2018 AFCCG: Jags v. Pats (Non-Brady Edition)

8slim

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Can you imagine the rating for a Jags - Eagles super bowl?
The rating would be fine. These days the Super Bowl has a ratings floor that is independent of the teams playing, usually around a 40. Two wildly popular franchises kick it into the mid 40s.

It’s still a National holiday, despite all the political BS.
 

snowmanny

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Well, whoever wins today will have played reasonably well and won today and therefore will look like a winner and therefore will be terrifying.

There are a few teams whose employees, writers and fans have been so whiny and awful that I now wish nothing but defeat on them; the Ravens, Jets and Colts have lately pretty much obliged my wishes but the Steelios have been very very good and the sooner they go away the better.

If Pitt wins it's a week of "They largely outplayed the Patriots in that game" and "AB was out for most of that game" (neither of which is wrong, of course).

Of course if J-Ville wins it's a week of discussing Coughlin vs the Pats and the fact that even with Bortles their big, fast, smart defense could be trouble. (That's not wrong either).

I'll root for The Jagz, but can absolutely see the argument that they are the tougher matchup.

On the other side I have to root for 'Sota to lose. I like Brees and would like him to get to another Super Bowl and lose, unless the Pats have lost. And I'd like to take the whole Minny HFA out of the equation.

ed spelling and clarity
 

PayrodsFirstClutchHit

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Pats hater nation will already label this season with an asterisk due to the "refs cheating for the Patriots!".

I am for anything that angers those mouth-breathers even more. Bring on the Jags.
 

Ralphwiggum

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The Jags lost to the Jets, Cardinals 49ers, and the team the Pats dominated last night, twice. Blake Bortles is their QB.

I don’t really care all that much because the Pats should beat either team at home, but Jacksonville is the easier opponent and I don’t think it is that close.
 

jsinger121

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The Jags lost to the Jets, Cardinals 49ers, and the team the Pats dominated last night, twice. Blake Bortles is their QB.

I don’t really care all that much because the Pats should beat either team at home, but Jacksonville is the easier opponent and I don’t think it is that close.
This. The Patriots can most definitely win a low scoring game against Jacksonville if it came to that.
 

Cellar-Door

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Agreed, though I’d add the 2006 Colts who won a flu-and-heat aided shootout as well.

All that being true I still in my gut feel Jax is an easier matchup somehow
Yeah, I only used the last decade, but you could add them if you go further back.
 

Cellar-Door

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The Jags lost to the Jets, Cardinals 49ers, and the team the Pats dominated last night, twice. Blake Bortles is their QB.

I don’t really care all that much because the Pats should beat either team at home, but Jacksonville is the easier opponent and I don’t think it is that close.
Flip side of that... They obliterated a healthy Steelers heads up. And the Steelers lost to the Bears.... DA BEARS.

The transitive property doesn't work in football, matchups are too important. The question comes down to what are the weaknesses and how can they be exploited. Jaguars weaknesses are downfield QB play and run defense, their strength is pass D, pass rush, and running. The Patriots can win against that, but it really doesn't play to the Patriots' strengths, which is passing the ball.
 

SMU_Sox

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The Jags lost to the Jets, Cardinals 49ers, and the team the Pats dominated last night, twice. Blake Bortles is their QB.

I don’t really care all that much because the Pats should beat either team at home, but Jacksonville is the easier opponent and I don’t think it is that close.
Jags, please. In general I’m not worried about this offense. Who do the Pats match up better with on defense is more of a concern to me. I’ll take the Jags and, I guess, the Eagles.

NO, and PIT using Football Outsiders or traditional stats are top 5 teams on offense. I’d like to avoid those rematches if possible. Eagles with Foles are mediocre or worse on offense. JAX has some good traditional stats but 1) they play with a ton of variance from Week to week, 2) DVOA and my eyeball test agree that JAX is more of an average offense (ranked somewhere in the 12-20 range (average) as opposed to top 5 and 3) Bortles is not a good QB. Bortles would be our shaved knuckle in the hole. Edit: since fantasy references are back in and my nerd flag can fly high.
 

InstaFace

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The part of me that wants to beat the best says bring on Pittsburgh. The rest of me says the pats will have a much easier time taking out Jacksonville and beyond that, if they don't, I'd personally be much happier seeing the Jags in the Super Bowl than the Steelers. I don't see much reason to root for the Steelers today unless you have an irrational fear of a "tainted" championship won facing the murderers' row of Mariota-Bortles-Foles. Any opposing fan who cares about that is going to have a reason to crap on New England regardless, so it's just not worth worrying about.
I support this view. If it's not going to be us, I'll feel a lot better if it's Jacksonville. Their fans deserve something to cheer about.

