John's Well-Educated Guesses: AFCCG Weekend
Disclaimer: My takes are almost always correct. So buckle up- buckaroo.
Finally, let's play some meaningful football. The playoffs are a strange beast. It's too violent of a sport to do a series, thus the one and done nature. I honestly feel like if every round was best of 3 we'd have even more bowls. We probably lose the one in 2001, but how many do we gain?? Certainly '07 to say the least. But I digress. It's win or go home, and the further you get into the playoffs the more stressful all this becomes.
Very similar to last week I got the team I wanted. That's not to say the Jags aren't a massive challenge, they are, but I hate the Steelers and I want them away from me. Now they are, so I refuse to complain.
Enough has been written on this site and others about the Jags D. They are terrific when they are playing well, but they've been known to mix in a few stinkers. They have never played an offense like the Pats. We are dominant at home. We struggle against elite defenses. The Jags offense stinks. They put 45 up last week. Tom's hand is broken (lol) and on and on it goes.
There is too much to speculate and I'm tired of it. This is going to be settled on the field. You have to earn every trip to the bowl. It's never easy. People can look at the 2014 BEAT DOWN of the Colts in the AFCCG and say that one was easy, but if you weren't sweating that game before kick off you're full of shit.
I think we will have a similar game plan to ones we've seen in the past. On D, stop Fournette and spy Bortles. The QB isn't as mobile as some of the other great rushers in the game, but as Bill pointed out he has an insanely high yards per rush average. When you turn on your back on him in the secondary, and lose contain in the trenches, he burns you. This will be a major point of emphasis. And just like with Derek Henry last week, stopping Fournette on early downs will be huge. The more third and longs we can put the Jags in the harder Fat Matt's dick will become. We are going to confuse Bortles with who we send to rush, and if we can pull him down a few times it will be huge.
On offense, we've seen this heavy Cover 3 look before. The seams will be open. The combo routes on the outside will be open. This is old hat for Tommy boy. He could beat Cover 3 with his eyes closed. The line will have to protect, and we will have to stay balanced, but its more than doable. People keep saying Pitt put for 42 on these clowns but if you watched that game, at least half the tuddies were literal prayer throws. That's not going to get it done for us. We are going to methodically move the ball and we have to convert in the red area. They are going to do everything they can to take Gronk away. Fine. We've got the weapons to be a match up nightmare all over the field.
If you told me in the preseason I get the Jags at home in the AFCCG I would have booked tickets to Minnesota. So lets fucking do it.
Prediction: This one shouldn't even count, but apparently people are still talking about it. Tommy will play. Nothing more need be said.
Prediction: We hold Fournette under 80 yards. Not that bold actually. Counting the playoffs he has been over 80 yards 7 times, and under 80 yards 8 times. But don't get it twisted, this will be key. If we can bottle him up early and get a lead, the Jags become one dimensional and have to throw to Marquis Lee?? Please.
Prediction: Hoags is back at it again. The AFCCG hero from last year dusts off his cape and pulls out another super human performance. I think Gronk will get his to a degree, but he will be the focus of their D. I think Cooks will no show again unfortunately, and Dola will Dola. So where do the game changing plays come from? My man Chris Hogan. Lets say he goes over 80 and a tuddy for me to be right, but I think he catches a deep one that is a huge momentum play.
Prediction: The Pats are headed to Minnesota ladies and gents. It's ugly for a while, but with 2, count em, 2 Blake Bortles picks this train rolls on. Final score: Pats 24 - Jags 16