The Jaguars face their toughest opponent of the season today as they square off against the New England Patriots. While it will be a battle between the two teams on each side of the ball, I'm looking for a specific individual matchup that could potentially make-or-break the game for Jacksonville.
But "individual matchups" does not necessarily mean just two players facing off against each other. It could be the Jaguars secondary vs. the Patriots receiving core, Allen Robinson vs. Malcolm Butler, and more.
My matchup of the week is the Jaguars pass rush vs. Tom Brady.
Jaguars pass rush vs. Tom Brady
Tom Brady is a future hall of fame quarterback, there's no way around it. He's one of the best to ever play the game, and he finds defense's weak spots and tears them apart. Through two games this season, Brady has thrown for 754 yards, tossed seven touchdowns, and not thrown a single interception.
What makes matters worse is that Brady has weapons like all-pro tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman. Both pro bowl players, Gronk has been marked as "undefendable", and Edelman is a speedy, physical receiver. These two players have recorded a combined for 401 yards and six touchdowns in two games.
What makes the matter even worse is that the Jaguars pass rush is pretty sketchy. The starting LEO pass rusher and former first round pick Dante Fowler Jr. is out with a torn ACL, defensive tackle and leader of the defensive line, Sen'Derrick Marks, is still recovering from his torn ACL, and Andre Branch is still out with a sprained MCL.
However, don't get too low on this pass rush yet.
Last week, the Jaguars pass rush contained Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill very well, creating pressure on 37% of his drop backs. On the Dolphins last drive of the game, Jared Odrick sacked Tannehill and caused a fumble to pin the Dolphins at the one yard line.
The Jaguars pass rush is undoubtedly plagued, but they can still find ways to cause an impact (hopefully positive) on today's game.
How the Jaguars can win the matchup:
As mentioned before, Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game, so it will take a complete team effort from the Jaguars defense to stop the Patriots scary offensive.
However, from the perspective of the pass rush, the Jaguars need to create pressure on as many of Brady's drop backs as possible. If the Jaguars can create this pressure on Brady, then the Patriots passing attack will be weakened, which could give the Jaguars the edge to win the game.