Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Game Day

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Game Day

Article excerpt

AT A GLANCE Series history: The Patriots lead 3-0 and no team has hurt the Jaguars in big games like the Patriots. The Patriots beat the Jaguars 28-25 in overtime in the 1996 regular season. Then in the playoffs that season, the Patriots beat them again 20-6 in the AFC Championship Game. The Jaguars had a chance to tie that game late, but quarterback Mark Brunell threw an interception to Patriots cornerback Willie Clay in the end zone with 3:43 remaining. The Jaguars lost again to the Patriots 26-20 last season in December, a game that cost the Jaguars a chance at their first AFC Central championship.

MATCHUPS

Jaguars WRs Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell against Patriots CB Ty Law: Law is one of the best in the NFL, while Smith and McCardell provide a stiff challenge.

Jaguars LT Tony Boselli against Patriots DE Willie McGinest: These two know each other from their college days at USC. McGinest is hurting a bit.

Jaguars RE Tony Brackens against Patriots LT Bruce Armstrong: Brackens is the key to how far the Jaguars go in the playoffs. He must be a dominant player.

Jaguars LB Kevin Hardy against Patriots TE Ben Coates: The Jaguars must account for Coates near the goal line.

Jaguars QB Mark Brunell against Patriots pressure: Brunell can't be a sitting duck, despite the injury.

BY THE NUMBERS

3: The Jaguars, who won the AFC Central for the first time this season, qualified for the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. No other expansion team has made the playoffs more than once in their first four seasons.

6: The Patriots made the playoffs as a No. 6 seed. No team seeded so low ever has made it to the Super Bowl, but the Patriots are the only team to make the Super Bowl playing three road playoff games. They did so in 1985, losing to the Bears.

9: Patriots CB Ty Law led the NFL in interceptions with nine. …

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