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New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: X-Factors

This week, one player on offense and defense that will have the potential to make a big impact.

Trying to Tackle Dion Lewis is Easier Said Than Done
Trying to Tackle Dion Lewis is Easier Said Than Done
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

With the New England Patriots set to square off against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Patriots will be looking for these two to have a big game in order to win.

RB Dion Lewis: With no idea of what strengths the Jaguars defense boasts, having a running back that can contribute in both the run and pass game is going to be crucial. Lewis is a tackle-breaking machine, forcing 17 missed tackles in 32 touches so far this year. The Patriots will split him out to isolate him on linebacker coverage and will also run the ball inside the tackles with him. Lewis has averaged 129 scrimmage yards in 2 games and is liable to put up 120 yards on the Jaguars through both the ground and in the air. With all the attention on Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, Lewis should be able to thrive if the first two are covered. When Lewis is on the field, the Patriots offense becomes very unpredictable and difficult to game plan against.

LB Jamie Collins: Jamie Collins is the Swiss Army Knife of the Defense, especially on 3rd downs. In the passing game, his blitzing ability is where he's at his best. With the ability to shoot through gaps and overpower running backs who stay in to block, it is not fun for the QB when he blitzes. Not only is he a threat to blitz, he has the speed to run with most tight ends and running backs in the passing game unless it's defending a wheel route out of the backfield. Collins' run defense is very average, but with Hightower on the field he should be fine. Collins is at his best on 3rd downs, when the defense doesn't know if he's blitzing or dropping into coverage.

Another 100+ yard and 1 TD performance is likely for Lewis because of his ability to make people miss in the open field and the mismatch he brings in the passing game. Since he's also a reliable running threat, the defenses can't sit on the pass when he's on the field despite the heavy play call distribution towards passing the ball. On the other side of the ball, defenses have to know where Collins is because he can cover and blitz on 3rd downs. If he's all over the field and making plays in coverage and causing havoc for the QB as a blitzer, it's going to be a long day for the Jaguar offense. I expect both players to have a large impact on the final outcome of the game.