Jacksonville Jaguars (12-6) at New England Patriots (14-3)
|Date & Time||Sunday January 21, 2018, 3:05 PM (EST)|
The Line: New England Patriots -9.5 -- Over/Under: 46.5
The Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots meet Sunday in the NFL AFC Championship at Gillette Stadium.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off an upset victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers and have a chance to advance to their first super bowl in franchise history. The Jacksonville Jaguars have split their last eight road games. Blake Bortles is completing 60.2 percent of his passes for 3,687 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Bortles has one or less touchdown passes in 10 of his last 14 games. Keelan Cole and Marqise Lee have combined for 1,450 receiving yards and six touchdowns while Allen Hurns has 39 receptions. The Jacksonville Jaguars ground game is averaging 141.4 yards per contest, and Leonard Fournette leads the way with 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns. Defensively, Jacksonville is allowing 16.8 points and 286.1 yards per game. Telvin Smith leads the Jacksonville Jaguars with 102 tackles, Calais Campbell has 14.5 sacks and A.J. Bouye has six interceptions.
The New England Patriots are coming off a blowout victory over the Tennessee Titans and can reach their third super bowl in the last four years. The New England Patriots have won each of their last six home games. Tom Brady is completing 66.3 percent of his passes for 4,577 yards, 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Brady has seven combined touchdown passes in his last three games. Rob Gronkowski and Brandin Cooks have combined for 2,166 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns while Danny Amendola has 61 receptions. The New England Patriots ground game is averaging 118.1 yards per contest, and Dion Lewis leads the way with 896 yards and six touchdowns. Defensively, New England is allowing 18.5 points and 366 yards per game. Devin McCourty leads the New England Patriots with 97 tackles, Trey Flowers has 6.5 sacks and Duron Harmon has four interceptions.
The Jaguars are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 vs. AFC, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 playoff road games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on fieldturf. The Patriots are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 playoff games, 36-15-2 ATS in their last 53 home games and 36-15-2 ATS in their last 53 games overall. The Jaguars are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 meetings in New England, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 meetings and the home team is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 meetings.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are 1-10 SU against the New England Patriots in franchise history, and many aren't giving them a chance to win this game. However, I think the Jags have earned some respect heading into this game, as they beat up the Pittsburgh Steelers for a second time on the road and the score wasn't a great indication of how that game went, as you never felt the Steelers had a shot once Jacksonville threw its first punch. Bortles has been respectable in these playoffs, as he's taking care of the football and making just enough throws to give the Jaguars offense life. But that Jacksonville defense is what gives it a punchers chance in this game, as the three teams that beat the Pats this season were able to rush Brady, force mistakes and prevent the offense from getting in a groove. The Jags can do that and then some, keeping Brady on his toes and making him uncomfortable. If Jacksonville can keep the Steelers offense in check twice and force miracle touchdown catches, I'm sure they can give a Pats offense that doesn't have nearly the same explosive weapons an issue. Nothing came easy for the most talented offense in the league, and New England's offense is so key on one tight end to make everything work. It's never easy to stop or even slowdown Brady, but it has to be easier than what Jacksonville just faced. I like the value of the points here.