JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Tom from Jacksonville:
Tom Brady has been in the playoffs 15 times since 2001. New England has won five Super Bowls, and lost two. But they have also lost five conference championship games, two division playoff games and one wild-card game. That's losses in eight of 15 years before the Super Bowl game. Not invincible.
John: This is an important lesson to remember, and I'm sure it will be mentioned to Jaguars players at some point this week – perhaps more than once. Yes, the Patriots have won more Super Bowls than any team in the last decade and a half, but perhaps their most impressive attribute as an organization is they get to the postseason and give themselves a chance year after year after year. Once the league reaches this stage of the postseason, teams are relatively even and a play or two here or there often decides the title. Witness the Patriots' last few seasons: a couple of last-minute victories over Seattle and Atlanta in the Super Bowl, and a narrow loss to Denver in the AFC Championship Game. Had a play or two gone differently, the Patriots could be three-time defending Super Bowl champions; had a play or two gone differently the other way, they might not have won either of their last two titles. I say this not to denigrate what they have accomplished, but to make the point that they are not as invincible as they are a remarkably resilient, consistent team that takes advantage of its opportunities and plays with remarkable poise, confidence and efficiency. It's a rare attribute that I think will be more appreciated when people look back on their dynasty, a dynasty that I doubt will be duplicated any time soon. The bottom line: they are extremely difficult to beat at this stage of the postseason, but beating them is far from impossible.
Strnbker from Dothan, AL:
The Jags have had more media coverage the past two weeks than the past 10 years combined. Gotta love it. I take it drafting in the Top 5 this year is a bit of stretch?
John: I'll Google this.
Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
Zone, I'm liking the weather forecast for Sunday in Foxboro ... We can do this!
John: The forecast for Sunday in Foxboro is partly cloudy with a high of 46 degrees, and I agree that's a good forecast for the Jaguars. I didn't like the Jaguars' chances in Pittsburgh last week during the week because I envisioned a frigid field and it being so cold it would be hard to grip the ball to throw. I didn't know how Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles would handle that. When I saw Bortles moving easily and throwing well in the pregame warmups, I liked the Jaguars' chances a lot more. The longer I see the forecast in Foxboro call for decent weather, the more I'll keep liking the Jaguars' chances Sunday.
Aaron from Aldie:
John, I just think we are in a good place. The pressure is on the Patriots because if they lost to the lowly Jaguars ...
John: There's some truth to that, but I don't think pressure will bother the Patriots Sunday. They have been here a few times.
Marius from Karlsruhe, Germany:
I live in a fairly big city in Germany (300,000 people, yes this is considered big here) and on my way to the supermarket two random people walked by me raising their fist saying, "Go Jags" (I had my Jaguars baseball cap on). Well, since this is kind of new, I thought I had to report this to you.
John: That was me. Jaguars gehen.
Kyan from Le Mars:
I know it's probably not likely, but how awesome would it be if Ramsey covered Gronk all game? Ramsey and Gronk going at it, verbally and physical, would be great television.
John: Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey possibly covering Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski one-on-one was an intriguing idea early in the week, but I also doubt it happens. The Jaguars have been an elite defense all season rushing four linemen and covering with seven behind the four-man pass rush. I don't imagine they'll get very far away from that approach very often Sunday.
Marshall from St. Thomas, VI:
Mr., O, I bought a Leonard Fournette jersey to wear to the Wembley game in London and introduce my wife's cousins to American football. My wife is a Brit. They loved the game as did I. I have been wearing the same jersey all year as I watched the games this year. Going into the playoffs, I have not washed the jersey. I am in a dilemma. Do I wear the unwashed jersey next week against the hated New England team and risk offending my fellow fans or risk washing it?
John: Cleanliness is overrated. DO NOT wash the jersey. Or your other game-day clothes. Or the stuff you sleep in the night before the game.
Micky from Section 408:
Last Sunday I didn't have clean socks so I wore a pair of my girlfriend's white gym socks. Since we won, do I need to wear the same clothes and watch at the same place with the same people and eat/drink the same things?
Nate from St. Pete, FL:
I have the utmost confidence in our secondary locking down their receivers. I think the matchup of the day is Myles Jack and Telvin Smith against their tight ends, running backs and under routes. We all know New England uses the short passing game as an extension of the running game.
HD from Jacksonville:
John, when was the last time you saw a team who could win in so many different ways? Defensive battle with the Bills (10 pts), shootout with the Steelers (45 pts), blow out (against Ravens, Colts, Texans)? This team is so enigmatic, probably more so on offense than defense, which has been rock solid all year.
John: Really good teams can win in a lot of different ways. The Jaguars are more balanced than many believe, and it has shown in the postseason.
Ric from Jacksonvile:
Last year.... well let's just say Blake Bortles wasn't good. He was publically criticized and he took the criticism and took responsibility for himself. He didn't make excuses and didn't complain. He just worked as hard as he could and took every avenue available for him to improve. This year, even though he is playing substantially better, Blake is still taking criticism. But this year, it seems like it isn't just people evaluating his skill, it has become almost personal, nasty, and dirty. After last Sunday's game, he stood in front of the media and was asked about this exact issue. This was his opportunity to say what he had every reason to say: "Hey, I'm in the AFC Championship Game and all those people who had something bad to say about me are not. And I would just like to tell all of them to go "jump in a lake." Just not in those words. Instead, he stood there and just said he was happy they were going to the AFC Championship Game and all he can do is the best he can do for the team and the fans. The kid is nothing but class from the very beginning and I hope he stays in Jax as long as he wants. Here's one for Blake!
John: This has been a big reason Jaguars players have supported Bortles to the degree they have this season. They have known for a while he is better than people believe, and they have known for a while he has taken a lot of personal criticism that could rightly have been directed at others. So, yeah … one fer Blake.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
I was doing a little thinking ... for a change … and I realized how right Tom Coughlin was when talking about drafting Leonard Fournette. This team needed to get into the end zone. Fournette absolutely helps this team get in in the end zone. In a strange way, if the Jaguars get one more win, in almost doesn't matter if Fournette plays another game as a Jaguars. That pick was worth it. I don't know that we get past Pittsburgh without him on the roster.
John: Fair point.
Fred from Naples, FL:
Will the Jaguars advancing as far as they have thus far, plus all the national attention, influence the voters at all in regards to the Boselli nomination to the Hall? Is he now over the top?
John: The Jaguars' playoff run will have nothing to do with Boselli's Hall of Fame chances. The voters vote on a player's merit, not how their former team is doing.
Jeremy from Newport, RI:
I personally don't have a problem with some of the talk from our players. However, do you think it's too much? Are we putting our foot in our mouth or is this about par for the course?
John: This team talks during games. It talks after games. It occasionally talks before games. This is who these players are. There's no sense worrying about whether it's too much, too little or just right. It ain't changing anytime soon.
O-Zone: Keep talkin', keep walkin'
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Tom from Jacksonville: