the rock. The Jags also lost wide receiver Marqise Lee in a preseason game, so that’s another weapon on the shelf. Blake Bortles will have to rely on Dede Westbrook to come up big in the passing game.
The other options at receiver are Keelan Cole and Donte Moncrief. Belichick should be able to draw up a plan to shut this wobbly offense down. The Jags will have to rely on their top-flight defense to win this game. They came up a play short of doing that in the AFC Championship. This game could go either way, I’m not one to doubt Tom Brady, though. He is going to have issues against the Jacksonville defense without targets like Amendola and Edelman this time around. The best play looks like it is on the UNDER in Jacksonville.