New England Patriots: 5 Jaguars to fear in AFC Championship matchup

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Blake Bortles
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Blake Bortles /
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(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

5. Blake Bortles

Okay, Blake Bortles and fear don’t necessarily go in the same sentence.  However, with his performance on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New England Patriots cannot overlock his ability.  Most importantly, they can’t make him look like the next coming of Eli Manning in this game.

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In Jacksonville’s 45-42 victory over the Steelers, Bortles completed 53.8 percent of his passes for 214 yards and a touchdown.  Not great numbers, but he did enough with safe throws and his feet to keep the Jaguars’ offense on the field during crucial periods of the game.

Every Patriots fan knows the team struggles against mobile quarterbacks, they also struggle a bit when the opposing team gets their running game going.  Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia knows this as well and emphasized how good Bortles is at making plays off play action and utilizing the skill offensive players around him.

"“I think Blake Bortles does a really good job of understanding the skill players that are around him,” Patricia said during his weekly conference call.  “So it’s going to start with the run game.  Their offensive line, we’re talking about a really big, strong, consistent offensive line.”"

Patricia went on to complement Jacksonville’s running game and how Bortles feeds off of that.  If they get running back Leonard Fournette going, Bortles is capable of sneaking in a run like Marcus Mariota.

In all, the New England Patriots defense did a good job against Tennessee.  This Sunday, they will have to be equally as good to make Blake Bortles more of the quarterback he was in the wildcard playoff game against the Buffalo Bills where he threw for just 87 yards.