AFC Championship Game Prediction: Patriots or Jaguars?


Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Blake Bortles met after this 2015 matchup and they'll meet again Sunday in the AFC Championship game.

Defending champions the Patriots rolled past the Tennessee Titans last week, earning a spot in the AFC championship round, but their next opponent is a bit of a surprise. Bringing New England five Super Bowls in seven appearances; both will go down as the best to ever do it, in their respective roles. The Jaguars beat the Buffalo Bills at home, and then went on the road at the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On Sunday, the Jaguars eliminated the Pittsburgh Steelers 45-42. Jacksonville owned the second-ranked defense, which gave up less than 287 yards of total offense and less than 17 points per game. "They are a very, very competitive defense - fast, tough, physical and like I said, competitive". The Patriots have won the 10 games over that stretch by an average margin of 15.7 points per game.

Should Brady try to avoid both the secondary and the pass-rush by feeding his running backs, he will find that Jacksonville's defensive line was dramatically revamped by a trade for Marcell Dareus leading up to Week 9. In two games, he's thrown for just 301 yards on 53% completion. When it was inferred yesterday to Jaguars coach Doug Marrone that Gronkowski is a "matchup nightmare for anybody" when he was asked about the tight end, he had to agree. New England won the divisional title by 4 games over the Buffalo Bills.

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He captured his 26th postseason victory, recorded his 13th 300-yard postseason passing game - extending his National Football League record for both - and also broke a tie with Joe Montana to become the all-time leader with 10 three-TD playoff games. The quicker the Patriots can get ahead in the score, the more the Jaguars will have to lean away from the run game and force the game into Bortles' hands.

Coming into the playoffs, nearly everyone assumed it would be the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Patriots meeting up for the right to be the representative for the AFC in the Super Bowl. The Central Florida product finished with 21 touchdown passes. But, the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to compete in this game, and make things interesting. "He's going to make his plays and you hope those plays don't end up killing you".

Brady appeared on the Patriots' weekly injury report several times during the latter half of the regular season with an Achilles tendon and left shoulder injury. It's in stark contrast to how Jags cornerback Jalen Ramsey provided bulletin board material for the Pats when after beating the Steelers he all but guaranteed the team was not only going to upend the Patriots, they were going to win the Super Bowl. They've handled the situations that have come up in those games very well - fourth-and-one in the first quarter, things like that.