EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 23, 2012

Patriots vs. Jaguars: Sizing 'em Up


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — PATRIOTS (10-4) vs. JAGUARS (2-11)

Today, 1 p.m., at EverBank Field, Jacksonville

TV: Ch. 4 (Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots)

Radio: 98.5 FM The Sports Hub (Gil Santos and Scott Zolak)

The series: Patriots lead 8-1 and also have a neutral field win in Jacksonville, Super Bowl XXXVIII over Philadelphia.

Last meeting: Patriots 35, Jaguars 7, at Gillette Stadium, Dec. 27, 2009

Latest line: Patriots -14.5; Over/under total: 49

2012 STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Patriots Jaguars

10-4 Record 2-11

1st, AFC East Standings 4th, AFC South

432.4 (1) Offense 284.1 (31)

136.7 (8) Rushing 82.4 (30)

295.7 (3) Passing 201.6 (24)

376.8 (27) Defense 394.1 (31)

106.4 (11) Rushing 148.1 (32)

270.4 (29) Passing 246.0 (24)

+22 Turnover margin +1

BY THE NUMBERS

Patriots

4 – Teams which the Pats have never lost to at home in the regular season, including Jacksonville which is 0-3 in Foxboro all-time regular season. The others are Baltimore (0-4), Chicago (0-3) and Houston (0-2).

19 – In 164 offensive possessions this year, the Patriots have endured a mere 19 “three-and-outs.” That percentage of 11.6 easily leads the NFL. In fact, the league average is 22.9! The Giants are second at 15.9 percent.

506 – Pats total points for the season, making them the only franchise in NFL history to eclipse the 500-point mark in four seasons. The St. Louis Rams are the only other team in the game to have done it three times.

Jaguars

38 – Sacks over the last three seasons from newly signed Jaguar Jason Babin. He is third over that stretch behind Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware and Minnesota’s Jared Allen. Of course, all their sacks came for one team. The oft-maligned Babin has spread his between Tennessee, Philly and Jacksonville. Babin has sacked 31 different QBs in his career, yes, including Tom Brady.

2 – Sacks allowed this year by the Jaguars defense. With a front-running Patriots defense eager to make amends for last week, Chad Henne can expect to be battered from pillar to post.

207 – Tackles for Jacksonville hit machine Paul Posluszny on the season. The linebacker out of Penn State is chasing Hardy Nickerson’s franchise mark of 230.

Keys for Patriots

1. Ring the bell – Look, it’s time to run the football like it’s 1978. The Jags stop nobody, as their 148.1-yard rushing allowed number indicates. So pound Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley and Branden Bolden, so we can see which one, if any, is ready for prime time.

2. Welcome back, Mr. Jones – Chandler, “The Manhandler” Jones makes his return to the spotlight today, set to feast on a putrid offensive line. He and Rob Ninkovich will need to see of Chad Henne today.

3. Stay healthy – At this point in the game, losing a key player – Wes Welker, Tom Brady, etc, -- is much worse than losing the game. So please, be careful out there.

Hector Longo’s prediction: Patriots 35, Jacksonville 14; Longo’s record: 9-5 straight up; 4-9-1 vs. the spread)

Analysis: Survive this week. Survive the banging from San Francisco and the letdowns. Survive the trip into the sun. Just get your win and get home safely. It’s all that matters.