Tag Archives: Allen Robinson

Who Are the Key Players To Watch Patriots-Bears Week 7?

Steve Balestrieri
October 19, 2018 at 7:30 am ET

Another Big Game, Another Explosive Offense  

The New England Patriots are off to the Windy City this week as they take on the Chicago Bears for what is a rare 1:00 p.m. start for the visiting team. The last two games have been prime time affairs and next week, it is back to another late game as the Pats will be on Monday Night Football against the Bills.

This week, the Bears return home disappointed after they let the chance to return 4-1 and atop the division with some breathing room slip away. They melted late in the game in the South Florida heat, something the Patriots are well familiar with dropped the game in overtime. At 3-2, they have a half-game lead on the Vikings and Packers.

The Patriots at 4-2, have won three in a row and are tied with Miami for the top spot in the AFC East. They’re entering a tough stretch with KC, Chicago, the MNF on the road and the Packers, before taking on Tennessee before their bye.

The Bears offensively run a similar offense to what the Chiefs do and have some explosive offensive players in Tarik Cohen, Taylor Gabriel, and Allen Robinson to go along with the mobile quarterback Mitch Trubiski. The Bears and Trubiski exploded a few weeks for six touchdown passes in the blowout win over Tampa Bay.

So, from a Patriots perspective, here are our Players to Watch on Sunday:

LaAdrian Waddle:

The Patriots swing tackle will no doubt get the start this week at right tackle as Marcus Cannon hasn’t practiced this week after leaving the KC game with a concussion. This is the reason the Patriots resigned Waddle this spring when he was a free agent. They knew that at some point they’d need him.

He may or may not be facing the Bears’ Khalil Mack, who also hasn’t practiced this week with an ankle injury and is considered day-to-day. Waddle faced Mack a year ago when Mack was a member of the Raiders defense. The Patriots beat Oakland in Mexico City 33-8 and Waddle was in for Cannon that day. Mack against Waddle that day had a sack, a tackle for a loss and three QB hits.

But regardless of whether Mack plays or not, Waddle will have a very important role in the Patriots game plan this week. Not only will he be responsible with protecting Brady’s right side from whoever rushes off the edge (Leonard Floyd, Akiem Hicks), but he’ll have to be solid in the running game as well.    

Josh Gordon

The Patriots wide receiver is still working on his chemistry with Tom Brady. The deep out routes, the comebacks, and the back shoulder throws are all things that they’ve not worked the kinks out of yet. Those things will come in time, but this week, Gordon could see his role expanded a bit more.

The Bears have a pretty stout front seven and the running game may need the passing game to get it going instead of the opposite. Gordon has the size and athleticism to stretch the field vertically a bit more this week. They tried it a few times against KC. On one play, Gordon was open and ready to catch a deep ball before being interfered with, drawing a 37-yard penalty.

We’d look for the offense to begin expanding Gordon’s range more and more as he gets a bigger comfort level in the offense. Gordon will probably draw Prince Amukamara on the outside, the big, veteran corner should be an intriguing matchup to watch this week.

Dont’a Hightower:

The Patriots big linebacker had a pretty productive game against the Chiefs despite the team allowing 31 second-half points. Hightower had an interception, a tipped pass and had quarterback pressure on Patrick Mahomes which forced him to throw an interception in the end zone, wiping out a Chiefs scoring threat.

This week the Patriots will have to contend with the diminutive but lightning-fast Tarik Cohen out of the Bears backfield. He’s a threat to run the ball or catch it out of the backfield and can be the Bears “X-Factor” in their offense this week.

How well (or badly) the Patriots defense does this week, will have a lot to do with how well they defend Cohen. While a bit different, the Bears offense does run a similar look to the Chiefs and they utilize the RPO (run/pass option) concepts which try to freeze and take advantage of the opposing linebackers. And for New England, that begins with the big man in the middle.

Julian Edelman:

With a Bears defense that gets a lot of sacks (18) and is much better at stopping the run that the past few opponents that the Patriots have faced, they’ll look to what has always worked for them. The short passing game with Julian Edelman will be key this week, helping Tom Brady get the ball out fast and keeping the chains moving.

Edelman’s short area quickness and ability to find the open seams of the defense are a hallmark at the chemistry that he’s enjoyed with Tom Brady for many years.

