If there is ever a change of guard in the AFC, the visit of the Patriots to Jacksonville on Sunday seems a perfect time.
Except when you look at the numbers that say that Tom Brady does not lose to the Jaguars.
Jacksonville had a 10 point lead over New England last January in the second half of the AFC championship, before Brady processed his magic. It should have been no surprise in this matchup: Brady is 8-0 against the Jaguars, the only AFC team that does not win against the five-time Super Bowl champion and triple league MVP. He has 19 TD & # 39; s and two interceptions against Jacksonville while he has completed more than 70 percent of his passes for more than 1,800 meters.
So solving Brady is a must for Jacksonville in this battle of winners of opening games that could be crucial for the AFC playoffs.
"It will be an emotional environment," Brady said. "I think everyone, every time you play some of the best teams, want to see where you're being followed, and that defense was very high all year, and I could see why, we practiced against them. They have a lot of very talented players – some of the guys who are probably the best at their position, so it's going to be a great environment for football. "
Brady has 224 career victories, once shy of the NFL record of kicker Adam Vinatieri, whose Colts are in Washington.
Jacksonville can be brief in an important area: walking back Leonard Fournette has problems with hamstring and the Jaguars need a strong game to keep Brady on the sidelines.
T.J. Yeldon would get the start if Fournette could not go.
& # 39; He has always been good, & # 39; said coach Doug Marrone about Yeldon. "I think he's more explosive, he's stronger, he's elusive, I think he can carry a load of goodies."
Belichick said that the defense of the Patriots would be challenged by the backs of Jacksonville, whether it is Fournette, Yeldon or both.
"It's a difficult combination," Belichick said. "Both are really good – different but explosive, this week's approach is a big problem for us, these guys are hard to deal with, they make a lot of recruiting on their own careers, and so it's half the battle to get the blocks out. beat and get into position, and then the other half is actually making the tackle and getting them on the ground, so it will be a big challenge for us, these guys are good. "
During the offseason, Yeldon lost the weight in preparation for the campaign, which for the first time in his NFL career was less than 220 pounds.
"I feel better, lighter, faster, faster, more explosive," Yeldon said. "I feel like it makes a big difference, I can cut better, I do a lot better, I feel more comfortable in this way."
Marron said that Yeldon had gone into the season at its best.
In Alabama, Yeldon ran 3,322 yards and 37 touchdowns in three seasons before joining Jacksonville as a second-round choice in the 2015 draft.
SONY MICHEL is not officially activated for the Sunday game and becomes a member of the backdoor neighbor Rex Burkhead – along with offensive Marcus Cannon (calf) and defensive back Keion Crossen (hamstring) – as debatable about the injury report.
But the Patriots' rookie knows what he will resist if he gets the chance to make his NFL debut.
While Michel was tolling all-inclusive yards for Georgia last year, Jacksonville was the second defender in the NFL (286.1 ypg.), Points allowed (16.8) and bags (55). And the Jaguars opened as the third defense in the AFC after their victory over the Giants last week.
"They have a great defense and they are fast," said Michel after Friday's training. "They run well to the ball and try to convert, I am enthusiastic about (the) game."
The 5-foot-11, 215-pound first-round draw arrow suffered a knee injury early in the training camp and missed the four preseason matches and the regular seson opener against Houston.
The lack of depth of the Patriots when running can dictate whether Michel plays. Jeremy Hill was lost for the season with a torn ACL and Burkhead suffered a concussion against the Texans. James White is in the first place a third lag, so the Patriots brought in a former eagle, Kenjon Barner, to add depth.
"I'll be excited when my day comes, but it's all preparation and our preparation the week before that game," Michel said. "That's how I play and how I feel about that game.
"As a footballer you want to get rid of that first blow, but practicing is the best way to simulate everything."
LAWRENCE GUY has become a mainstay in the defensive approach of the Patriots, alongside Malcom Brown, and flanked by Trey Flowers and Adrian Clayborn.
Guy came to New England from the Ravens last season as a free agent without restrictions and played in 16 games with 15 starts. He had 58 tackles and a bag, then added 14 tackles and a bag to the playoffs.
The 6-4, 315-pound eighth-year pro from Arizona State picked up again against the Texans last week, registered five tackles and brought the heat to quarterback Deshaun Watson.
"Lawrence is an experienced player," Belichick said. "He does a good job by recognizing all the small things that all good players do on those courtyards.
"He is not often fooled by the different types of plays that teams try to execute, and good defensive linemen are able to identify the differences and respond correctly."
TIGHT END Jacob Hollister (hamstring), who missed the opener, was a full participant in the training on Friday and is expected to play.
Patriots look at the recipient differently