If the AFC comes to a change of guard, visiting the Patriots in Jacksonville on Sunday would be a perfect time.
Unless you look at the numbers that say Tom does not lose Brady to the Jaguars.
Jacksonville had a 10-point lead at New England in the second half of the AFC championship game last January before Brady unleashed his magic. It should not have been a surprise in this matchup: Brady is 8-0 against the Jaguars, the only AFC team without a win against five-time Super Bowl champions and triple league MVP. He has 19 TDs and two interceptions against Jacksonville, while more than 70 percent of his passes have been completed for more than 1800 yards.
So releasing Brady is a must for Jacksonville in this fight of the opening player, who could be crucial for the AFC playoffs.
"It's going to be an emotional environment," Brady said. "I think everyone, whenever you play some of the best teams, you want to see where you are measured, and this defense was rated very high last year and I could see why, we practiced against them, they were very good have a lot of very talented players – some of the guys who are probably the best in their position so it will be a great environment for football. "
Brady has 224 career wins, a shy NFL record held by kicker Adam Vinatieri whose Colts are in Washington.
Jacksonville could be inferior in a key area: when reversing Leonard Fournette has problems with the Achilles tendon and the Jaguar need a strong running play to keep Brady on the sidelines.
T.J. Yeldon would make the start if Fournette could not go.
"He has always been good," said coach Doug Marrone about Yeldon. "I think he's more explosive, he's stronger, he's hard to grasp, I think he can carry a load."
Belichick said the Patriots' defense would be challenged by the Jacksonville Running Backs, whether it's Fournette, Yeldon or both.
"It's a difficult combination," said Belichick. "Both are really good – different but explosive, Tackling is going to be a big topic for us this week, these guys are hard to handle, they make many yards with their running skills, so it's half the battle to defeat the blocks and getting in position, and then the other half will do the tactics and bring them to the ground, which will be a big challenge for us, these guys are good. "
During the offseason, Yeldon lost weight in preparation for the campaign, coming in for less than 220 pounds for the first time in his NFL career.
"I feel better, lighter, faster, faster, more explosive," said Yeldon. "I feel like it makes a big difference, I can cut better, I do a lot of things better, I feel better this way."
Marrone said that Yeldon came into the season and did his best.
In Alabama, Yeldon ran for 3,322 yards and 37 touchdowns in three seasons, before Jacksonville joined Jacksonville as the second round draft in 2015.
SONY MICHEL was not formally activated for the game on Sunday, joining colleagues back Rex Burkhead – along with offensive attacks Marcus Cannon (calves) and defensive back Keiion Crossen (hamstring) – as questionable in the injury report.
But the Patriots rookie knows what he'll be dealing with when he gets the chance to make his NFL debut.
While Michel produced general-purpose yards for Georgia last year, Jacksonville was second in the NFL overall defense (286.1 ypg), allowed points (16.8) and sacks (55). And the Jaguars opened after the victory over the Giants last week, the third-rate defense in the AFC.
"They have a great defense and they are fast," Michel said after training on Friday. "They are running well and trying to make a profit, and I'm looking forward to the game."
The 5-foot-11, 215-pound first-round draft pick suffered a knee injury early in the training camp, and missed the four preseason games and the regular Seson opener against Houston.
The lack of depth of the patriots in running back could dictate whether Michel plays. Jeremy Hill lost to the cruciate ligament for the season, and Burkhead suffered a concussion against the Texans. James White is primarily a runner-up, so the Patriots brought a former Eagle, Kenjon Barner, to increase the depth.
"I'll be excited when my day comes, but it's all preparation and our week's preparation for this game," Michel said. "It matters how I play and how I feel in this game.
"As a footballer you want to get the first punch out of the way, but practice is the best way to simulate it all."
LAWRENCE GUY has become a staple in the defensive tackle of the Patriots alongside Malcolm Brown and is flanked by Trey Flowers and Adrian Clayborn.
Guy came from the Ravens to New England last season as an unrestricted free agent and played in 16 games with 15 starts. He had 58 tackles and a sack, then 14 tackles and a sack in the playoffs.
The 6-4, 315-pound eight-year pro picked up from Arizona State where he left off last week against the Texans, registered five tackles and the heat on quarterback Deshaun Watson.
"Lawrence is an experienced player," said Belichick. "He does a good job of identifying all the little things that make good players in those interiors.
"He is not often tricked into the various kinds of games, the teams try to run, and good defensive players are able to recognize the differences and react properly."
SCARFY END Jacob Hollister (thigh), who had missed the kick-off, was a full participant on Friday and is expected to play.
Patriots have a different view of recipients