Connect with us

Jacksonville Jaguars

Gameday- Jaguars go for upset of Patriots in AFC Championship Game

Roy Cummings



Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Jacksonville Jaguars (12-6) at New England Patriots (14-3)

Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA

When: 3:05 p.m. Sunday

What: AFC Championship Game

Spread:  Patriots (-7 1/2) U/O: 46

Why to Watch:

It obviously, needs no more build up. A bid to Super Bowl LII is at stake for the defending champion Patriots and the upstart Jaguars. While New England is playing in its seventh consecutive AFC Championship Game, it’s only the third ever for Jacksonville, and the first since January of 2000.

The Jaguars are fresh off their AFC Divisional Round upset of Pittsburgh 45-42 a week ago and their confidence is sky high. The Jags boast an outstanding defense and rookie RB Leonard Fournette (above) is the real deal.

Meanwhile, there is still uncertainty over the right hand/thumb injury that Pats QB Tom Brady suffered Wednesday in practice. And, it only adds to the drama come kickoff of this one.

Will the Patriots make their eighth Super Bowl of the Brady/Bill Belichick era or can the 2017 Jaguars make franchise history by advancing to Minnesota in two weeks?

Key Matchup:

Also, obviously, how effective can Brady be against the Jaguars ferocious rush?

If the thumb injury is truly bothering him, that will show up, immediately. This is especially since, the Jaguars will likely be able to get pressure constantly with their front four defensive line without blitzing and make Brady get rid of the ball quickly and decisively.

The Jaguars had two sacks, including a fumble return TD and another interception of Ben Roethlisberger a week ago. They finished second in the NFL in sacks in the regular season and will look to not only pressure but hit Brady early and often.

Now, even if Brady’s thumb is bothering him, he should be able to throw quickly and accurately on the Patriots bread and butter short passing routes, if there are open targets. That means that corners Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and others will be tested early on tight coverage of the likes of Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, and Chris Hogan.

Can Brady make the throws? Will the Jags pass rush let him? It’s almost time to find out.

Statistically Speaking:


That’s the number of non-offensive touchdowns the Jaguars have scored this season, through last week’s second playoff win against the Steelers.

And in that game at Heinz Field, Dante Fowler sacked Roethlisberger and Telvin Smith picked up the fumble and ran 50 yards to a touchdown. It was the seventh defensive score of the season of the Jags.

They also have scored this season on a Jaydon Mickens punt return touchdown bringing the total to eight extra TDs they’ve gotten.

Will the Jaguars be able to get another non-offensive score in this showdown with the Patriots?

If they do, it increases their win chances dramatically.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?

Florida Football Insiders



Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the key free-agent questions for the Jaguars continues to be whether or not they’re going to allow their best pass rusher, Yannick Ngakoue, to test the free-agent market coming up? And, once again, the player may be giving a clue that he’s going to do just that.

Ngakoue tweeted Wednesday morning the following phrase, which seems to indicate, yet again, that he will be playing somewhere else in 2020:

This goes along with something that we wrote earlier in January. That’s when just a couple of days after the season Ngakoue posted essentially a goodbye message to Jaguar fans. This came on the heels of him having held out for a new contract for the first few days of training camp last August, but not receiving a new deal during the season, etc.

Ngakoue, whose 37.5 career sacks are the most by a Jaguars player after 63 career games, is sure to be a sought-after player from many different teams. GM Dave Caldwell said at the end of the season when asked about re-sgning his star pass rusher, “He is a tremendous player and even a better person. How he handled his business this year was tremendous. But, I would say that’s priority No. 1, to make sure he comes back to Jacksonville. Hopefully, we can get that done. ″

It’s also worth noting that at Tuesday’s NFL Scouting Combine at media availability in Indianapolis, coach Doug Marrone repeated that he wants Ngakoue to remain in Jaguars teal and white:

However, it remains to be seen if Marrone and Caldwell are willing to “pony up” huge money for him or even potentially,  put the franchise tag on him before free agency begins next month?

Ngakoue figures to want a contract close to what the top ends are getting paid right now. Demarcus Lawrence and Frank Clark both signed five-year, over $100 million deals in 2019 and received guaranteed money that exceeded $62 million. That is massive for Jacksonville.

If the Jags opt for the “franchise tag,” then the talented end will be making around $19 million dollars, which is the current average of the top five players at his position. The Jaguars could also put the tag on him and then work on a longer term, salary cap friendly, deal that would replace the tag later in the off season.

Continue Reading

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus

Florida Football Insiders



Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

At Tuesday’s media session at the NFL Scouting Combine, Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell made official what had been rumored for the last couple of days regarding defensive tackle Marcell Dareus: he will not be brought back for a fourth season in Jacksonville.

Caldwell was a specifically asked about Dareus’ status and gave a quick answer is part of his Q&A session:

Dareus only played briefly in 2019, as he suffered a core muscle injury that sidelined him after only six games and he was placed on injured reserve. The former number one pick of the Buffalo Bills had played for coach Doug Marrone for a couple of seasons in Western New York.

Marrone and Caldwell traded for Dareus during the 2017 season and he helped them with their rise to the AFC South title and two playoff wins. This included Darius registering two sacks and four other tackles-for-loss in the Jaguars three playoff games that year.

Dareus made the Pro Bowl twice in Buffalo in 2013-14.

However, he has not lived up to his hefty contract that was reworked Jacksonville last February. Last season, Dareus made over $8 million dollars and the team would have been on the hook for $20 million this year had they picked up the option. That obviously wasn’t going to happen.

Dareus also has had legal troubles off the field, including a civil suit against him in Tampa for alleged sexual misconduct. As we wrote previously, a woman alleged that Dareus had sexually assaulted her in January of 2018 at a North Tampa Florida home, while Dareus was in town for the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff Championship Game.

However, that suit filed in Hillsborough County court was “dismissed with prejudice” last April, which means it cannot be re-filed.

Dareus, if healthy after the core muscle injury rehab, may have some value as a defensive tackle on the free agent market.

As for the Jaguars, they have former #1 pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan to play more in the middle and are trying to decide if free agent-to-be, DE Yannick Ngakoue, can be afforded for their 2020 salary cap?

Continue Reading