The rematch of the last season’s AFC Championship Game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots is certainly one of the most intriguing games of the Week 2, as the clash is set for this Sunday, September 16th, at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. The bettors can expect the spectacular game, while the bookmakers favor the Patriots at -120 to grab a victory.
Can the New England Patriots Satisfy the Odds?
The New England Patriots didn’t impress last weekend in the opening game of the season in front of the home audience, but they still managed to beat the Houston Texans 27-20 to start the campaign on a right foot. The Patriots lost the second half 14-6, backing of the Texans in the last couple of minutes of the game to seal the victory. New England converted just four out of 14 3rd down attempts, but they managed to score three out of four attempts from the red zone.
Tom Brady had a good game against Houston, throwing for 277 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception while completing 26 out of his 39 passes. He has been sacked two times for 10 yards, but the Patriots’ offensive line did a solid job protecting Brady. The RB Rex Burkhead was impressive, carrying the ball 18 times for 64 yards and making some important moves for the Patriots. Rob Gronkowski led his teammates with seven receptions for 123 yards and a TD, whilst James White and Phillip Dorsett both added a touchdown each.
The Patriots’ defense did a solid job to allow 325 yards to their opponents, 167 of them with rushing, while New England’s secondary showed signs of improvement in regards to the previous season. They defended six passes and forced one interception, while Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise contributed for three sacks, torturing Deshaun Watson for the most of the game.
The Jaguars Are Ready for the Payoff
The Jacksonville Jaguars started the 2018 NFL season with a 20-15 victory over the New York Giants on the road, thanks in a large part to the excellent display in the first half. The Jaguars scored just seven points after the halftime, and it was Myles Jack’s interception return for a TD. They were in the red zone only twice, managing to score on one occasion, but they also allowed two visits to the red zone to their opponents.
Blake Bortles put on a questionable performance, throwing for 176 yards, one touchdown, and one interception while completing 18 out of his 33 passes. Bortles also carried the ball four times for 42 yards. The Jaguars first running option Leonard Fournette suffered the hamstring injury to miss the second half and his still questionable for the clash against the Patriots. T.J. Yeldon will replace him if it’s needed, but Yeldon averaged only 2.6 yards per carrying in the second half against the Giants. Dede Westbrook led the receiving corps with five catches for 51 yards, while Keenan Cole had three receptions for 54 yards.
The Jaguars’ defense is still the stronger part of the team, and they showed some of their abilities in the opening week. Calais Campbell and Lerentee McCray both recorded one sack apiece, while the Jaguars had 42 tackles and 21 assists on tackles. They will have to play on the same level against the Patriots if the Jaguars want to upset one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.
New England Patriots:
• 14-3-0 ATS in the last 17 games on the road
• 14-7-0 ATS in the previous 21 games against AFC South rivals
• Six out of their last eight games against AFC opponents were ended in the under
• 7-3-0 ATS in the previous ten games against the team with a winning record
• 8-3-0 ATS in the last 11 outings against AFC opponents
• Won six games straight at home
The Jaguars were so close to upset Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the 2017 AFC Championship Game (24-20), so they are surely keen to get a payoff here. However, Leonard Fournette’s injury is a huge blow for Doug Marrone’s team, and if the starting running back miss the clash, the Jaguars will have a mountain to climb. Fournette’s rushing would cause plenty of problems to the Patriots’ defense, and without him, Blake Bortles will have to play on the highest level possible. It is expected to see the Patriots forcing Bortles to make plays, and their secondary seems ready for the challenge. On the other side, Tom Brady will need to play quickly and force short-passing plays if he wants to stay healthy against the Jaguars defense. Although Leonard Fournette’s appearance is doubtful, I hope he will be ready for the game, so I will go with the hosts here.
The Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars at +100
Considering the strength of both the Jaguars’ and the Patriots’ defense, the bettors should not expect a high-scoring affair. The chalk is set quite low, but I think we’ll see less than 40 points in this one.
The Pick: Under 43.0 at -110