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Jaguars v. Patriots: Thusday Link Maddness

There's so much being written out there about the Jaguars that I'm almost overwhelmed keeping up with them all.  Seriously, I've got 18 tabs of articles and statistics for a game preview that I'm writing and every time I look Google News has something else.

Anyhow, let's take a look at what's going on out there in the intertubes...

The Boston Globe has a nice piece about former Jaguar Kyle Brady.  It's nice because it's not about asterisks, "bulletin boards" or other nonsense.  I also like how the reporter asked Kyle Brady about playing with Derek Landri, who was drafted after Kyle left in Free Agency.  For the record, I think that Kyle Brady is the only good part of the Patriots Story this season, he's one hell of a physical player and were he to get a ring, I'd be damn happy for him:

"Spicer and [Reggie] Hayward are bigger and more physical guys, but [Bobby] McCray is a quicker guy [at defensive end]," Brady said. "Then there's Brent Hawkins, who plays out there at end sometimes in rush situations, and he's a quick guy with a good number of moves."

Gil Brandt, who's one hell of a talent scout, puts Paul Spicer as the key man in putting pressure on Tom Brady:

Spicer is a very good pass rusher with long arms, and he excels at the "rip under" inside move and the "pull punch" rush move. He has very good ability to get his hips up-field and could present problems to Patriots left tackle Matt Light. Spicer is Jacksonville's team leader in sacks with 7.5 during regular season (he had another one in last week's wild-card win over Pittsburgh).

The Boston Herald went an interesting route and interviewed a few leading defensive backs for advice on how they defend Randy Moss.  Lito Shephepa had this to say:

"Across the board, it's going to be tough for them, as far as Jacksonville's secondary," he said. "I'm not saying they don't have a pretty good secondary, but the Pats have four or five receivers they can put out there. It's going to be a tough matchup. It's going to be interesting to see how they attempt to stop them. With the type of defense they play, I don't think it's a man-type scheme, so I want to see what they have planned. I think the personnel we had, what we had in the back end allowed us to play the type of game we did."

Jeremy Green of ESPN and Scout.com decided to be the token "fall on the sword guy" and picked the Jaguars to win:

Nearly a month ago, I wrote a blog that said if they met in the playoffs, the Jacksonville Jaguars would beat the New England Patriots. Apparently, not everyone agreed. My inbox was flooded with hate mail and questions about my sanity. Some people wanted to know whether I had a recent concussion that went untreated. Eventually, the e-mails softened and users told me it was moot because the Jaguars would not even advance out of the first round to meet the Patriots.

Wickersham: Giant upset
With Eli Manning hot (6 TD passes past two games), Jessica Simpson distracting (Tony Romo fling) and Brandon Jacobs on a roll (5 yards per carry), the Giants are a lock Sunday. Seth Wickersham

Well, thanks to San Diego and Jacksonville winning their wild-card playoff games, my predicted matchup is here: Jags against the Patriots. So am I ready to take it back? Absolutely not. Despite the mild forecast (I was hoping for some snow and wind), I'm still picking the Jaguars.

Not to cite too many Boston papers, but they've produced an interesting article with Titans Coach Jeff Fisher, Raiders Coach Lane Kiffen, and Texans Special Teams Coach Joe Marciano.  In it, the three coaches talk about what it's like to play the Jaguars and what to expect:

"When they put themselves in a situation where they need to defend a one-dimensional game, they do so. They're very well-disciplined in their pass-coverage technique, and you know they'll be very well-prepared for this game.

"Like most games, this will likely be determined by turnovers, big plays, and missed opportunities. The Jaguars have been fairly effective and successful on the road [6-3], and one thing you notice is that they are not going to change their style. They will run first, make good decisions, convert third downs, and take some opportunities downfield. They're going to do whatever it takes to keep the football."

The Special Teams are sure to be a big element of Saturday's game, and ESPN's Michael Smith show's how the Jaguars Special Teams can dominate:

Please pardon the cliché, but had someone told me that David Garrard would go 9-of-21 with two picks while Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew would combine to rush for 77 yards, I'd have said Jacksonville had no chance to win at Pittsburgh last Saturday night.

Of course, it helped the Jaguars' cause that both of their touchdown drives began in Steelers territory (one thanks to an interception), and the game-winning drive started at the Jags' 49.

So there you go, something to chew on while you're waiting to read my HUGE GAME PREVIEW tomorrow morning!

-Chris