Week Three Game Preview: New England Patriots vs Jacksonville Jaguars

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Sep 13, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) drops back to pass during the game against the Carolina Panthers at EverBank Field. The Panthers defeat the Jaguars 20-9. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

On offense, the Jaguars have a young core of skill position players. Quarterback Blake Bortles was the number three overall pick last year and had a difficult rookie season. He flashed his strong arm, size and strength in the pocket, but made the usual rookie mistakes. In 2015 he has shown improvement, particularly while under pressure.

In 2014, only Brian Hoyer and Geno Smith had a lower accuracy percentage (per PFF) when under pressure than Bortles. In fact, Bortles did not even complete a touchdown pass and threw 8 interceptions while under pressure. He had a league low 36.4% completion rate on passes under pressure.

In 2015 Bortles has shown improvement in his first two games as he has completed 50% of his passes under pressure and has a touchdown and just one interception. In addition, Bortles–even at six-foot-five and 242 pounds–is a strong runner and when protection breaks down can tuck it and run like a young Ben Roethlisberger. As he grows more comfortable in the NFL, Bortles should be able to use his size and mobility to extend plays and be a weapon outside the pocket.

Sep 20, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (24) runs past Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes (21) during the second half of an NFL Football game at EverBank Field. The Jacksonville Jaguars won 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

At running back, the Patriots will miss the dual-threat runner and receiver and former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. Rookie T.J. Yeldon leads the rushing attack and the former Alabama back is in position to be the bellcow in the Jacksonville offense. He has already had 40 carries in two games. Unfortunately for Jacksonville, he has just a 3.3 yards per carry average.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson was shut down in week one but exploded against Miami in week two. Robinson burnt the Dolphins deep down the field on multiple plays. Robinson is a long and fast receiver and his size makes him a difficult matchup.

Allen Hurns is a solid number two receiver, but Marqise Lee is the wild card in the receiving corps. After missing week one with a hamstring injury, Lee played just 25 snaps against Miami and had just 2 receptions. Lee is fast and athletic but has been limited by injuries in his time in the NFL. When healthy, he can line up inside or outside and both work the underneath middle of the field or use his speed to get deep.

On the offensive line, the Jaguars invested the number two overall pick on Luke Joeckel in 2013. However, he has yet to show the ability to be an elite left tackle and last week journeyman Sam Young played better than Joeckel has at the position. Left guard Zane Beadles is a familiar name after protecting Peyton Manning in Denver. He is tough, strong and probably the best lineman.

At center, veteran Stefen Wisniewski has struggled in 2015. He had played well in Oakland previously and may still be adapting to Doug Marrone’s blocking scheme. Second year guard Brandon Linder is big and strong and is a force in the running game. At right tackle, Jeremy Parnell has done well in his first year as a starter having come over from Dallas where he was buried on the depth chart behind strong tackles.