PREVIEW: Jacksonville Jaguars Look To Make Franchise History Against New England Patriots
By Chris Wesseling, Around the NFL Writer // January 21, 2018
Jacksonville at New England on CBS, Kickoff 3:05 p.m. ET
ABOVE VIDEO: Space Coast Daily’s Alan Zlotorzynski reports from The Backyard 321 Escape where he previews today’s AFC Championship game between the Jaguars and Patriots and special coaches broadcast.
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS (NFL) – Aloha, Mr. Hand! Just as surfers in Hawaii stand guard endlessly, month after month, for the definitive wave, football fanatics across the land lie in the lurch, awaiting a chink in the mighty Patriots’ seemingly impenetrable armor.
The early-week storylines revolved around the underdogs, praising offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s Divisional Round masterpiece in Pittsburgh, painting “Sacksonville’s” vaunted defense as New England’s worst matchup nightmare and anointing Jaguars executive vice president Tom Coughlin as a gridiron prophet possessed of a secret epiphany that otherwise unstoppable quarterbacks don’t appreciate unanticipated pressure up the gut.
By Thursday morning, those narratives had fallen by the wayside, victims of an around-the-clock vigilance on Tom Brady’s possibly mangled throwing hand. Once Brady was downgraded from Wednesday’s limited practice to no participation on Thursday, “Thumbgate” took center stage.
To what extent the midweek injury limits the greatest of all-time’s quest for an eighth Super Bowl appearance looms as a mystery likely to remain unsolved until Brady lines up under center on Sunday. To this point, word around the Foxborough campfire is cautiously optimistic.
— NFL (@NFL) January 20, 2018
From everything NFL Network insiders Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport have heard, Brady is expected to play and work himself into suitable game condition over the next few days, and he is questionable for the game. Better yet, Patriots tailback Dion Lewis appeared on Thursday’s edition of NFL Total Access, dispensing an assurance that “nobody’s really worried” about Brady’s thumb.
“From when I talked to the other guys, I knew he would be OK,” Lewis added. “You know it’s Tom, so regardless of any situation he’s put in, he’s going to be out there game day.”
Much to Doug Marrone’s dismay, Brady won’t be forced to play wrong-handed in his 12th AFC Championship Game.
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