Hannable: Don’t book those flights to Minnesota just yet, remember Patriots’ loss to Jets in 2010 divisional round?

Ryan Hannable
January 15, 2018 - 11:20 pm

David Butler II/USA Today Sports

FOXBORO — Look, I get it. Blake Bortles is a below average quarterback and it would be a major upset if he and the Jaguars came into Gillette Stadium and beat the Patriots in the AFC championship this Sunday.

But, it could happen.

Want proof? Just look at the 2010 divisional round game against the Jets, when the Jets stunned the Patriots, 28-21.

The teams were matched up pretty similarly to what the Patriots and Jaguars are now. 

The Jets clearly were better than the Patriots on the defensive side of the ball, as their defense was ranked third overall and sixth in points allowed, and then 11th overall on offense and 13th in points scored. The Patriots offense was first in points scored and then eighth in points allowed. This week, Jacksonville is ranked No. 2 both overall and in points allowed and then is ranked fifth in points scored, while the Patriots scored the second-most points and then came in at No. 5 in points allowed.

Both instances have the Patriots with a very good offense and a solid defense facing a team with a very good defense and a solid offense. Also, Bortles is pretty close to what Mark Sanchez was in the 2010 season.

Besides jumping out to a 14-3 lead at the half, the key to the game for the Jets was getting pressure on Tom Brady. New York sacked Brady five times and also picked him off once. This is something the Jaguars are certainly capable of doing with their powerful pass rush, as four players had at least eight sacks on the year, led by Calais Campbell, who had 14.5.

Sanchez didn’t do anything spectacular, but played mistake-free. He was 16-for-25 with 194 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The quarterback hit on a couple of big plays and then capitalized on a few Patriots mistakes, including a botched fake punt play. 

In order to beat the Patriots, Bortles and the Jaguars will need to play a mistake-free game and take advantage of any opportunities the Patriots give them.

Between the second and third quarter, the Patriots totaled 27 yards spanning six possessions, including three, three-and-outs. If the Jaguars can do this and frustrate the Patriots offense, things could start to spiral and go the Jaguars’ way.

Don’t forget the Tom Coughlin factor, either.

While it certainly isn’t as big of a deal as some are making it, it certainly at least deserves to be mentioned. Coughlin is the Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations and he has plenty of experience when it comes to beating the Patriots. The Giants, led by Coughlin, have beaten the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl. 

The way Coughlin assembled the Jaguars is similar to how the Giants teams were constructed with solid cornerbacks and a defensive line strong enough to get after the quarterback by only rushing four players. Coughlin may also get more involved in the game preparation with head coach Doug Marrone than any other week.

By no means is this suggesting the Patriots are going to lose this coming Sunday, it’s just a reminder that if the team doesn’t play its best, it’s been proven in the past it can lose to a team like this.

While it may be a good idea to get a head start on making plans for Minnesota, just make sure it’s refundable.