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Patriots need Chris Hogan to come up big vs. Jaguars

Ryan Hannable
September 14, 2018 - 11:09 am

FOXBORO -- There's no question about it, Sunday's game in Jacksonville is going to be a tough one for the Patriots.

The Jaguars have one of the best defenses in the league and the Patriots will not be working with a full deck of cards.

At running back, Rex Burkhead (concussion) and Sony Michel (knee) are uncertain to play, which leaves James White as the only healthy running back on the active roster as of Friday. Although, it's likely a player on the practice squad is promoted for the game, probably Kenneth Farrow. Then at wide receiver, without Julian Edelman, the Patriots are left with Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson, Corey Coleman and Bennie Fowler on the depth chart.

There's not much there for players who have a lot of experience working with Tom Brady, besides Hogan. But, dating back to his shoulder injury last year, he hasn't really been the same player. Hogan did have a good game in Super Bowl LII, but last week against the Texans he had just one catch on five targets for 11 yards, and then in the AFC title game last year against the Jaguars he had two catches on four targets for 20 yards.

The Patriots need Hogan to be better and be a player Brady can count on when he needs a big play.

Related: Watch every Patriots game live online this season at fuboTV

In the AFC championship game, the Jaguars had star corner Jalen Ramsey on Hogan for much of the game, but we don't see that being the case this week. It's likely Ramsey and the Jaguars play cover-3 and have their corners stick to sides, or perhaps throw him on Rob Gronkowski every once in awhile. This opens the door for Hogan to make a few plays.

Without Edelman and Danny Amendola, Brady doesn't have any go-to wide receivers and Hogan needs to step up and be that guy, especially until Edelman returns in Week 5. Hogan is more of a No. 2 or 3 receiver, but he needs to elevate his game given the current situation on offense.

For the first time in quite some time the veteran appears healthy, so there's nothing prohibiting him from stepping up and being the best receiver on the field for the Patriots. Also, keep in mind the Patriots are 13-2 when Hogan has more than 50 yards receiving in his two years with the team. As he goes, so does the Patriots offense.

New England has gotten away with a lack of production of Hogan in some games, but going against Jacksonville this week, that may not be the case. 

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