BOSTON (CBS) — It’s only Week 2, but there will be a playoff feel down in Jacksonville when they host the Patriots in an AFC Championship Game rematch.
The Jaguars really want this one after coughing up last year’s AFC title game in Foxboro, as Tom Brady and company erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to punch their ticket to a second straight Super Bowl.
History is not on Jacksonville’s side, though, as the Patriots are 11-1 against the Jags all-time. The only time the Jaguars have come out victorious over the Patriots came way back in the 1999 Wild Card round, when Scott Zolak was filling in for an injured Drew Bledsoe.
But none of that will matter Sunday when the two teams kick off. Here is how the WBZ-TV and CBS Boston sports teams see Sunday’s big tilt playing out:
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV
The Jaguars have had this game circled since letting the AFC Championship slip away, but talk is cheap. We’ll find out Sunday if they can back it all up.
The Pats defense is better than we all expected and their pass rush is flat-out dangerous. Tom Brady and the offense is just getting going and they know it. It’s simple: Protect Brady and the Patriots win.
Patriots 28, Jaguars 13
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV
Ok, I admit it. I picked against Belichick, Brady and the Pats last week. I was going mostly on the fact that if the Texans were ever going to beat the Patriots, it was with everyone (J.J. Watt, Deshaun Watson, Deandre Hopkins, Jadeveon Clowney, etc) healthy. I was wrong.
This week is a great test for the Pats, heading into a place where revenge is a factor. It’s also the Jaguars’ home opener, so they’re going to be really amped up for this one.
I’m curious to see how this Pats team responds. Can the defense/pass rush pick up where it left off? Can the Pats’ D stop the run? Guy, Brown, Shelton, Roberts, Bentley, etc will be huge. On offense, it will be tough for Tom Brady with a talented Jacksonville defense gunning for him. The offensive line and running back protection will be huge.
But I’m not picking against Brady again. No sir.
Patriots 20, Jaguars 17
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV
The Jaguars have been waiting for this game since January. Now they have to show up.
Before last week, I thought the Pats would lose this game. But my opinion has since changed. In their Week 1 win over the Texans, Tom Brady threw to nine different receivers and got the ball out extremely fast. The Jaguars will now have to be ready for that. It’s something the Patriots did not do in the AFC Championship Game.
Jacksonville’s defense is great but they haven’t changed too much and now the Patriots have their personnel on tape.
It will be an emotional, energy charged game, but an ailing Leornard Fournette will cause that Jaguar offense to struggle. So I like the Pats to improve to 2-0 this weekend.
My bold prediction of the game: New England’s rush attack will run wild for over 150 yards.
Patriots 21, Jaguars 10
Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
It’s much too early in the season for such a heavy-duty matchup. We think these will be two of the best teams in the AFC this year, but we can’t possibly know that just yet.
Ultimately, I think this will be a day where both defenses look dominant. The Patriots look to be undermanned offensively, and for the Jaguars, I have my doubts about the effectiveness of a hampered Leonard Fournette — if he can even play.
If this game were in January, I’d like the Patriots. (That makes sense, trust me.) But it’s September, the Jags’ pass rush will have the crowd noise working to their advantage, and I think Jacksonville has enough to squeeze out a win.
Jaguars 20, Patriots 13
Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
It’s hard to pick any team that has Blake Bortles as their quarterback, but the Jaguars will win this AFC Championship rematch with their defense. It’s going to be a rock fight, and if the Jaguars can keep forcing turnovers, they’ll be victorious this time around. That should just make Round 3 in late January even more interesting.
Jaguars 24, Patriots 20
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