NFL Game Previews: Breaking Down the Conference Championships
NFL Game Previews: Breaking Down the Conference Championships

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

Jacksonville (+9) at New England, 46.5 o/u – Sunday, 3:05 p.m. EST

The Story: In a wild divisional round last weekend, about the only game that went according to script was the Patriots' rout of the Titans, and they would seem to have a clear path to the Super Bowl against a Jags squad which on paper has been built on its defense – yet has allowed more than 40 points twice in their last four games. Let's not hand Tom Brady a sixth ring just yet, though. Jacksonville does have the tools to not merely keep this one close but even win it outright. Leonard Fournette, if he's close to 100 percent, can chew up clock and keep Brady off the field; their pass rush can get to the quarterback without selling out on blitzes; and they've even got defenders like Jalen Ramsey and Telvin Smith who are athletic enough to potentially contain Rob Gronkowski. All that said, it's still the Pats, a team that has played in every AFC title game since 2011. If the Jaguars are going to advance to their first ever Super Bowl, they might need a little more magic to do it.

The Skinny:
2017 regular-season JAC offense: 26.1 PPG (5th), 141.4 rushing yds/gm (1st), 232.3 passing yds/gm (18th), 24 sacks allowed (T-3rd), 23 turnovers (T-19th)
2017 regular-season NE offense: 28.6 PPG (2nd), 118.1 rushing yds/gm

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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