As the Jacksonville Jaguars get set to face the New England Patriots on Sunday, these three players could be the key to a home victory at TIAA Bank Field.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are hoping running back Leonard Fournette is able to play on Sunday with the team faces the New England Patriots in a rematch of the AFC Title Game. But should the second-year back not be able to practice this week, head coach Doug Marrone said he would still use his lead running back without much preparation.
"“He has done a good job. He’s worked really hard. I do feel comfortable with him [playing without practice], probably more of someone I have not been around – if it was a rookie maybe, depending on their situation or position, things of that nature. I might not be as comfortable and they would probably have to show me something,” Marrone said."
There is a confidence in the Jaguars locker room amongst the players. A chance for this team and organization to take another set toward elite status. This may be the biggest game for this franchise all season. A win keeps the wheels moving on toward a playoff run.
A loss may open the floodgates as to whether this team is ready to join the Patriots and others as the flag bearers of the NFL.
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We already know Fournette could impact this game one way or the other, but several Jaguars could be the key to a victory for Jacksonville. Here is a look at three players to watch on Sunday.
While the Patriots have Rob Gronkowski, the Jaguars could have the new go-to player on the field for quarterback Blake Bortles. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins had only three catches last Sunday and only five targets.
Expect more this week.
If Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett uses short and intermediate passes to move the ball downfield, it’s a good bet the tight end will become the biggest target on Sunday. That could mean plenty of work for the free agent signee.
Barry Church is best known for his hit on Gronkowski that knocked him out of the AFC Title game. But the veteran was a leader on the defense and played some of his best football late in the season.
If Jacksonville uses Church again in coverage against “Gronk” I suspect he will play him as tight as he did in the playoff game. It will be interesting to see how New England’s offense plans for the Jaguars secondary.
I usually would not put so much pressure on a kicker in this situation, but if the game comes down to a field goal to win, I am confident in Josh Lambo.
Lambo has not missed a kick at home since joining the Jaguars last year. That’s important since I expect this to be a back-and-forth contest. I especially like the fact he is consistent from long distance.
Should the offense sputter again like it did against the New York Giants, Lambo may become the most important guy on the field.