The Bears defense will have their hands full with trying to jam, throw off the timing and re-route Edelman off the line. That will no doubt fall to the veteran corner Bryce Callahan. The Bears are really happy with the play of  Callahan and resigned the smaller (5’9, 188), but very feisty cornerback this spring.

With the Patriots looking to use the middle of the field, players like Callahan and Danny Trevathan will be tasked with taking that away. The matchup between Edelman and Callahan will be an intriguing one to watch this week.

Trey Flowers:

The Patriots defense has not been good at getting home against opposing quarterbacks and creating consistent pressure this year. Now they’re facing another mobile quarterback that can move and more importantly, throw on the move in Trubiski. That means the defense will have to set the edge and keep him in the pocket.

Flowers has been the best Patriots defensive lineman and although he has only two sacks on the season, he’s played very well. He got a lot of praise from the Bears’ coach Matt Nagy this week, “He’s not the ‘big-name guy,’ but he’s the big-name guy among the coaching world,” Nagy said. “He can hold the point. He’s strong, he’s quick, he’s fast, he plays in front of the quarterback. So, we know that he’s a good football player. … We have a lot of respect for his game.”

The Patriots are going to need a big game out of Flowers this week, setting the edge, and getting after Trubiski if they want their defense to have a better showing than they had with Kansas City. And they’ll need their best defensive player to lead the way.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

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Patriots-Bears Week 7, Key Matchups, Who Has the Razor’s Edge?

Steve Balestrieri
October 18, 2018 at 7:29 am ET

The New England Patriots head back out on the road for the next two weeks. They face the Chicago Bears on Sunday at 1 p.m. before heading off to Buffalo and facing the Bills in a prime-time Monday Night Football matchup.

This week’s game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Ian Eagle will handle play-by-play duties with Dan Fouts as the color analyst. Evan Washburn will work the sidelines. The game will also be aired on the Patriots flagship radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak on the call, produced by Marc Capello.

The Patriots (4-2) defeated the Chiefs on a last-second field goal 43-40.  Tom Brady threw for 340 yards and Sony Michel ran for 106 as the Patriots rolled up 500 yards of offense. But the defense, which had a 24-9 first-half lead, allowed 31 points after intermission.

The Bears (3-2)  lost to the Miami Dolphins 31-28 in overtime. Cody Parkey had a chance to win in it OT but his kick was wide right. The Bears defense allowed Brock Osweiler to pass for 380 yards and three TDs. Mitch Tribuski threw for 316 yards and three TDs in the loss.

We here at PatsFans.com are continuing our “Razor’s Edge” column in 2018 to give some quick analysis on some of the key matchups of the game.

Series History:

The Patriots and the Bears will meet for just the 14th time in their history with the Pats holding a 9-4 advantage in those contests. The only meeting in the postseason, however, was a crushing 46-10 blowout in Super Bowl XX. The Pats are 5-3 vs the Bears on the road. The last time the team’s faced in Chicago was back in 2010 in a snowstorm. The Patriots rolled 36-7. The Patriots have won the last four meetings including the last meeting between the two teams 51-23 at Foxboro back in 2014.

Here is a look at some of the key matchups and who holds the Razor’s Edge. First up is the Patriots offense:

Patriots RBs vs Bears Front Seven – Razor’s Edge New England

The Patriots running game has really found its rhythm the past three weeks. They’ve rushed for an average of 148.3 yards in the games against the Dolphins, Colts and the Chiefs. The offensive line is doing a tremendous job of opening holes for Sony Michel and James White. In this three-game streak, Michel has gained 315 yards in those wins and seems to be getting better every week. James Develin has been outstanding as a lead blocker.

The Bears have been good against the run allowing an average of just 84.3 yards per game. It starts up front with a very good front seven. Former Patriot Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman anchor the front three in the Bears 3-4 scheme. They boast very good linebackers in Danny Trevathan, rookie Roquan Smith, Leonard Floyd and of course, Khalil Mack.

Look for the Patriots to attack the Bears front by running right at it between the tackles and guards with Michel and White. Miami did this last week and was very successful running the ball gaining 161 yards on the ground with 101 of them going to Frank Gore. The NFL is a copycat league and after watching the Dolphins carve them up a bit in the heat, look for the Patriots to attempt the same.  

