John's Well-Educated Guesses: Patriots vs Jags

Hellooooooooo and welcome back!  It’s my weekly predictions post filled with lukewarm takes about a team we are all lucky to follow.  Some people like a good surprise.  I don’t.  If you want to watch the game with no stress then read on, because my takes are always right.  Buckle up buckaroo.
Can’t express enough how lucky I am to be a Patriots fan, and that win is the perfect example.  

Nice autumn Sunday, 1:00 PM start time, 2 touchdown lead in the 4th quarter, 10 beers and a defense/special teams good enough to close it out.  Who has it better than us? Nobody.

Seriously though, Week 1 win against a likely playoff team is no joke.  We have seen the Pats stumble out of the gates before, and I was especially ready for another one with a WR Corp looking like the soldiers at the end of Gone With The Wind.  (Dated reference? I don’t care.  Get on my level.)

Let’s hope they can keep some of their momentum in a replay of last year’s AFC Championship game.  The Jacksonville Jaguars are a young, hungry team.  They just need to figure a way to get over the hump. 

The story of Jacksonville is obviously their defense.  They are loaded.  They are so good that you really question how they can keep it all together.  It’s like when Denver signed every top defensive free agent for 4 years in a row and never seemed to suffer an ill effects on their cap….until their cap imploded.  They did win a Super Bowl with the corpse of Peyton Manning, so if it works, it works I guess.

It looks like the Jags have really embraced this model, and their window is open for now.  Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye make up one of the better CB tandems in the league.  Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson, Barry Church, Miles Jack, Telvin Smith (I think he is hurt?), the list goes on and on.  I anticipate some instances where Brady will look bad because these are some mean mamajamas.

Offense is the other side of this coin however.  Free agent departures of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns have depleted their weaponry.  Marqise Lee looked to emerge a little last year, but he is out with a knee injury too.  That pretty much leaves Leonard Fournette, and he is banged up too with a bum hammy.  It will be interesting to see how far they want to push him in Week 2.  Otherwise does the B.O.A.T. Blake Bortles strike fear into anyone?  He had a great run at the end of last season, but I say water always finds it’s level

Prediction:  1 turnover for Pats – I hated seeing us turn the ball over 3 times to the Texans.  That was the only reason they were in the game.  I think we will do better, but the Jags defense is too good and will figure a way to get one.

Prediction:  Gronk goes scoreless – Even when he is double covered, he still can make plays.  That being said, I think Jacksonville keys on him as the one guy they want to limit.  Brady will look elsewhere and they will keep Gronk out of the endzone.  (Hope I’m wrong).

Prediction:  Jags get less than 20.5 first downs – I’m told the average number of first downs per game last year was about 20.  I’m betting Jacksonville does less than that on Sunday.  They want to run the ball and play defense, that is what they are built to do.  I think the Pats will be good enough to stop them consistently.

Prediction:  Pats Win 24-13 - This one would be an easy one to drop, but I think the Jags are dealing with some impactful injuries.  The Jacksonville passing game is a joke to me, and we have the personnel to stop the run.  There will time where our offense looks bad, but we will play the field position game and outlast last year’s AFC runners up.