That said, by season point differential it's Patriots +162, Jaguars +149, Steelers +98. Were it not for the Jimmy G ass-kicking they received, Jacksonville might easily lead the AFC in point differential. They are likely a better team, top-to-bottom, than the Steelers.
 

Ralphwiggum

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Flip side of that... They obliterated a healthy Steelers heads up. And the Steelers lost to the Bears.... DA BEARS.

The transitive property doesn't work in football, matchups are too important. The question comes down to what are the weaknesses and how can they be exploited. Jaguars weaknesses are downfield QB play and run defense, their strength is pass D, pass rush, and running. The Patriots can win against that, but it really doesn't play to the Patriots' strengths, which is passing the ball.
I’m not arguing the transitive property, I’m arguing that looking at the Jags wins and losses this year they are just not a strong team. The only win they had against a playoff team was the Steeler win, which looks a lot like an outlier if you look at the rest of their wins and losses. They lost to a bunch of crappy teams including the Titans twice. Sure, they have a good defense and matchups matter, but despite the head-to-head win I feel comfortable with saying the Steelers are objectively the better team. I expect a fairly easy Steeler win today so it probably won’t matter, but give me the Jags.
 

Ale Xander

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Is this a trick question?

Rapist >>>>>>> Bortles
Bell>>>Fournette and plays a style harder for Pats to control.
Brown >>> Lee or Westbrook

Sure Jaguars have a great defense, but Pats multi-disciplinary approach can keep ball away from Ramsey and Bouye. I doubt Jags will have the bravery to put Ramsey on Gronk.

Steelers also have much more experience.
 

Section30

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I want to play the Steelers as I am anticipating the announcers call, "I can't believe it! Harrison knocks Ben/Bell out of the game!"
 

johnmd20

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Is this a trick question?

Rapist >>>>>>> Bortles
Bell>>>Fournette and plays a style harder for Pats to control.
Brown >>> Lee or Westbrook

Sure Jaguars have a great defense, but Pats multi-disciplinary approach can keep ball away from Ramsey and Bouye. I doubt Jags will have the bravery to put Ramsey on Gronk.

Steelers also have much more experience.
The Pats match up much better against Pittsburgh. Teams like Jacksonville have historically given the Pats trouble, which is detailed in this thread. I'm not sure it's as simple as you're saying it is. Pittsburgh's defense is not good. Jacksonville's defense is brutal against the pass, with an incredible ball hawking defense. Further, they give the QB almost no time to pass.

I think the Pats would beat either team, because against Jviille the Pats would use their extremely talented backs, but there is no clear cut answer to this question.
 

ragnarok725

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I think it's close enough between the two teams that we are probably going to be wishing the Pats could play whichever team loses. Sometimes one team is enough of an underdog that you are rooting for an upset, but I'll likely find myself rooting against whichever team is looking better throughout the first half.
 

Blue Monkey

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I want the Steelers. Few things in life are more satisfying than beating them into submission. Year in, year out. Lather, rinse, repeat. Dream scenario... Harrison ends the game on a strip sack fumble, Renegade blares from the Gillette speakers, Big Ben retires. Steelers to the pit of misery. Dilly Dilly.

That said, fuck the Steelers. I'm all about the easier road. That road brings the Jags to Foxboro.
 

EricFeczko

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I'm baffled by the many people awed by the triple B's. Despite the fact that the Steelers have been 3-10 since BB was head coach, and 1-5 (or was it 6?) since Mike Tomlin was head coach.

Jags are a potential defensive terror for the pats. Gronk can be single covered, which frees up the secondary to adjust coverage on cooks/amendola. The Coughli-esque line makes the pass defense imposing -- QB's average 6.0 YPA (unadjusted) and sacking the QB in nearly 1/10 attempts. Steelers have the sack rate but cheat their coverage in order to get the sacks; the Steelers unadjusted is around 7.2 YPA.

I'd prefer to face the Steelers, a known and beatable entity, over a wildcard like the Jaguars.
 

Cellar-Door

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I want the Steelers if I have to pick, they're terribly coached, their defense has shown time and time again that they can't stop our offense.

Jags are incredibly high variance on offense, but also would pressure Brady, and have strong pass D at all levels. The Jags are the kind of team who we would either blow out, or lose to. The Steelers we're less likely to blow out, but I have far less fear of a loss because I don't think they could stop our offense at all.
 

alydar

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JAX lost to the Jets, Cardinals, Titans (x2), 49ers, and Rams.
The only playoff team they beat this year was the Steelers (and now Buffalo, in the playoffs).

The Jags are the kind of team who we would either blow out, or lose to. The Steelers we're less likely to blow out, but I have far less fear of a loss because I don't think they could stop our offense at all.
I think this is where I am to.
 