Patriots WRs vs Bears Secondary – Razor’s Edge New England

The Patriots passing game has really taken off with the return of Julian Edelman and with Josh Gordon just now beginning to assimilate into the Patriots offense. Tom Brady started slowly this year, with all of the injuries at WR, but is getting better every week. Against Kansas City, he completed 24-35 for 340 yards with a TD. He, Edelman and Rob Gronkowski have a built-in chemistry thru years of playing together and they’re beginning to ramp up the production.

The Bears have a ball-hawking defense and have 10 interceptions in just five games. They also have 18 sacks led by Mack with five. He’s banged up right now and may not be 100 percent on Sunday. But in reality, most of the big edge rushers don’t have big games against Brady and the Patriots. It is the interior guys like Hicks that disrupt things. He’s the one to watch. If Brady can’t step up or slide in the pocket, then edge guys like Mack can be productive.

Look for Brady to attack the middle of the field with Edelman and Gronkowski this week. With Gordon and Hogan outside the numbers, they’ll take a fair share of deep shots and when they do that, they’ll try to use James White underneath in the open spaces underneath. I look for Brady to continue his hot streak in the Windy City this weekend

Next up the Chicago offense:

Bears RBs vs NE Front Seven – Razor’s Edge Chicago

The Bears have their own two-pronged rushing attack with big back Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen as their speedier back out of the backfield and can inject some quickness off the line. Howard is averaging just 3.5 yards a carry this season as the Bears offensive line has been inconsistent at opening up holes for him. Cohen, however at just 5’6, 181 has been electric both in the running game and catching the ball out of the backfield.

The Patriots were getting gashed early in the season in the running game, but then back-to-back games, albeit against weak running teams in Miami and the Colts had the needle pointing up. Last week, the Chiefs Kareem Hunt had 80 yards in just 10 carries so they are back to square one.

I would expect the Bears to use Cohen a lot in this one. He’s the kind of player with the speed that gives them a lot of headaches. Look for coach Matt Nagy to look for creative ways to get him the ball a lot in this one.

Bears WRs vs NE Secondary- Razor’s Edge Chicago

The Bears for the first time in a while have a large assortment of weapons and thus far, QB Mitch Trubiski has been having a very good season at getting them all the ball. The second-year QB is coming into his own and spreads the ball around nicely. Newcomer  Taylor Gabriel is the player to watch, he has the speed to be a game breaker. Allen Robinson looks healthy after tearing an ACL last year and tight end Trey Burton leads the team with 3 TD receptions and a 13.3 yard per catch average. Cohen is a big (if diminutive) factor out of the backfield.

The Patriots corners have played very well this year, it is the play of the safeties that have been up and down. But the real issue is the lack of consistent pressure on the QB. The Patriots have just seven sacks, that isn’t going to get it done, they have to start creating ways to get more pressure on the QB.

I’m looking for Trubiski to get Burton and Cohen involved in this one early. Running the RPO (run/pass option) similar but not exactly the same as KC, they’ll try to freeze up the Patriots linebackers, get Trubiski outside the pocket and hit his WRs downfield.

Special Teams- Razor’s Edge New England

The Patriots have a slight advantage here in the kicking game with Stephen Gostkowski and Ryan Allen over Cody Parkey and Pat O’Donnell. Parkey had a chance to win the game in Miami in overtime and sailed it wide right. Gostkowski has been very solid for over a decade. The Bears have the fast Cohen in the return game but the Patriots counter with Cordarrelle Patterson and Julian Edelman on their own. Look for the Patriots to tighten up their coverage units this week. They’ve been uncharacteristically leaky.

Next up, who wins and why…

Prediction:

This is a big game for both teams. Both are sitting atop of their respective divisions but have other teams tied with them and must keep pace. The Bears have a dynamic offense for a change and things are definitely trending in the right direction for them. The Patriots are turning it on as well after a slow start. They’ve won three in a row and are averaging nearly 40 points a game in those.

Look for Tom Brady to throw first and then run against the Bears defense this week. Breaking what they have been doing in establishing the running game first. I’m looking for him to try to get Edelman and Gronkowski involved early. With all of the focus on Mack and his health, Hicks and Trevathan are the X-Factors for the Bears defense this week. The Bears watched the tape of the KC game and running a similar offense, they’ll try to do much of the same things utilizing their team speed.

