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Patriots look to rebound against woeful Jaguars

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Patriots look to rebound against woeful Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) It's been a decade since the New England Patriots lost consecutive games in December.

The streak seems pretty safe heading into Sunday's game at Jacksonville.

Coming off a 41-34 home loss to San Francisco, the playoff-bound Patriots (10-4) look to get back to their winning ways when they face the woeful Jaguars (2-12) on Sunday. All signs point to a lopsided affair, with New England having scored at least 30 points 10 times this season and Jacksonville having lost seven games by more than two touchdowns.

``A lot of people are counting us out for this week,'' Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew said.

For good reason.

The Patriots are the only team in the league Jacksonville hasn't beaten in the regular season in the franchise's 19-year history.

And the Jaguars hardly appear poised for an upset, given they have an offense and defense that both rank 31st in the league. Jacksonville also has lost three in row against teams from the AFC East, and was only competitive against the dysfunctional New York Jets.

Nonetheless, coach Mike Mularkey is trying to convince his team it has a chance.

``I think they see that I believe we have a chance,'' Mularkey said. ``I think as we go through the week, they will see the film. If we play well enough, be where we're supposed to be, if we prepare and we put a good game together, then we have a chance every week. I think we're going to be very confident - just as we have the last 14 games.''

A defeat would give Jacksonville a franchise record for losses in a season and guarantee the team one of the top two picks in April's draft.

No one in Jacksonville's locker room is thinking about those things, though.

The Jaguars have considered all the changes that surely are on the horizon. It's likely that general manager Gene Smith will be fired after the season. Mularkey has a better chance to stick around, but owner Shad Khan has to be considering a complete overhaul since the team regressed in so many areas.

And Jacksonville has numerous pending free agents, including seven key guys who opened the season as starters.

``Just because you have one bad year, you can't say, `We're going to restart everything,''' Jones-Drew said. ``You can, but I don't think that's a formula for success.''

The Jaguars believe they know the formula for beating Brady and the Patriots.

``You have to get to him,'' Mularkey said. ``You have to put pressure on him, hope he overthrows and does some of the things I've seen on tape. He has thrown a number of passes that are tipped or overthrown, and if we do anything this week, we've got to put ourselves in position to make plays on those balls better than any week we have.''

Sounds easy, right.

Well, the Jaguars are winless in five games against Brady. He has thrown for 1,207 yards in those games, with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Regardless, Brady said he expects the Jaguars to present a challenge even though they have a league-low 15 sacks.

``There's nobody on that team that's not playing and giving everything they've got, so they rush hard,'' Brady said. ``They try to be real physical. They do some things well. I think that coach talked about focusing on what we need to do and getting a lot better as a team and our execution needs to be better.''

The Patriots nearly overcame execution issues and four turnovers against the 49ers last week.

They trailed 31-3 early in the third quarter before scoring 28 points in just over 14 minutes, a stunning comeback that tied the game at 31 with 6:43 left.

But the 49ers took the lead for good after a long kickoff return followed by a 38-yard TD pass from Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree.

``It was definitely pretty bizarre,'' Patriots receiver Wes Welker said. ``It's just one of those games that kind of didn't go our way, went our way and then didn't. We've just got to move on and look forward to the next week.''

And avoid something that hasn't happened in more than 10 years.

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Robert Griffin III tweets that there will be no NFL preseason

Robert Griffin III tweets that there will be no NFL preseason

Last Thursday, the NFLPA's board of representatives came to a unanimous decision that the entire 2020 NFL preseason should be canceled. In a memo obtained by NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the union recommended eliminating the preseason as a way to avoid injuries as well as greater health risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even with the players united on that front, it's unclear what the final decision will be in terms of the preseason. However, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III is hearing that what the NFLPA voted for is going to come to fruition.

Whether or not the preseason should be played is a debatable topic for many. For Griffin, he believes the reasoning for canceling the games that don't officially count comes down to one essential factor: the health of the players.

RELATED: NFLPA VOTES TO ELIMINATE PRESEASON

While preseason games still bring in money for teams and the league, the quarterback doesn't see that as a reward big enough to ignore the risk of putting players in a situation that could compromise their safety.

The NFL had recently announced that it would be cutting down the preseason to only two games, but it now looks like even further reductions could be made. As for the status of the 2020 regular season, Griffin knows just about as much as everybody else.

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Lamar Jackson cancels 'Funday with LJ' as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Florida

Lamar Jackson cancels 'Funday with LJ' as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Florida

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has canceled his third annual 'Funday with LJ' event in South Florida as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the area.

The move comes as a surprising one, as the quarterback had promoted the event in recent days, as it was set for July 11-12 in Pompano Beach, Florida.

According to the Baltimore Sun's Jonas Schaffer, Jackson decided to call off the event after more people signed up for the event than city limits allowed. So, rather than turning away people from what was supposed to be a public event, the quarterback decided to cancel the event altogether.

Jackson's event was expected to be a 6-hour outdoor extravaganza featuring go-karts, rock climbing, flag football, water slides and more. The quarterback had previously put in place safety measures in order to hold the event that included requiring adults to wear masks, a limited autograph session and having children sign a waiver form before participating.

While Jackson likely did not want to have to cancel the event, the decision is ultimately a smart one. Broward County, where 'Funday with LJ' was supposed to take place, has reported over 21,000 positive COVID-19 cases as South Florida has become one of the virus hotspots in America. 

By canceling the event, Jackson also limits the potential chance of himself contracting the virus. And with NFL training camp just a few weeks away, that's the safe decision.

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