The New England Patriots host the Jacksonville Jaguars in week three. Here are three keys to a Patriots victory this Sunday. —
— Attack Bortles:
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has shown promise at times throughout his young career, but struggles with consistency. Through two games he’s completed 43-of-70 passes (55 percent) for three touchdowns and two interceptions.
In his rookie season last year, no one in the NFL was sacked more times than Bortles, a whooping 54 times. While he was not sacked in week two versus the Miami Dolphins, he was taken down five times in week one against the Carolina Panthers.
The Jaguars are going to have to take some shots down field in order to pull off the upset, so New England should not let Bortles get comfortable. He’s prone to holding onto the ball for too long, which could give a window of opportunity for the Patriots front seven. We’ll see in Bill Belichick let’s the dog hunt this week, look out for Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower up the middle.
— Be Ready for Anything:
As previously mentioned, Jacksonville will have to take some shots down field in order to win this Sunday. Whether its deep passes to wide receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, or trick plays in an attempt to keep the contest competitive.
We’ve seen the Patriots slip up early in schedule during previous seasons. Whether it was the Cleveland Browns victory in 2010, the Arizona Cardinals in 2012, or the two losses in the first four games of last season against the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs. Now, not all of those games are the same, obviously, but the Pats have been susceptible to early in the year “down” performances.
If Jacksonville can create some early turnovers, take a few successful shots down field and call some creative plays on the offensive end it will make Sunday a lot more interesting. New England can’t give a team with nothing to lose confidence early on in the contest.
My final key to victory for this week is perhaps the most important. The first two weeks of the season, New England has let their opponents narrow the gap in the fourth quarter and made games much tighter down the stretch. The Patriots must finish this week and not let their foot off the pedal.
The Jaguars are not an elite team, but under head coach Gus Bradley they are a competitive group and will probably look to “shock the world” at Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon. If the Pats get too comfortable, there’s a chance they get caught off-guard later in the game, but I wouldn’t expect that.
Prediction: Patriots 37, Jaguars 19
After a tough divisional showdown in Buffalo in week two, the Patriots return home to host the Jaguars before their bye week. Jacksonville is seemingly headed in the right direction as a franchise, but simply don’t have the talent to compete with New England. If this game is closer than 14 points at the end, it would be a surprise.
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