The key from a New England perspective is to start fast and get the Bears in a catch-up/keep up mode. The turnover battle will be huge here. This one will be close for three quarters but a late Brady TD pass puts NE over the top. Patriots 34-21

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

New England Patriots – Jaguars Preseason Opener, What to Watch For

Steve Balestrieri
August 10, 2017 at 9:45 am ET

The long wait since the Super Bowl is over, the field at Gillette has the goalposts back up, the lines are painted on the turf and the Patriots will once again take the field for a football game. But don’t call it meaningless, because there remains a lot to accomplish.

OK, we get that the final score of tonight’s game is secondary to both Bill Belichick and Doug Marrone but for the 90 players on the roster, many of them are fighting for jobs. And the coaching staffs will attempt to find those depth players and those valuable guys who fill roles on the team that makes such a big difference during the course of a season.

Gillette Stadium is ready for football again. (SBalestrieri Photo)

Many of the Patriots starters won’t play tonight, I don’t expect to see Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Nate Solder or Mike Gillislee on the field for the Pats offense. So what are we looking for tonight from a New England perspective as the Patriots take on the Jaguars in the first game of the 2017 preseason?

The Patriots Pass Rush and Specifically How the Rookies Fit:
This will be a big storyline for the entire preseason and into the regular season. Gone are Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, and Chris Long. Trey Flowers is the elder statesman in terms of time with the team. He, Kony Ealy along with rookies Deatrich Wise, Derek Rivers and Harvey Langi will be watched closely in their first game action this year.

Wise has had a very good start to camp and seems to be much farther along in his development than was expected at this point. He’s shown to be explosive and has had good penetration from the edge and along the interior.

Deatrich Wise has looked very impressive in the early days of training camp. (SBalestrieri photo)

Before people pile on Ealy (and there’s been a lot of it), something to keep in mind is that early in camp the team has asked him to do a lot of different things that he was never asked to do in Carolina. He’s played a lot inside and that is a new position for him. Rivers seems to be getting in sync a bit more in the last few days, it will be interesting to see how he fares in his first game action. Langi has been moved around by the coaches. They’re trying to see all the things he can do and look for him to play outside linebacker and down as a defensive end tonight.

Jacksonville’s offensive line has a lot of issues right now. There are at least two starting spots wide open for competition. So this will be a good test for both teams to see how their players are coming along.

How Will Jimmy Garoppolo Fare in Game Action:
We know that Jimmy G. hasn’t had the greatest camp, but he’s never been the best practice player for some reason although he’s fared better during the games. Well at least initially, he’ll be playing with some very good weapons.  I would expect Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan to play a series or two tonight. Coupled with Dwayne Allen at tight end, James White, Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead coming out of the backfield, this will be a very good group to work with.

I’d expect to see Garoppolo play most of if not all of the first half. He should be able to lead the Patriots offense and get the unit clicking, especially when the above-named players are taking the field. Things to look for in his play, his decision-making, his processing of what he sees in front of him and his ability to get the ball out quickly and accurately.

Many people thought that this was the year that he may push Tom Brady a bit for the reins to the offense. That hasn’t come close to happening yet. Brady is still head and shoulders far above him. But he must be ready to take over in a pinch and tonight we’ll be watching how he looks in the starting role.

Look for the Patriots to test the waters deep Thursday night with Chris Hogan and Brandin Cooks. (SBalestrieri photo)

Secondary Looks Strong, But This May Not be the Best Test:
Thus far in camp, the Patriots corners, Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Eric Rowe and Jonathan Jones have been very solid. They bring the physical element to the game and contest everything thrown at them. Rowe probably won’t play as he’s been dinged up a bit but that will still leave the other three to watch for the probably the first quarter.

Jacksonville has some very good wide receivers in Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns with Marcedes Lewis at tight end but the problem with them has been getting them the football. The quarterback play in camp so far has been spotty at best and that’s what we saw in the two days of joint practices. Blake Bortles and Chad Henne were not doing a good enough job of getting their skill players the football during the 11-on-11 team drills. On the first day, they were a combined 8-22, on Day 2 they didn’t fare much better.

With the largely vanilla schemes on defense in the preseason, the time may be right to see Bortles and Henne open things up a bit and see the field a bit better. In which case the Jaguars receivers will provide a solid first test for the Patriots secondary. But after what we’ve seen in the two practices, the Jags quarterback situation may preclude that.

