After two straight primetime games at Gillette Stadium, the New England Patriots will travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars in the last regular-season road game of the year.
New England nearly equaled the greatest comeback in NFL history last Sunday night against San Francisco, as only one time in league history has a team rallied to win a regular season game in which it trailed by 28 points.
The Patriots faced a 31-3 deficit with 10:21 remaining in the third quarter. The Patriots proceeded to score touchdowns on four straight possessions to tie the game at 31, but San Francisco regained the momentum and held on for a 41-34 win.
The only time in NFL history that a team has won a game in which they trailed by 28 points was on Dec. 7, 1980, when the 49ers trailed the New Orleans Saints 35-7 at halftime and came back for a 38-35 win.
On Sunday, The Patriots and Jaguars will meet for the 10th time overall and for the first time since New England claimed a 35-7 victory on Dec. 27, 2009 at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots have won all five of the regular-season games between the clubs. The two teams have faced each other four times in the playoffs, including the 1996 AFC Championship Game at Foxboro Stadium, a 20-6 New England win.
The Patriots lead the Jaguars 3-1 in postseason games.
The Patriots are 2-1 all-time in Jacksonville. The Patriots beat the Jaguars 26-20 in their first regular-season game played in Jacksonville on Dec. 7, 1997 and 24-21 in a December meeting in 2006.The Patriots lost, 25-10 in a playoff game at Jacksonville on Jan. 1, 1999.
The first playoff game between the two teams was the 1996 AFC Championship Game at Foxboro Stadium. In that contest, the Patriots beat the Jaguars, 20-6, to advance to Super Bowl XXXI. The Jaguars claimed a 25-10 win in the 1998 wild card playoffs, the Jaguars only victory against New England.
The Patriots won, 28-3, in a 2005 Divisional Playoff game and 31-20 in a 2007 Divisional Playoff game.
This week’s game will be broadcast to a regional audience by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Kevin Harlan will handle playby-play duties with Solomon Wilcots providing color.
98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 36th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action. Former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak will handle the color commentary.
Here's five things you need to know about Sunday's game.
1. The Last Time the Patriots and Jaguars Met …
New England beat Jacksonville, 35-7 on Dec. 27, 2009 at Gillette Stadium.
2. Did You Know …
Patriots All Alone in 500-Point Club: The Patriots are the first franchise in NFL history to score 500 or more points in four seasons (2007-589, 2010-518, 2011-513 and 2012-506). St. Louis is the only other team to have done it three times (1999-526, 2000-540, 2001-503). The Patriots join the 1999-01 Rams as the only teams to have scored 500 or more points in three straight years. Bill Belichick is the first head coach in NFL history to lead a team to three straight 500-point seasons.
Patriots Will Finish Season Averaging 30 Points Scored Per Game: The Patriots will finish the 2012 season averaging 30 points per game, joining the 1999-01 Rams, the 1949-51 Rams, and the 1941-43 Bears as the only teams to average at least 30 PPG in three straight years. Bill Belichick is the first head coach in NFL history to lead a team to three straight years of at least 30 PPG. Even if the Patriots do not score in their final two games, they will finish the year averaging more than 30 points per game.
Patriots Clinch Playoff Spot for 14th Time in Kraft’s 19 Years of Ownership: New England has now qualified for the playoffs 20 times in its 53-year history. The Patriots have earned 14 of those playoff berths in the 19 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths that the team earned in its first 34 years of existence. New England has won 12 AFC East crowns under Kraft’s leadership. New England has won 15 division crowns overall (14 AFC East Crowns) and has qualified as a Wild Card team on four occasions (1998, 1994, 1985 and 1976). The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 as part of a 16-team tournament following a players’ strike.
Patriots Win 10 Games for 10th Straight Season: New England has reached at least 10 regular-season wins for 10 consecutive seasons, joining San Francisco (16) as the only teams in NFL history to accomplish the feat.
Patriots Unbeaten in Regular Season vs. Jaguars: The Jaguars are one of just two teams against which the Patriots own an undefeated regular season home record (3-0). The Patriots are 3-0 against Chicago.
3. Patriots Pro Bowlers
NFL Pro Bowl balloting has finished. Fans voted for their favorite NFL players to represent the AFC and NFC in the 2013 Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The AFC and NFC All-Star squads are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third towards determining each conference’s 43-man roster. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes on Dec. 20-21. The Pro
Bowl teams will be announced at 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Dec. 26 in a Pro Bowl Selection Show on NFL Network.
QB Tom Brady (746,710) ranks second in the NFL in fan voting, behind Peyton Manning (823,372). The New England Patriots have 16 players in the top five in Pro Bowl votes in their respective positions, including three that are leading the fan vote at their positions. TE Rob Gronkowski, G Logan Mankins and LB Jerod Mayo have the most fan votes at their positions.
4. What to Watch For in Sunday’s Game at Jacksonville
With one touchdown pass against the Jaguars, Tom Brady will extend his streak to 47 straight games with at least one touchdown pass and tie Johnny Unitas (47) for the second longest streak, behind Drew Brees (54).
Brady (9) needs one more game with four touchdowns, 300 yards and no interceptions to tie Drew Brees (10) for the all-time NFL lead.
Brady has 36 games with three touchdowns and no interceptions and needs one more such game to break a second place tie with Brett Favre (36) and move into a first place tie with Peyton Manning (37).
Brady (3,752) needs 36 completions to move past Vinny Testaverde (3,787) into 8th place on the NFL’s all-time completion list.
