The New England Patriots were expected to handle the 2-12 Jacksonville Jaguars with relative ease on Sunday afternoon. Coming off of two big games where they handled the Houston Texans and came back late against the San Francisco 49ers the Patriots should have put the Jaguars away early. That’s where the problem for the Patriots came to light.
In the first half the Patriots played uninspired football which shows that the team is having trouble getting motivated for games against teams not in playoff contention. That could be a problem next week when they host the Miami Dolphins who are also out of contention and a team the Patriots should handle with relative ease.
The Patriots are currently sitting as the third seed in the AFC with a game advantage over the Baltimore Ravens. Likely the Patriots will have to win their final game to secure that third seed. But the
Dolphins are a much better team than the Jaguars coming off of a strong win over the Buffalo Bills. A performance in the first half next week like their performance this week could create too much of a deficit to overcome.
A weak Jaguars offense that is missing their starting quarterback and starting running back carved up the Patriots nickel defense which showed the Patriots were not ready to play. On the offensive side of the ball Tom Brady looked sluggish and unable to perform to his expected standard. This included an underthrown ball to Stevan Ridley which was intercepted. There were also miscommunications with key receiver Brandon Lloyd who will play a big part of the Patriots playoff campaign.
If the Patriots plan on securing the third seed in the AFC they must get off to a better start next week. Likely this won’t be a problem in the postseason as the Patriots will be facing the best teams in the AFC probably on the road. But to secure that seed the Patriots need to beat the Dolphins next week and that means getting off to a much better start.