Soxy

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I'd prefer to face the Steelers, a known and beatable entity, over a wildcard like the Jaguars.
It is an interesting comparison. I think the Pats are more likely to beat the Jags, but the variance is also higher. The game is more likely to go sideways against them than it is the Steelers. Brady-led Pats are 21-1 in the playoffs when scoring more than 21 points. Does anyone think they score 21 or fewer points against this Steelers defense?

But I believe they're still undefeated against teams in the playoffs when they're facing them for the first time that season, right? Yes, the Pats have lost to some bad QBs in the playoffs, but Bortles would have to be the worst of the bunch. And this Jags D, as I've said before, is more a unit that thrives on turnovers and sacks than it is a true shutdown defense that makes you earn every inch. You can move the ball against them. You just have to avoid the negative plays.

I'm kind of indifferent. They both have different strengths and challenges. At home, Pats should beat either of these teams.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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The game isn't over yet, but I'm getting a strong Couglin's Giants vibe from the Jaguars right now. Pressure the QB with four and clamp down the corners. It's eerie how much their D reminds me of those Giants teams.
 

Oppo

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Jags will be playing for the 12th straight week next week and will be coming off their biggest win of the year. I'll take that.
 

Ralphwiggum

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Bortles was 9-21 for 96 yards deep into the fourth quarter. Can we not overthink this?

And for as good as the Jags D is, the Steelers put up 28 points (maybe more) with two turnovers.
 

EricFeczko

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The game isn't over yet, but I'm getting a strong Couglin's Giants vibe from the Jaguars right now. Pressure the QB with four and clamp down the corners. It's eerie how much their D reminds me of those Giants teams.
It should be eerie. Tom Coughlin works for them as the head of football operations. I'm surprised by the general/unusual overconfidence here, which also typically predates a Patriots loss. Be scared.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/12/sports/football/tom-coughlin-jacksonville-jaguars-playoffs.html


It is an interesting comparison. I think the Pats are more likely to beat the Jags, but the variance is also higher. The game is more likely to go sideways against them than it is the Steelers. Brady-led Pats are 21-1 in the playoffs when scoring more than 21 points. Does anyone think they score 21 or fewer points against this Steelers defense?

But I believe they're still undefeated against teams in the playoffs when they're facing them for the first time that season, right? Yes, the Pats have lost to some bad QBs in the playoffs, but Bortles would have to be the worst of the bunch. And this Jags D, as I've said before, is more a unit that thrives on turnovers and sacks than it is a true shutdown defense that makes you earn every inch. You can move the ball against them. You just have to avoid the negative plays.

I'm kind of indifferent. They both have different strengths and challenges. At home, Pats should beat either of these teams.
I like your concluding sentence, which is spot on. On paper, the patriots should be favored for many reasons, most of all that they are playing at home. The current NFL, generally speaking, favors passing offenses over everything else. Furthermore, there's good reason to suspect that most of the AFC is weak this year -- the Jaguars do play six games against the titans, colts, and houston.

Nevertheless, I do take issue with the idea that the Jags D thrives on turnovers and sacks. It's a true shutdown defense that usually tires by the second half. The passing defense gives up 0.5 ANYA more in the second half of games.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2017/opp.htm

As a passing defense, this unit has few weaknesses. They are fifth in opposing TD%, 1st in unadjusted yards per attempt, 2nd in sacks sack rate and sack yards, 4th in opposing attempts, 1st in completions and completion rate, 1st in yards per game, and yes, 1st in INT%. They're adjusted net yards per attempt is more than 2 lower than the league median, and 0.2 lower than the vaunted 2000 ravens defense.

One may suspect that the Jags weakness is in the running game, where they allow a muscular 4.4 YPA. However, running defenses have a lot less variance than passing defenses. The Jags are the only team to prevent scores on more than 75 percent of drives. They perform better than the patriots in red zone defense (39.3 percent of scoring), and are 4th in 3rd down conversion rate (33.6%). The average opposing drive lasts 2 minutes and 17 seconds, and averages 1.19 points a drive.

The real weakness is likely in special teams, where the Jaguars are mediocre, allowing teams to start on the 28 on average. Nevertheless, it is hard to argue that this passing defense is smoke and mirrors.
 

RSN Diaspora

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Well, not exactly what I was expecting, but I’ll take it. Can our run defense stop Fournette? Will we win the turnover fight? Most importantly, is Blake Bortles elite?
 

axx

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Just bottle up Fortinette and Yeldon and Pats win pretty easily.
 

mauf

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JAX is the tougher opponent of the two, Bortles notwithstanding. Key for the Pats is to replicate the outstanding line play (on both sides of the ball) that they got last night.