Indianapolis Star
National Football League
Preview
Jacksonville at New England
When: 3:05 PM ET, Sunday, January 21, 2018
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

Not satisfied with a worst-to-first finish in their division, the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars look to continue their remarkable run when they visit the top-seeded New England Patriots for Sunday's AFC Championship Game. Jacksonville will have to solve the most successful coach-quarterback tandem in league history, although four-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady missed practice again Thursday with an injured right hand.

The Patriots are appearing in their seventh consecutive AFC Championship Game, but coach Bill Belichick dismissed the idea that the been-there-won-that factor gives his team a huge edge. "I don’t think experience has anything to do with that," Belichick, who has guided New England to seven Super Bowls - winning five - since 2001, told reporters. "It is what happens Sunday, not what happened last year, two years ago, five years ago, 15 years ago, 1996 or whatever it is. Those games don’t make any difference, with all due respect." The third-seeded Jaguars are brimming with confidence, with star cornerback Jalen Ramsey predicting a victory over the Patriots in the wake of last week's 45-42 win at No. 2 seed Pittsburgh. Coach Doug Marrone acknowledged that New England presents "a great challenge for us" and fully expects to see Brady, saying, “I’m sure he could probably throw left-handed if he has a problem with his right hand and throw just as well.”

TV: 3:05 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -7.5. O/U: 46.5

ABOUT THE JAGUARS (12-6): Jacksonville features the league's top-ranked rushing attack led by rookie Leonard Fournette, who ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns last week but also nicked an ankle that limited him in practice Wednesday and Thursday. Blake Bortles completed just 53.1 percent of his passes in the two playoff wins, but he has not committed a turnover after tossing five interceptions in the final two regular-season games. The Jaguars will try to slow the NFL's top offense with a defense that surrenders a league-low 169.9 yards passing while ranking second in sacks (55) and interceptions (21). Ramsey and cornerback A.J. Bouye combined for 10 picks while defensive ends Calais Campbell (14.5) and Yannick Ngakoue (12) accounted for nearly half of the team's sacks.

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (14-3): Brady owns the most postseason wins (26) in history and added to his playoff legacy last week, passing for more than 300 yards for the 13th time and surpassing Joe Montana with his 10th three-touchdown performance. Journeyman Brian Hoyer is the only quarterback on the roster besides Brady, who hasn't missed a game due to injury since 2008 and completed at least three passes to five different receivers in last week's 35-14 rout of Tennessee. Dion Lewis has rushed for at least 60 yards in seven of his last eight games and added a season-high nine catches last week while tight end Rob Gronkowski has 34 receptions and four touchdowns over his last four contests. New England is vulnerable to the run, ranking 20th at 114.8 yards allowed, but it permits only 18.5 points per game.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Brady can became the first QB in history with four straight playoff games of least 300 yards passing and multiple TDs.

2. Jacksonville led the NFL with seven defensive TDs during the regular season and added another score versus Pittsburgh.

3. The Patriots are 6-1 in AFC title games at home and have won 10 of their 11 all-time meetings with Jacksonville.

PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Jaguars 20
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Jacksonville 12-6 W2 26.2 17.4 7-2 5-4 10-5 0-0 - - 11-3
New England 14-3 W4 29.0 18.2 7-2 7-1 4-1 1-0 - - 11-2
Last Meeting
Jacksonville New England
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
8/10/17 JAC 31 NE 24 447 207 240 426 116 310
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Jacksonville B. Albert 0.0 0 0 0
New England D. Allen 0.0 0 0 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Jacksonville B. Albert 0 0 0.0 0
New England D. Allen 0 0 0.0 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Jacksonville B. Albert 0 0 0.0 0
New England D. Allen 0 0 0.0 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Jacksonville B. Albert 0
New England D. Allen 0
Season (Regular Season and Playoffs)
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Jacksonville B. Bortles 59.6 3988 23 13
New England T. Brady 66.2 4914 35 8
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Jacksonville L. Fournette 314 1206 3.8 12
New England D. Lewis 195 958 4.9 6
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Jacksonville K. Cole 43 793 18.4 3
New England R. Gronkowski 75 1165 15.5 9
Touchdowns Player TD
Jacksonville L. Fournette 13
New England D. Lewis 10