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5 questions with Pats Pulpit: Patriots defensive tackles and cornerbacks are weak links

The Jaguars will face the Patriots in Week 3 and to prepare, we asked Richard Hill of Pats Pulpit five questions about this week's opponent.

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1. Last week, if the Buffalo Bills defense held in the fourth quarter, they had a real chance in that game. What were they able to do well to hang in the game late, and do you think the Jaguars can do the same?

The Patriots went into the fourth quarter with a three score lead and the Bills really shouldn't have been in the game at that point. The Patriots failed two fourth-and-one situations because, in my view, they wanted to go for the throat of Rex Ryan instead of just winning the game. On these fourth down plays, Tom Brady threw the ball deep to Julian Edelman. If successful, the Patriots would've scored- but if they just completed a first down pass, they could've continued to drain more of the clock. So if Gus Bradley is able to taunt the Patriots prior to the game, maybe New England will make the same bad mistakes. But Buffalo shouldn't have ever had a chance in the fourth quarter.

But when Buffalo had the ball, the Patriots went in prevent for one drive and Buffalo easily moved the ball down the field for a score. After that, the Bills just picked on Bradley Fletcher whenever he was on the field, using the athleticism of the receiver he was covering to drive down the field. Fletcher doesn't have the speed to keep up so he either earns a penalty or allows a big play. If the Patriots use Fletcher, Blake Bortles needs to target him every time.

2. What's the greatest deficiency on the Patriots defense? How should an opposing offensive coordinator game plan against it?

The Patriots defense is actually pretty solid and plays complementary football. Eight players are on the field for pretty much every down (the two safeties, two corners, two linebackers, and two edge defenders). The Jaguars should game plan to attack the three players that aren't always on the field.

Those are the defensive tackles and the nickelback. The third corner is either Bradley Fletcher or Logan Ryan and both are liabilities. Ryan has a higher ceiling but he's inconsistent and lacks recovery speed. If he's beaten cleanly by a receiver, it'll be an easy first down. Fletcher is more consistent and is competitive when the play is in front of him, but he's easy to burn.

The Patriots defensive tackles are Sealver Siliga, Alan Branch, and Malcom Brown (Dominque Easley is recovering from a mild hip injury). Siliga is the best of the three, but he's liable to attack the wrong gap in the run game. Branch is the veteran and he's probably the least athletic of the three. He uses his monstrous frame and wing span to win, but can be more easily blocked out/avoided. Brown is a rookie who is still learning the ropes. Simple seal blocks can keep him out of rushing lanes.

If the Jaguars want to move the ball on the Patriots defense, they need to trust their run game and take advantage of the aggressive front by opening cutback lanes. And attacking Bradley Fletcher.

3. What's Tom Brady's window? How much longer does he have?

It is believed that every time someone questions Brady's window, he will continue to play for one more day. He's expected to play until he's 60.

But seriously, I have no clue. In 2013 Brady was struggling with pressure up the interior and the touch on his deep ball was abysmal. In 2014 he learned how to better maneuver outside of the pocket and even how to scramble for a first down. And in 2015, the touch on his deep passes are the best I've seen from him since 2010-11.

The biggest weakness for Brady is that the offensive line is comprised of three rookies so he doesn't have too long to develop plays, but he somehow still makes it work with presnap motions to ensure his first read is for a positive play. His deep ball was never amazing so the quick passes actually play into his skill set.

Time always catches up. Maybe he'll take a weird hit that breaks something. But with his skill set (short passes outside, deep up the seam, presnap analysis) his deterioration won't be as sudden. He wants to play until his mid-40s. I don't see the horizon just yet.

4. Is there a Jaguars player on either side of the ball that you say, "If the Patriots don't stop him, we're in trouble"?

Definitely. We saw Jared Odrick wreck havoc against the Dolphins last week and we saw him constantly while he was in the division. He's very capable and versatile in how he can play. Bills defensive Kyle Williams managed to disrupt a few passing plays by attacking inexperienced rookie Shaq Mason, so if Odrick can have his time against Shaq, he could end a few drives with solid pass rushes.

On offense, Allen Robinson looks like the real deal as the top target. The Patriots need to make sure he's covered so Bortles has to go through his reads and hold onto the ball. If Robinson is racking up the numbers, it means the secondary has utterly failed and the pass rush won't matter. That's not a good sign for the defense.

5. What's the best chance the Jaguars have at winning on Sunday? Will it even be close or are we losing by a couple of possessions?

Personally, I like the Jaguars and think they're a very well-rounded and balanced team in all facets, but I still think they're two years from clawing into playoff contention. Every position is really young and it takes time to develop quality players. But I would say that the the Steelers and Bills are a few steps ahead of Jacksonville at this point. The Patriots had multiple score leads on both teams before garbage time closed the difference. The Patriots rarely cover the spread when they're double digit favorites, but they also rarely lose. I would choose the Patriots to win, but Jacksonville covers the spread.