Let’s See Some of the Running Game This Week:
With LeGarrette Blount in Philadelphia now, the Patriots running game will definitely have a different look and feel to it in 2017. Gillislee has been slowed by a balky hamstring so I don’t expect to see him tonight. But the team has a lot of players who could see some significant snaps trying to earn a roster or practice squad slot.

In the early going, I am intrigued to see how Rex Burkhead fares in his Patriots debut. He’s been an intriguing player to watch in camp as he brings the element of both running and catching to the mix. Dion Lewis looks back to full health and I’d expect the team to give him a few reps early in the game along with James White.

But later in the game, D.J. Foster who is very quick out of the backfield is fighting for a roster spot. I’d look for him to get a ton of reps as the receiving back out of the backfield. Brandon Bolden who has gotten a lot of work with Gillislee on the shelf and LeShun Daniels will handle the heavy lifting in the running game between the tackles.

Time for the Young Players to Shine:
Invariably during these preseason games, especially the early ones, a couple of the unheralded undrafted free agent players step to the forefront. It seems every year the Patriots have one UDFA who not only makes the roster but contributes some meaningful snaps during the season.

We’ve already mentioned Langi above but the team has several to keep an eye on this week. Wide receiver Austin Carr has made some nice catches this summer and has struggled to get separation at times as well. He’s a guy to watch tonight. CB Kenny Moore has been around the ball making plays all summer, he and fellow rookie Will Likely are players to watch. TE Jacob Hollister is a move-tight end that has the speed to get separation and attack the seams, this may factor in later.

Some of the players who have been on the team and are on the bubble this summer will bear watching. CB Justin Coleman, WR Devin Lucien who has had a strong camp thus far and CB/KR Cyrus Jones. Jones it should be noted, dropped his first kick of the summer and hasn’t had an issue since. He’ll be watched closely in Year 2 and much will be expected of him in the return game in 2017.

Bonus Note:
It will be interesting to see how Patriots fans respond to Mark Brunell who does the color commentary for the Jaguars radio network tonight. Brunell had the famous crying jag (no pun intended) on ESPN after the news of Deflategate broke.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Patriots – Jaguars, Three Players to Watch on Sunday

Steve Balestrieri
September 25, 2015 at 6:35 am ET

The Patriots take on the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. at Gillette Stadium and then get an early bye week before jetting off to important road games in Dallas and Indianapolis.

Jacksonville is somewhat of an unknown quantity in New England, the two teams don’t play much and the Jags, in a rebuilding mode don’t get a lot of national exposure. Many fans from outside the area would be hard-pressed to name more than a few of their players.

But Gus Bradley is making some good strides there and is putting together a good, young roster. They’ll be attempting to shock an AFC East foe for the second week in a row.

New England comes in as heavy favorites and should win this game, but games aren’t played on paper. They’ll need to get a good effort for the entire 60 minutes this week before heading off for an early vacation week.

Here are our three players to watch from a Patriots perspective this week.

Malcolm Butler: The second-year player from West Alabama has been playing well as the starting left corner thus far in 2015. He and Tarell Brown have given the Patriots solid play overall in the secondary. Butler will probably face-off against WR Allen Robinson a lot this weekend.

The Jaguars have a trio of young talented receivers in Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marquise Lee. And they’ll be looking to use play-action to take shots down the field. Robinson has had a bit of a coming out party against the Dolphins last week, catching 6 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns. The 6’3 WR from Penn State is rapidly becoming a favorite target for QB Blake Bortles. He made three big plays last week in the first half with catches of 36, 52 and later a 46-yard touchdown.

Butler will be the first line of defense for the Patriots defense; a strong game from him, contesting every throw and playing tight coverage will be a big step in making Bortles look elsewhere and therefore increasing the chances of making a mistake or holding the ball too long and getting pressure on him.

Butler had another, highlight reel interception last week against Buffalo; He showed great concentration in diving for a tipped ball and coming up with it. He’s now one of the most indispensable players on the Patriots defense.

Dont’a Hightower: The Patriots linebacker showed up on the injury report this week with a shoulder injury that immediately gave everyone pause. He had shoulder surgery in the off-season immediately after the Super Bowl and missed all of the spring workouts.

