The New England Patriots are supposed to be in the AFC Championship Game. It’s their record seventh straight trip behind arguably the best coach and quarterback in NFL history. The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t supposed to be here but could be a rising power in the conference. It’s the No. 1 seed vs. the No. 3 in conference championship Sunday’s first game with the Pats as solid home favorites in the NFL odds.
Jaguars at Patriots AFC Championship Odds & Expert PickWhen: Sunday, 3:05 PM ETWhere: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.TV: CBSRadio: 1010 AM (Jacksonville) / 98.5 FM (New England)Stream Option: NFL LiveOpening AFC Championship Lines: Patriots -9.5 (46.5)
- Clear: 6°C/42°F
- Humidity: 56%
- Precipitation: 4%
- Wind: 8 mph SW
- Cloud Cover: 26%
- Type of Stadium: Open
Last MeetingIn Week 3 of the 2015 season, the Jaguars visited New England and were bombed 51-17. Tom Brady threw for 358 yards and two scores. LeGarrette Blount, who is now with the Philadelphia Eagles, rushed for three touchdowns. Blake Bortles was 17 of 33 for 242 yards, two scores and a pick. The Jags had just 57 yards rushing on 20 carries – but they didn’t have Leonard Fournette then. In fact, that team isn’t in the same galaxy as this one.The Patriots are 10-1 in their history against Jacksonville, and the Jaguars have never won at Foxboro (0-7). The last six meetings between these teams at New England have ended in double-digit Patriots wins with an average margin of victory of 21.0 points.
Why Bet on Jacksonville?It’s the third AFC title game for the Jags, and they are 0-2 in them. Jacksonville has faced New England four times in the playoffs and is 1-3. Of course, this is Blake Bortles’ first-ever postseason. During the Super Bowl era, only one quarterback making his postseason debut has defeated the Patriots. That came in the 1985 Super Bowl when Jim McMahon led the Chicago Bears to a championship.Jacksonville surprised the Steelers in a shocking shootout last week, 45-42 – the most points scored ever by a team in a playoff game in Pittsburgh – including the Steelers. Fournette gained 109 yards on 25 carries, including three touchdowns. He became the youngest player in the Super Bowl era to rush for 100 yards and 3 TD in a playoff game. The 87 combined points in the Jaguars-Steelers game were the 4th-most in a single playoff game and the most in a game after the Wild Card Playoffs. The Jaguars are now 5-1 at Heinz Field since the Steelers drafted Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, including the postseason.The Jaguars were the sixth team to return to Pittsburgh for a playoff game after defeating the Steelers there during the regular season. Only one of the first five teams won at Pittsburgh in the playoffs, but that team was Jacksonville 10 years ago.One key for Jacksonville here will be the pass rush, which was second in the NFL in sacks during the regular season. The last time the Patriots lost in the playoffs, against Denver in the 2015 AFC championship, Brady was hit 17 times. Brady also was rattled in his two Super Bowl losses to the Giants.Jacksonville has one of the NFL’s best pass rushes, led by Calais Campbell (14.5 sacks), Yannick Ngakoue (12 sacks), Malik Jackson (eight sacks), and Dante Fowler Jr. (eight sacks). Brady was sacked 35 times during the regular season, which is the fourth highest in his career.
Why Bet on New England?The Patriots have advanced to their 14th AFC Championship Game, tied with Dallas for the third most in NFL history. The seven straight adds to New England’s record. The overall mark for conference title appearances is 16 by Pittsburgh. The Patriots are 9-4 in AFC Championship Games, including a 6-1 record at home and a 5-1 record at Gillette Stadium.New England had little trouble last Saturday night in a 35-14 win over Tennessee. The Patriots scored 30 points for the fourth straight postseason game after scoring 30 points in all three postseason games in 2016. They registered 31 first downs, marking the third time in team history that the Patriots have recorded at least 30 first downs in a postseason game. The Patriots had 37 first downs vs. Atlanta in Super Bowl LI and 31 vs Denver on Jan. 14, 2012 in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game.Brady threw three touchdowns against Tennessee to extend his NFL record for the most multi-TD passes in the playoffs with 21. Brady has thrown at least two touchdown passes in four straight postseason games. He now has 10 career playoff games with three or more passing touchdowns, passing Joe Montana (9) for the most in the Super Bowl era. Brady also threw for 337 yards to extend his NFL record to 13 career 300-yard games in the postseason. RB Dion Lewis had 141 yards from scrimmage (62 yards rushing and 79 yards receiving). The Patriots are 7-0 when Lewis gains 100 yards or more from scrimmage.The Patriots defense set a team postseason record with eight sacks against Tennessee. The previous record was six sacks vs. Jacksonville on Jan. 7, 2006. The eight postseason sacks are tied for the second-most in a postseason game. Since 2001, the Patriots are 37-1 when they have five or more sacks in a game. Their only loss was at Pittsburgh in 2011.
Latest AFC Championship Betting Trends
- Jacksonville is 8-4 ATS in the last 12 games on the road
- Jacksonville is 9-3 SU in the last 12 games
- The total went OVER in 4 of Jacksonville’s last 6 games
- New England is 10-1 ATS in the last 11 games
- New England is 12-1 SU in the last 13 games
- The total went UNDER in 9 of New England’s last 13 games