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Sure, Christmas might be over, but New England has the opportunity to give a last minute gift. An AFC East Title. The Patriots have the opportunity to win the division with a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags are fighting for a playoff spot of their own and are looking to run all over New England to keep their postseason dreams alive. In order to make a push for the Super Bowl, the Patriots will have to take the first step Sunday.
They came down to the wire of ending Indianapolis’ winning streak last week. That was their second loss in a row and has put their playoff chances in jeopardy. David Garrard might not be the best quarterback in the NFL, but he has done everything he can to keep Jacksonville afloat. He has found production out of receivers Mike Sims-Walker and Torry Holt, but it’s a well known fact that this offense runs through Maurice Jones-Drew. “Mighty Mouse” has gained more than 1,200 yards this season and has rushed for more than 110 yards in five games this season. When he needs to turn it on, he goes above and beyond.
Jacksonville was once a team that prided itself on its defense, but that has not been the case this season. The Jags are last in the league with 14 sacks and have averaged only one interception a game. Takeaways have not been their strong suit and giving up big plays has been a major weakness. Jacksonville needs some help getting into the playoffs, but more importantly they need a win.
Lets be frank, New England needs this win to make the playoffs. This is their last home game of the year and need to do what it takes, by any means necessary. I can bore you with how Fred Taylor can return with a huge game against his former team, or how Brady should be looking deep to Moss all the time, but it doesn’t matter. Whatever tricks Bill Belichick has up is sleeves need to come out. If it’s BenJarvus Green-Ellis that has a big game, or the returning Jarvis Green and Vince Wilfork to cause pressure, then so be it. The Patriots need to come out firing and continue their dominance over Jacksonville in the process. (They are 7-1 against the Jags, even in the playoffs)
It will not be easy. Even if the Patriots think they can control Maurice Jones-Drew, he will continue to stack up rushing touchdowns. He has 15 on the season, tied for the league lead. If Tom Brady has the lackluster performance he had last week, a 59.1 rating, then New England will struggle. Still, the Patriots seem to pull out wins when needed and this week should be no exception.
New England 17, Jacksonville 10