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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Jacksonville out for revenge over New England

Patriots in for a hostile reception

Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles
1 of 1

Sky Sports Action, 9.25pm Sunday

Revenge is in the air in Florida and Jacksonville have a fine chance to pay back New England for their defeat in last season's AFC Championship game.

The upstart Jaguars led 20-10 at Foxborough with less than nine minutes remaining but couldn't close the deal and Tom Brady led the Patriots to the Super Bowl with two touchdown passes to Danny Amendola.

But Amendola, now with Miami, and the suspended Julian Edelman won't be there to help out and nor do the Patriots have as many options on the ground as they would like after Jeremy Hill suffered a knee injury in their 27-20 win over Houston last week.

That puts even more emphasis than usual on the performance of tight end Rob Gronkowski while running back James White, often an unsung bit-part player, will be called upon much more.

The question is whether that will be enough against one of the league's best defences. 

The Jaguars got off to a sound start with a 20-15 road win against the New York Giants and after tackling top receiver Odell Beckham and running back Saquon Barkley in their opener, they should be confident of beating the Patriots for the first time.

It looks unlikely that running back Leonard Fournette will be passed fit after injuring his hamstring in New York, but his deputy TJ Yeldon is no slouch and much-maligned quarterback Blake Bortles is unlikely to be asked to take too many risks.

The home fans should be at fever pitch for their home opener and they could roar the Jaguars to a famous victory.

Recommendation
Jacksonville
1pt 21-20 Betfred, Coral, Ladbrokes

The lowdown

Venue TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Florida

Surface Grass

Weather Humid with a slim chance of rain

Vegas handicap line New England -1

Vegas total points line 44.5

Key stat The total has gone under in four of the teams' last five meetings

Team news
New England
Running back Jeremy Hill (knee) will miss the rest of the season. Wide receiver Julian Edelman is suspended for the first four games. Running backs Rex Burkhead (concussion) and Sony Michel (knee), offensive tackle Marcus Cannon (calf) and cornerback Keion Crossen (hamstring) are rated questionable.

Jacksonville 
Running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) is a doubt.


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The Jaguars got off to a sound start with a 20-15 road win against the New York Giants
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