Brady (44,255) needs 358 passing yards to move past Drew Bledsoe (45,077) into 8th place on the NFL’s all-time passing list.
Stephen Gostkowski (7-of-10) needs one more 50-yard field goal to tie Adam Vinatieri (8-of-17) for most 50-yard field goals in Patriots history.
Gostkowski has two 50-yarders so far in 2012 and can become the first Patriots player with three 50-yard field goals in a single season.
With 10 tackles, Jerod Mayo will have his 11th 10-plus-tackle game of the season. He had his 10th 10-tackle game vs. San Francisco (12/16) to match the career-high 10 10-tackle games he had in 2010.
Rob Ninkovich has a team-leading five forced fumbles. If he has one more forced fumble, he will break a tie with Mike Vrabel (five in 2007) for the most forced fumbles for a Patriots player within the last 20 years.
Wes Welker (17) needs one more 10-plus-catch game to break a tie with Jerry Rice (17) for the most 10-catch games in NFL history.
Welker needs one reception to extend his streak to 92 straight regular-season games with at least one reception as a member of the Patriots to extend his franchise record. Welker has an overall streak of 108 straight regular-season games with at least one reception, including his time with the Miami Dolphins.
The Patriots defense has forced a turnover in 25 straight games, dating back to 2011 and including the first 14 games of 2012. The last NFL team to have at least one takeaway in all 16 regular season games was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.
The Patriots have scored 30 or more points 10 times in 2012 and can tie the NFL record of 12 set by the 2011 and 2007 Patriots teams and the 1999 St. Louis Rams with 30-point games against Jacksonville and Miami.
The Patriots have scored 23 rushing touchdowns in 2012 and need one more to match the 24 they had in 1976 for the second highest total in team history to the 30 the team had in 1978.
5. Patriots-Jaguars Connections
New England Ties
- Jaguars LS Jeremy Cain played linebacker at the University of Massachusetts from 1999-2003.
- Jaguars DT Terrance Knighton is a native of Hartford, Conn.
- Jaguars RB Montell Owens played at the University of Maine from 2002-05.
- Jaguars LB Julian Stanford is a native of Bloomfield, Conn.
- Jaguars RB Jordan Todman is a native of North Dartmouth, Mass. and played at the University of Connecticut from 2008-10.
- Jaguars CB Antwaun Molden appeared in all 16 regular-season games and three postseason games with the Patriots in 2011. Molden made two starts for New England and recorded 28 defensive tackles during the season.
Jacksonville, Fla. Ties
- Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez and Patriots LB Brandon Spikes played at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, Fla.
- Patriots OL Dan Connolly was original signed by the Jaguars as a rookie free agent in 2005. Connolly appeared in four games as a rookie in 2005, but spent the entire 2006 season on the reserve/injured list.
- Patriots LB Tracy White appeared in 15 games for the Jaguars in 2005.
- Jaguars QB Chad Henne played with Patriots OL Donald Thomas in Miami from 2008-09. Henne also teamed up with Patriots DL Rob Ninkovich in Miami in 2008.
- Jaguars DE Jason Babin and Patriots WR Deion Branch played together for the Seattle Seahawks from 2007-08.
- Babin was defensive teammates with Patriots LB Niko Koutouvides for one season in Seattle (2007). Jaguars C Steve Vallos also played two seasons with Branch in Seattle (2008-09).
- Jaguars DE Jason Babin spent the 2009 season with Patriots LB Tracy White in Philadelphia.
- Patriots TE Daniel Fells and Jaguars WR Quan Crosby played for the Denver Broncos in 2011.
- Patriots S Derrick Martin, Jaguars CB Aaron Ross and Jaguars LB Greg Jones were all members of the New York
- Patriots S Derrick Martin and Jaguars S Dawan Landry played together in the Baltimore Ravens secondary in 2006.
- Patriots RB Danny Woodhead and Jaguars DL C.J. Mosley played one season with the New York Jets (2008).
- Patriots CB Aqib Talib and Jaguars WR Jordan Shipley spent the beginning of the 2012 season together playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Patriots TE Michael Hoomanawanui and Patriots TE Daniel Fells played with Jaguars DE George Selvie in St. Louis during the 2010 season.
Former College Teammates
- Patriots P Zoltan Mesko and Jaguars QB Chad Henne played together at the University of Michigan from 2005-07.
- Mesko also played two seasons (2007-08) with Jaguars WR Toney Clemons before Clemons transferred to the University of Colorado in 2009.
- Patriots WR Matthew Slater teamed up with Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew and Jaguars TE Mercedes Lewis at UCLA from 2003-05. Slater also played with Jaguars LB Kyle Bosworth for three seasons at UCLA (2005-07).
- Patriots RB Stevan Ridley and Jaguars RB Richard Murphy were teammates at LSU from 2007-10.
- During his time at California, Patriots RB Shane Vereen played with Jaguars DT Tyson Alualu (2007-09), Jaguars P Bryan Anger (2007-10) and Jaguars RB Will Ta’ufo’ou (2007-08).
- Patriots T Nate Solder teamed up with Jaguars WR Toney Clemons at the University of Colorado from 2009-10.
- Patriots CB Alfonzo Dennard and Jaguars TE Zach Potter were teammates at Nebraska in 2008.
- Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski and Jaguars OL Eben Britton played together at the University of Arizona from 2007-08.
- Patriots OL Nick McDonald and Jaguars OL Cameron Bradfield played together on the Grand Valley State offensive line from 2005-09.
- Patriots LS Danny Aiken and Jaguars T Eugene Monroe played together at the University of Virginia from 2007-08.