But this week, the Jaguars will be looking to limit Tom Brady’s chances of scoring and the best way to do that is to keep him on the sidelines. The Jaguars running back position is beset by injuries with Toby Gerhart and Dennard Robinson banged up but rookie RB T.J. Yeldon will be a big factor in this one.

Yeldon carried the ball 25 times last week as the Jaguars stayed balanced with 33 runs and 33 passes. They’ll be looking to do more of the same, with the Patriots giving up a whopping 5.7 yards per carry thus far in 2015; Yeldon will be their go-to guy.

This is where Hightower’s value comes in. The big linebacker is always quite adept at shooting the A-gap and putting pressure on the QB or blowing up plays in the backfield. And slowing Yeldon before the big back can get up a head of steam is of paramount importance this week.

Hightower can also factor in the pass rush as well. After giving up five sacks in the opener, the Jags offensive line allowed none against the Dolphins. Facing a big quarterback in Bortles that likes to extend plays with his feet, Hightower along with Jamie Collins shooting the A-gap may be a way to force the Jaguars into making mistakes.

Dion Lewis: The diminutive running back has been very impressive and has been the surprise story of the season so far in 2015. He followed up a good showing in the opener against the Steelers with an even better one in Buffalo last week. He had a combined 138 yards rushing and receiving against the Bills including a 6-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

One question this week will be whether or not the Patriots share the wealth and snaps between Lewis and LaGarrette Blount or does Bill Belichick ride the hot hand of Lewis and allow him to continue to get the lion’s share of the work in the backfield?

Lewis could be a big factor again this week; the Jaguars have been vulnerable to the tight ends catching the ball the past few years and may have to put a lot of resources to the task of slowing down Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler in the passing game.

That could once again open the door for Lewis to get some mismatches on linebackers in coverage, something that QB Tom Brady has been quick to identify and take advantage of, thus far in 2015.

Lewis has been compared to a combination of Kevin Faulk and Danny Woodhead this season which is pretty heady company. Entering this season, a big question was who would replace Shane Vereen’s production on third downs in 2015? So far, Lewis is not only doing that, but adding in some production on first and second downs as well.

Stay tuned to PatsFans.com as we’ll have the latest on breaking news for the Patriots as well as a complete breakdown of the game on Sunday.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Patriots – Jaguars, Who Has the Razor’s Edge? Key Matchups

Steve Balestrieri
September 24, 2015 at 6:44 am ET

The New England Patriots return home to find themselves atop of the AFC East with the Jets at 2-0 after their big win over Buffalo. They host the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with the kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The game will be televised locally by WBZ-TV on CBS and will again feature Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon to handle play-by-play and analyst duties. They covered last week’s game in Buffalo.

The Patriots won a much anticipated matchup against the Bills last week 40-32. Tom Brady passed for 466 yards and three touchdowns and needs only one more to break the 400 TD Pass plateau.  New England would love to head into the bye week at 3-0 and then have two weeks to prepare for the Dallas Cowboys.

The Jags upset the Miami Dolphins 23-20 last week evening their record at 1-1. WR Allen Robinson caught 7 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns. It was a huge win for a franchise that struggled mightily out of the gate in both 2013 and last season. Gus Bradley is slowly turning the corner with this young team that still has a long way to go.

We here at PatsFans.com are continuing our  “Razor’s Edge”  column in 2015 to give a quick break down on some of the key matchups of the game and what you can look for in how the game plays out.

Series History: The Patriots and Jaguars don’t have a lot of history of playing one another having only met 10 times since 1995, but four of those games have been in the playoffs. The Patriots hold an overall advantage of 9-1 in those contests, having won all six home games against the Jaguars.

The teams last met in 2012 with the Patriots edging the Jags 23-16 in Jacksonville.

Here is a look at some of the key matchups and who holds the Razor’s Edge.

First up is the Patriots offense:

Patriots 2015 Opponents, Five First Impressions of the Jaguars

Steve Balestrieri
September 22, 2015 at 6:54 am ET

The Patriots return home to the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium in Foxboro to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be televised locally on WBZ-TV.

The Jaguars are a bit of an unknown for the Patriots; Bill Belichick told the team exactly that in the post-game locker room in Buffalo. They don’t see the Jaguars play very much so the team is a bit unfamiliar to them. This will be the first time the Patriots face off against them with head coach Gus Bradley who came over from the Seahawks last year.

