David Butler II/USA Today Sports

Patriots need to break trend of getting off to slow starts vs. Jaguars

Ryan Hannable
January 18, 2018 - 2:23 pm

FOXBORO — Many think of the Patriots as being fast starters since they are first in the NFL in first half points, averaging 17.2 points per game, but they haven’t been of late, especially in the first quarter.

In their last six games, the Patriots have scored a total of 17 points in the first quarter and have been held scoreless three times, including last week against the Titans in the AFC divisional round.

The same goes for recent playoff games, as in the last two the Patriots have gone scoreless in the opening quarter.

New England has seemed to make a concerted effort to get off to a fast start of late by taking the ball the last two times it has won the toss, even though historically it has always been a team that has deferred.

“It’s always good to get out in front, but we all know that these games aren’t over in the first quarter, so a lot of football left after that,” Bill Belichick said after the Week 17 win over the Jets, in which the Patriots went for it on fourth-and-2 on the opening drive. “We try to make the decisions that we can that we feel like are best for the team and that was one. We just felt like that was the right thing to do in this game if we won the toss, so that’s what we did.”

As for the Jaguars, they haven’t got off to fast starts lately, either. In their last six games they have also been scoreless in the first quarter three times, but last Sunday against the Steelers they came out hot scoring 14 first quarter points.

The Jaguars are certainly not built to come from behind, rather are a team that thrives on playing from ahead, so Sunday’s game may come down to who gets off to the best start.

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