The media continues to jump on the Jacksonville bandwagon, relying on football cliche' (run the ball, be physical, respect, etc.) to justify their love of a huge underdog. The Pats homers all seem to be predicting either a blowout or that the sky will fall at 8PM tonight. I'm going to try to break down the Jaguars team objectively, review the matchups and make realistic prediction for tonight's game. Jacksonville is a team that is first and foremost built to run. The duo of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew make up arguably 1-2 backfield punch in the game. Taylor has become more of a power runner as his career has progressed and still has the second-gear to take it to the house. Jones-Drew uses his size, or lack thereof, to his advantage and can slip under the pile to turn what seems like a no-gainer to a 5 yard run. His lower body strength is phenominal and his legs are always moving. Belichick game plans to stop a team from doing what it does best. This will be a taller order than some fans like to think. The Jacksonville offensve line is one of the league's biggest. They are an underrated and cohesive unit. New England's defense has struggled against big offensive lines and quick, shifty backs (see Baltimore). Jacksonville has both, and will try to use them to milk the clock and tire New England's defense. Jacksonville's 2-back set makes them equally dangerous insida and outside. I expect to see 8 men in the box early and often. To successfully shut down the run, the defensive line has to be at its best. Jones-Drew is best as an up-the-middle runner. If Seymour, Wilfork and Warren can clog the middle, Jones-Drew's effectiveness is greatly diminished. While the New England linebacker's may have lost a step, they are still a smart, savy and at this point, underrated group. Vrabel and Thomas have the speed to contain the edge, and as long as the Jacksonville linemen are not allowed to get downfield, should be able to prevent Fred Taylor from making plays on the edge. Both Jacksonville backs are patient and wait for their blocks to develop, so it's key that the Patriots also play patient and rely on their talented front 7 to win their individual matchups against Jacksonville's line rather than overpersuing on defense. Overpersuit can be killer against these shifty backs. David Garrard hasn't been in many situations in his career where he has had to win the game himself, and the Patriots will dare him to do it. Belichick will hope to take advantage of a below-average recieving corps. While Jacksonville has several decent posession recievers, they lack a reliable go-to guy. Reggie Williams is an occasional deep threat, but he can be shut down by an above-average defensive back. The only clear advantage the Jacksonville recivers have here is height, but from a talent standpoint they do not match up to the Patriots cornerbacks. Double-teams will not be necessary, which will allow New England to put another defender near the line, where Jacksonville does most of its damage. Jacksonville's short-passing game is more dangerous than it's downfield game, expecially when Jones-Drew is on the field. The Patriots should be wary of the screen. In all, I expect a patient and relatively conservative defensive gameplan. Rely of their defensive backs to win their individual battles against Jacksonville's recievers, load up at the line, and wait for plays to develop. The screen scares me. The Patriots have good tackling games and bad tackling games. Which one will we see tonight? Jacksonville will be able to move the ball, the key here is to hold them to short gains. This isn't a team that sustains long drives for 4 quarters. They strike early but are prone to cold spells, especially mid-game. You don't need to go for the big play against Jacksonville, just wrap up and bring the man down. If the New England defense takes advantage of these tendencies, they will come up with some big 3-and-outs. Presuming the offense takes advantage of these opportunities, the Patirots will put the Jaguars in a position where they have to throw to win. And that's exactly where Belichick wants them.