The Jaguars upset the Miami Dolphins 23-20 on Sunday; Allen Robinson had with 6 catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns. QB Blake Bortles had a solid day as did the Jacksonville defense.

The Patriots enter after dispatching the Buffalo Bills 40-32 on Sunday. Tom Brady had the second most yards in a game (466) in his career and the team improved to 2-0. The defense registered eight sacks and three interceptions.

Here are our Five First Impressions of the Jaguars:

Gus Bradley Has them Handling Adversity: Maybe it was just baby steps last week but looking at the tape the team is building up their confidence level. After being up early in the game, Miami tied it at 20. The Jaguars had numerous chances to fold up their tents and drop this game but they didn’t.

They put together a solid effort and kicked the winning field goal to defeat the heavily favored Dolphins. Bradley is molding a good solid team in Jacksonville. They may not be ready just yet, but they are moving in the right direction.

Much like last week’s opponent, this team is a reflection of its head coach. But this week, the Jaguars are not going to beat themselves with stupid penalties and let the events of the game overwhelm them.

Offense is Improving Week by Week: Just a week after allowing five sacks in the opener, the team allowed zero against the stout Dolphins front seven. Left tackle Sam Young filling in for an injured Luke Joeckel was particularly solid.

The Jags were perfectly balanced on offense with 33 runs and 33 passes and while they didn’t gash Miami, RB T.J. Yeldon with 25 carries made the Dolphins respect the run enough to make play action effective.

Robinson was outstanding, burning Brent Grimes for a 36-yard reception, and wrestled the ball away from a defender for a 52-yard catch later in the game. He was on his way to breaking the team’s rookie receiving record last season before breaking his foot in Week 10 and missing the team’s final six games. But the former Penn State WR turned in solid numbers, 48 catches, 548 yards and 2 TDs in 10 games. Now he’s ready to take the next step and will require lots of attention on Sunday.

Blake Bortles had his first 100+ QB rating last week and is looking to build off of that. He still made some questionable throws against Miami but has a talented supporting cast with Robinson, Marquise Lee, Allen Hurns as well as tight ends Julius Thomas (injured) and Marcedes Lewis.

Defensive Front Seven is Solid…and Big: The Jaguars have a solid defensive line with veteran SenDerrick Marks, Andre Branch and newcomer Jared Odrick. Odrick was impressive facing his former team in the Dolphins last week. He consistently put pressure on Ryan Tannehill, registering a 4th quarter sack and will be looking to do the same against Tom Brady.

The Jaguars front four boasts three of its starters over 300 pounds and they can stop the run as well as bring pressure on the quarterback.

Linebackers Dan Skuta and Telvin Smith are both playmakers for the defense; flying all over the field and each had a pass defensed on Sunday.

Injuries Test Running Back Depth: While the Jags stuck with the run and gained 123 yards on 33 carries with Yeldon leading the way with 25 of them, they suffered a significant loss when Dennard Robinson went down with a knee injury and is expected to miss a few weeks.

With Toby Gerhart already injured it leaves Jacksonville with just three healthy running backs coming into Foxboro; Yeldon, Bernard Pierce and Corey Grant.

Bradley is already high on his new back in Yeldon the former Crimson Tide standout has turned heads during training camp and into the first two weeks of the season. “He does a great job of making people miss,” Bradley said. “He can turn a negative yardage play into a couple-yard gain and a couple-yard gain into a seven or eight yard gain.”

Secondary plays thru Injuries: Last week against the Dolphins, the Jaguars entered the game already minus starting safety Jonathan Cyprien and their #3 corner in Dwayne Gratz. To make matters worse, they lost starting cornerback Davon House for a time due to dehydration and yet the secondary played solid.

It is a testament to Bradley that despite missing these players, they have a true “next man up” preparation in place and don’t just give it lip service.  Aaron Colvin missed a few plays with leg cramps and at crunch time reserves Demetrius McCray and Peyton Thompson played key roles in stopping the Dolphins on their final opportunity.

Even former Auburn QB now turned DB Nick Marshall found his way onto the field and played a few meaningful snaps. That’s the kind of thing we’re used to seeing in Foxboro with Bill Belichick. And that is the kind of program that Bradley is beginning to put together.

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