Pre-Game Meal: Jacksonville Jaguars

‘Tis The Season:

Happy Holidays to everyone; mostly just the readers! December gives us Americans plenty of good things to look forward to: Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, My Brithday, great food, bright lights, and happiness all around. If you play football, however, December is the one of the more serious stretches of games that focus on Playoff standings and staying healthy. The sacrifices that these athletes make in order for us to enjoy our favorite sport (and get seven-figure paychecks) are pretty impressive. Practices continues and the fate of the season is left to the effort that our teams put in. Let’s give a big, old thanks, because for them, there is no real holiday.

With two weeks left in the NFL regular-season and no guarantees, the Patriots look to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars and defend their undefeated record in Foxboro. This game is by no means just a walk in the park. It’s going to take a good week of dedication and effort, as well as a solid display on the field, for New England to get one step closer to the Playoffs.

Winter Holiday Weekly Match-Ups:

* Tom Brady vs. Expectations – Since 2003, Tom and the Pats are 26-3-0 in the month of December. This is the time where Belichick seals off all of the loose ends and the boys get ready for the long, cold Playoff road. While some people may be calling the Patriots’ win over the Bills “sloppy”, a win is a win and it is what it is. Sure Tom wasn’t at the media portion of practice on Wednesday, his newborn baby Benjamin is getting ready for his first Christmas! After looking at tape and preparing under Bill, expect Tom and the boys to come out more confident and sure of themselves. If that wasn’t enough, Tom Brady is 4-0 overall against the Jags with 940 yards, 9 TDs, and 0 INTs. A lot is at stake this weekend and the Pats’ leader knows it. He’ll be ready to play.

* Randy Moss vs. Rashean Mathis – Mathis may be one of the more underrated CBs in the league. He plays is such a manner that he bears a resemblance to former Patriots CB, Asante Samuel. Hopefully, this can help the offense prepare to face him. Rashean is playing well this year with 31 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 3 INTs. Randy will do his thing against Mathis and the rest of Jacksonville’s secondary to try to open up himself and his fellow wide receivers.

* “Fredvenge” Taylor vs. The Jags – Fred Taylor may work out with former Jaguar teammate Maurice Jones-Drew, but come Sunday, all friendships will be left at home. Taylor has not played for the Patriots since October 4th but has been practicing, limited, nursing a right ankle injury. I’m hoping that he gets his chance to come out and make a statement this weekend. We all know he wants to.

* The-Little-Cannonball-That-Could vs. Everyone – WOW! The NFL rushing TD leader (prior to SD/TEN) comes to Foxboro. He sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber while his girlfriend sleeps alone so that pure oxygen can better his, already remarkable, athletic abilities. Maurice Jones-Drew is averaging 4.5 yards per carry while maintaining 3rd place in the league with 1,246 rushing yards and 1st place with 15 TDs. To say the very least, MJD is a scoring machine. He is strong, fast, elusive, and not only can he run hard, he is also a boss in the passing game. Last week alone he had 110 yards on the ground and another 5 receptions for 30 yards for 2 scores (1 rush/1 pass)! It’s going to take a miracle to slow him down, so it’s better that we only ask for a solid defensive stand. Jerod Mayo and his linebacking buddies cannot allow 4.5 YPC. At all. Their going to have to make solid tackles while applying consistent pressure to make sure MJD doesn’t get to blow through the safeties. The NFL should allow Jones-Drew’s opposing teams to have 12 or 13 men on the field. Ugh.

* David Garrard vs. The Patriot Primary – Bill Belichick praised Garrard saying that even though he doesn’t “light up the scoreboard” with passing stats, he may be the “best rushing quarterback in the league”. That is some serious talk to consider. He is playing consistently well with 13 TDs, 7 INTs, 3,210 yards, and a passer rating of 85.1. Garrard may have lost the last 3 out of 4 games, but he is 2-1 against the AFC East this year, with his lone loss coming at the hands of the Dolphins; a Florida rival. Garrard spreads the ball well to TE Mercedes Lewis, MJD, Torry Holt, and WR Mike Sims-Walker so the defense cannot single out one player. With staple players like Wilfork returning to practice this week, hopefully the Patriots pass rush will be more threatening than it was last week. Clutch, fourth-quarter sacks (3) by Tully Banta-Cain helped seal a win over Buffalo last week and has paved the way for the rest of the defense to follow. Pressure allows the secondary to protect better, which decreases the Jags’ chances of scoring touchdowns and increases the probability of a Patriot victory.

* The Jacksonville Jedi vs. The Patriot Secondary – How can the defensive back-fielders be referred to as the “secondary” when the front seven aren’t the “primary”? Just kidding, I know the answer… just sayin’. Mike Sims-Walker, no relation whatsoever to Luke Skywalker, has emerged as a star (real life and fantasy) as well as a deep threat for Jacksonville. Sims-Walker has displayed his value to Jacksonville by accumulating 822 yards with 7 TDs in 13 games (in Week 1 he barely played). In Week 5, when he did not play, the Jaguars failed to move the ball or score a single point during a 41-0 road blowout by the Seattle Seahawks. Leigh Bodden, or whoever is assigned MSW-as it appears that I may have lost my guessing touch-will have to be physical and smart when defending this 6’2″, 214 lb WR.

Praise Where Praise Is Due:

Congratulations on an outstanding season to all the Patriot players. A special congrats goes out to Vince Wilfork, Randy Moss, Tom Brady, Brandon Meriweather, and Jerod Mayo who have all placed within the top 3 in the AFC Pro-Bowl voting for their respective positions. Why Wes Welker isn’t #1 is beyond me. That man is my MVP candidate; but I’m pretty biased. However, his stats cannot and should not be ignored. He is a receiving animal with the heart of a warrior. Shame on “football fans” and whoever didn’t vote for Wes; you guys are idiots. Here comes my petition to change the name of the Pro-Bowl to the Popularity Bowl.

Whether it be a New England win/tie OR a Miami loss/tie (ignore Miami, let’s just win!), the Pats are the AFC East Champions and locked into the postseason action. So sit back, relax, enjoy your eggnog, and watch some football. Just don’t expect our guys to do the same…

Thanks for feasting & Go Patriots!

-B.DelaBarrera (follow Brian on twitter: @bdelabarrera)


2 Responses to “Pre-Game Meal: Jacksonville Jaguars”

  1. Anonymous says:

    let me give you some insight to what is going on in detroit. They are not going to draft a OT….coach is pretty straight forward and he believes they need help at og not ot they will take a DT

  2. florida ted says:

    Like this draft aa lot of thought put into this. I see patriots trading round 1 for a 2 this yeatr and a 4 next. i really don’t see Clausen going #1 either Suh is a man amoung boys and a once in a life time player. Coach Hoodie has to stop taking tighends in the warly rounds there are more needy possitions that have to be filled d line o line,dback,running back(Gerhart???)

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