Jaguars: Hot Topic

In the wake of their first playoff victory since 1999, the Jaguars got the short straw in the next round of the playoffs. They have to go to unbeaten New England Saturday night because the San Diego beat Tennessee Titans. If the Titans had won, the Jaguars would have gone to Indianapolis.

Indianapolis would have been a favorable matchup for the Jaguars because the Colts are in their division and the Jaguars usually play them tough even though the Colts swept them this year.

The Jaguars and Patriots have met seven times, with New England winning six -- all four in the regular season and two of three in the playoffs.

And unless the weather is windy or snowy, the Jaguars don't match up well against the Patriots' passing game.

Brady will be making his second playoff appearance against the Jaguars. In 2005, he led the Patriots to a 28-3 victory as he threw for three touchdowns although he completed only 15 of 27 for 201 yards and was sacked four times.

To make things worse, the Jaguars' pass defense has been vulnerable at times this year. Drew Brees threw for 455 yards against them and Ben Roethlisberger threw for 337 yards while losing Saturday night although he threw three interceptions in the second quarter.

The two teams last met last year in Jacksonville in the 15th game with the Patriots recording a 24-21 victory.

Brady passed for 249 yards and a touchdown in that game although they put the game away with a Laurence Maroney 27-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that made it 24-14.

The Jaguars scored a touchdown and were driving again when David Garrard fumbled. The Jaguars challenged on the grounds that the infamous tuck rule should have nullified it, but the ruling on the field that it was a fumble wasn't overturned.

The Jaguars could be playing in this game without three key defensive starters - defensive tackles John Henderson and Marcus Stroud and middle linebacker Mike Peterson.

Stroud is already on injured reserve and Henderson strained his hamstring against the Steelers and his condition will be updated later in the week.

Peterson missed the Steelers game with a broken hand after missing the final six games of the regular season. Peterson said after the game that he'd be ready to play in New England, but coach Jack Del Rio was pessimistic he'd be able to make it. He said Peterson hasn't been cleared by the doctors.

Del Rio noted they have 12 players on injured reserve, but he said the reserve players have stepped up all year.

One example is defensive tackle Derek Landri, a fifth-round draft pick this year, who got a lot of playing time against the Steelers when Henderson went out.

Landri got what said to be a "trifecta." That being an interception, sack and recovered fumble.

"I'm really happy for him and happy for our team," Del Rio said.


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