Patriots at Jaguars: 3 things to watch, prediction

JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars are 2-12 and not a good football team, so let’s just dispense with the keys because they’re obvious — show up, take care of the football, avoid major injuries, tackle, limit big plays – and just go with the three things I’m curious about:

  1. The running backs: Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen have had a few issues hanging onto the ball, so I’m interested to see if there will be any play-time ramifications. I don’t think there will be, but with how bad the Jaguars are against the run, we could see all four running backs have big days (though I think Danny Woodhead will get a breather after 70 snaps against the 49ers).
  2. Nate Solder vs. Jason Babin: The second-year player has played well this season, but he did have a few struggles last week against the 49ers. The pass rushers are only going to get better in the postseason, so reps are always good. Babin isn’t a great all-around end, but he’s a very good pass rusher. This is a good challenge for Solder.
  3. Patriots’ pass rush: This Jaguars line is atrocious and thinned by injuries. If they don’t harass Chad Henne the entire game and stuff the run, there’s a problem (I don’t expect there to be an issue). Expect big games from the hustle guys, Trevor Scott and Justin Francis, along with Rob Ninkovich.

Prediction

The Patriots should have zero problem in this game, and should dominate defensively even with some guys sitting out.

Patriots 42, Jaguars 10

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