Jacksonville Jaguars 0-0 (0-0 ATS) at New England Patriots 0-0 (0-0 ATS)
When and Where; Thursday, August 10 7:30pm, Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass. 7:30pm EDT
Spread: New England -4.5
In Jacksonville’s second year of existence, they managed to eek their way into the playoffs due to a missed field goal in the final week of the season, then upset two teams on the road, including what might have been John Elway’s best Bronco’s team ever, before making the AFC Championship Game. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, they ran into a New England squad destined to go lose to the Brett Favre in the Super Bowl, and fell 20-6 on the road. Since then, the Patriots have continued their dominance over the Jaguars, winning 10-11 matchups, with the only defeat coming in 1999, while the Jags were on their way to their second (and last) AFC Championship appearance.
Jaguars Just Trying to Get Better
Jacksonville enters the year hoping to avoid their 10th consecutive year of missing the playoffs. The team has won just 15 games the last four years, which would make for an amazing single season, just not anything to write home to Mom about over a four-year span. Doug Marrone is the new man at the helm, having coached out the last two game a season ago as the interim coach. Whether or not he can get Bortles and the Jags offense going remains to be seen.
Blake Bortles has been a serious disappointment The UCF alum has had some bright spots, but the reality is that most of the good numbers he puts up come late in in the second half after the affair has been well decided. Somehow Chad Henne is still in the league, but I guess it makes more sense when you realize he’s on the Jaguars. Somebody named Brandon Allen is the third stringer so maybe we will see him on Thursday night.
New England Knows how to do It
Tom Brady celebrated a birthday in this past week. Everybody’s All-American has turned 40. While this may be a cause for concern from some people, they should refer back to last year’s Super Bowl where the then 39-year-old Brady sliced and diced the Atlanta Falcons in the last quarter-and-a-half to bring his squad back from the jaws of defeat to the thrill of victory.
Garoppolo is a capable backup, although he struggled recently in training camp. Regardless, the squad has been the franchise that every other NFL team has look to emulate for the last 20 or so years. Martellus Bennett should miss the game with a knee issue, as well as linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Another name of note, Chris Hogan also has a knee issue. Of course, most people did not even know that Hogan existed prior to last year’s playoffs, but such is the Patriot’s offense.
New England is:
- 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games on field turf
- 18-6-2 ATS in their last 26 home games
- 18-7-2 ATS in their last 27 vs. AFC
- 34-16-2 ATS in their last 52 games overall
Often when you take a team from the South, such as Jacksonville, and send them North, they will falter in the weather. This is not the case here, as we are still in August and the cool breeze in Massachusetts should be a nice reprieve for the Jaguars, who have been practicing in the Florida heat. That being said, the weather is not the issue here. The issues is that these two franchises could not be more different. The Patriots are not just perennial Super Bowl contenders (or winners, like last year), while the Jaguars are basically the joke of the league year in and year out these days. Granted, it is preseason, but even the second string Pats should dominate the second string Jags. This is a five-star play in my opinion.