Who's tougher, those feisty Jags or the Patriots? That seems to be one of the key questions leading up to Saturday night's slug fest at the Razor. It's the question on everyones lips. Wherever you look you can't get away from comments and notes on the Jaguar's 'toughness'.
''The Jaguars are known for their physical play''
''Physicality continues to be a hot topic. The Jaguars have the reputation of being a physical team with a grind-it-out running game''
Tackling this grey area ahead of the game first, one has to ask, when did the Patriots become a finesse team? Seriously? I guess I missed the memo. Everyone is tripping over themselves to write about how big and bad these Jaguars are, how 'tough' they are on both sides of the ball. Apparently the tough, hard fought games the Patriots played against The Eagles, Ravens and Giants meant nothing! The New England Patriots veteran lineup is full of 'tough' characters. You think, deep down, the Jaguars really want anything at all to do with Big Richard Seymor, Vince Wilfork, Rodney Harrison, Junior Seau, or Tedy Bruschi?
As a life-long Patriots fan I am absolutely looking forward to the image of the feisty Jaguars strutting out onto the field at the Razor believing the hype that they are the tougher of the two sides, only to be absolutely flattened by the proud, hard nosed Patriots veterans.
Here's the thing. The Patriots can do both. They can play 'finesse' football, or they can punch you in the mouth. The Jaguars? They have to hope they get a lead and cling on to it. If the Patriots build an early lead, this one could get ugly in a hurry.
Now, don't get me wrong, the Jaguars have quietly become one of the superior teams in the AFC, and they are certainly a gritty bunch of characters. The issue at hand is, why has the media been slamming this notion into our heads that the Jaguars are going to waltz into the Razor and start knocking Patriots players around left right and centre? It just isn't going to happen.
In fact, several factors point clearly towards a Patriots win on Saturday.
Home field advantage. When was the last time Tom Brady lost a playoff game at home? Answer? Never. Never ever.
On a finer level, in terms of head to head battles, there is no glaring disparity greater than at the most vital position on the field, the Quarterback. That's the issue of David Garrard vs. Brady and playoff experience. Not even close basically. Not even in the same ballpark? Not even on the same planet.
Head to head play. The Pats have owned the Jags over the years, going 6-1 overall. That's comprehensive.
The actual physical team v team matchup doesn't offer much hope to the Jaguars either. Statistically the Jags can't stop the pass, and quite recently Mr Tom Brady set a league record for touchdowns passing. If Ben Roethlisberger can absolutely shred the Jaguars for over 330 yards, what exactly is Brady and his band of merry receivers going to do?!
Brady is obviously an enormous part of this equation. Recently ESPN listed Brady as having had the fifth greatest individual seasons in sports history.
That's the bottom line. The team that has the QB that had possibly the fifth greatest individual seasons in sports history is at home on Saturday night against an inexperienced team that can't stop the pass.
Were you one of those excited Jaguars cheerleaders before reading this, and are you having second thoughts now? Hey, it's going to be a great game. However, if you are that way inclined, how can you not be betting on the Patriots?
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