Jaguars: Going Deep

The Jaguars showed they can win in the playoffs last Saturday night in Pittsburgh.Now they get a chance to show they can go deepin the playoffs when they go to New England to play the unbeaten Patriots.

The Jaguars won their first playoff game since 1999 when they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-29.

But they haven't shown they're a serious Super Bowl contender.

There still appears to be a gap between the Jaguars and the Big Two in the AFC -- New England and Indianapolis. New England has beaten them each of the last two years and the Colts are 3-1 against them the last two seasons and swept them this year.

A victory would send them to the AFC title game against Indianapolis or San Diego.

A loss would leave them a step shy of the two elite teams in the AFC. If the Jaguars are to close the gap, they've got to find a way to upset the Patriots, who beat them 28-3 in the playoffs two years ago.

The Jaguars know it won't be an easy task.

"It's going to be a tough environment. We are going to have to play fast. We are going to have to play well. We are going to have to limit our mistakes and just try to out-execute them as much as possible. They have a great offense. They have a great defense. They just have a great team. We are really going to have to be on our 'A' game," quarterback David Garrard said.

The toughest task is to slow down the Patriots passing game.

"It's going to take all 11 of us," said cornerback Brian Williams. "It's going to take the defensive line getting pressure on the quarterback. It's going to take the linebackers getting in their drops, us (cornerbacks) getting jams on them. It's going to take everybody. I think we are going to be ready for the challenge."

If they're going to have a shot at the upset, they'll need both Garrard and Fred Taylor to play much better than they did in Pittsburgh.

Although Garrard set up the game-winning field goal on fourth-and-two, he didn't do much with his arm. He completed only nine passes and threw two interceptions.

Taylor ran for only 48 yards on 16 carries and left the game with cramps in the fourth quarter when their season was on the line.

The scenario for the Jaguars is to have long, time-consuming drives that take time off the clock and keep Tom Brady off the field.

On the other hand, their weakness is their pass defense. They gave up 455 yards to Drew Brees and 337 yards to Ben Roethlisberger last week even though they picked him off three times.

The Jaguars are at something of a crossroads. If they win, they'll be remembered for pulling off one of the biggest upsets in NFL history and for spoiling the Patriots' bid for a perfect season.

If they lose, they'll be a footnote as New England continues its march toward a perfect season.

Who remembers the team the unbeaten 1972 Dolphins beat in their first-round playoff game?

The answer is Cleveland, but the Browns are now a trivia question. Jacksonville wants to avoid being a trivia question.


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