With the AFC Championship just two days away, Tom Brady is reportedly suffering from a hand injury.
How concerned should Patriots fans be right now?
“A little bit because he didn’t practice (Thursday), but with Tom, you don’t worry about the timing things,” Tiki Barber said on Taz & The Moose. “You don’t worry about (him) missing the game-planning and all those other things that you worry about with maybe some of these younger quarterbacks. If Case Keenum was out all week and dealing with a hand injury, you’d say, ‘Well, there goes our shot.’ Because you know how important experience is at this point. But with Brady, the only thing you’re going to worry about is if something should re-occur on Sunday. We all know how Jacksonville gets after the quarterback. Don’t be worried yet, but be worried if he gets banged around with that big front seven.”
Indeed, the Jaguars have one of the best defenses in football. They finished second in total defense and scoring defense in the regular season, and their game-plan on that side of the ball figures to be fairly predictable: rush four, drop seven.
“The beauty of the Jacksonville Jaguars is they don’t have to rush extra defenders in order to get pressure on Brady,’ Barber said. “Their game plan is going to seem simple. They don’t try to confuse you. They’re not changing up the coverages. You wouldn’t do it anyway. You wouldn’t be able to fool Tom Brady. It’s going to be (the Jacksonville offensive line going) one-on-one (with the New England defensive line) – and you better win. If you don’t win, we’re not going to win. So go win. You got to be excited if you’re Jacksonville right now because of that challenge that’s right in front of you – and the fact that nobody believes that they can win.”
In many ways, the Patriots might have preferred to play Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship. After all, Brady has performed well against the Steelers throughout his career, and the Pats beat them in Pittsburgh last month.
“There’s a confidence playing the Steelers,” Barber said. “Playing the Jaguars, you can’t help but go look at the stats. This team is ridiculous against the run. This team is ridiculous against the pass. They have two corners who are bigger and aggressive and certainly the best combo in the league with Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. So the lack of experience with them, the fact that you look at the stat sheet and get intimidated, it’s unfamiliar – and you never want to play unfamiliar at this stage in the season because you just don’t know what’s coming your way.”
Kickoff is at 3:05 p.m. ET.