AFC Championship 2017: Jacksonville at New England
New England to win has a money line of -350. 56% of the public likes Jacksonville against the spread of +7.5. The Jacksonville money line is +305. The total for the game is 46. Jacksonville is 1-5 ATS in the last 6 games in New England. The Patriots are 10-1 against the spread in their last 11 games overall.
Jacksonville features the league’s top-ranked rushing attack led by rookie Leonard Fournette, who ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns last week but also nicked an ankle that limited him in practice Wednesday and Thursday. The Jaguars will try to slow the NFL’s top offense with a defense that surrenders a league-low 169.9 yards passing while ranking second in sacks (55) and interceptions (21). Ramsey and cornerback A.J. Bouye combined for 10 picks while defensive ends Calais Campbell (14.5) and Yannick Ngakoue (12) accounted for nearly half of the team’s sacks. Jacksonville led the NFL with seven defensive TDs during the regular season and added another score versus Pittsburgh.
Tom Brady owns the most postseason wins (26) in history and added to his playoff legacy last week, passing for more than 300 yards for the 13th time and surpassing Joe Montana with his 10th three-touchdown performance. Brady hasn’t missed a game due to injury since 2008 and completed at least three passes to five different receivers in last week’s 35-14 rout of Tennessee. Dion Lewis has rushed for at least 60 yards in seven of his last eight games and added a season-high nine catches last week while tight end Rob Gronkowski has 34 receptions and four touchdowns over his last four contests. New England is vulnerable to the run, ranking 20th at 114.8 yards allowed, but it permits only 18.5 points per game. New England’s 397 yards per game offensively is the best in the NFL. Brady can became the first QB in history with four straight playoff games of least 300 yards passing and multiple TDs. The Patriots are 6-1 in AFC title games at home and have won 10 of their 11 all-time meetings with Jacksonville. Jacksonville is 0-7 all time in New England.
Blake Bortles Is Not That Big A Problem
Blake Bortles completed just 53.1 percent of his passes in the two playoff wins, but he has not committed a turnover after tossing five interceptions in the final two regular-season games. A declining Peyton Manning (x2), Joe Flacco (x2), Eli Manning (x2), and Mark Sanchez are responsible for the seven New England playoff losses in the last decade as it hasn’t been the bigger name, higher ceiling quarterbacks to beat the Patriots on the biggest stages. A more highly regarded quartet of Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, and Andrew Luck are a combined 0-5 vs. New England in the playoffs in that span.
KTB Picks: Jacksonville +7.5, Jacksonville to win, Over 46. I like Jacksonville’s confidence and swagger combatting the advantages New England has on offense, special teams and experience.