Game info: Patriots vs. Jaguars

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Game info: Patriots vs. Jaguars

GAME TIME: 1 p.m. EST

TV NETWORK: CBS

TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots

RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Gil Santos and Scott Zolak

ALL-TIME SERIES BETWEEN THE TEAMS: Patriots lead, 8-1

LAST MEETING: Patriots 35, Jaguars 7 at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 27, 2009

The Patriots are the first franchise in NFL history to score 500 or more points in four seasons (2007: 589; 2010: 518; 2011: 513, and 2012: 506). St. Louis is the only other team to have done it three times (1999: 526; 2000: 540, and 2001: 503). The Patriots join the 1999-2001 Rams as the only teams to have scored 500 or more points in three straight years. Bill Belichick is the first head coach in NFL history to lead a team to three straight 500-point seasons.

The Patriots will finish the 2012 season averaging at least 30 points per game, joining the 1999-2001 Rams, the 1949-51 Rams, and the 1941-43 Bears as the only teams to average at least 30 PPG in three straight years. Bill Belichick is the first head coach in NFL history to lead a team to three straight years of at least 30 PPG. Even if the Patriots do not score in their final two games, they will finish the year averaging more than 30 points per game.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
With one touchdown pass against the Jaguars, Tom Brady will extend his streak to 47 straight games with at least one touchdown pass and tie Johnny Unitas for the second-longest streak in NFL history. Drew Brees (54) is in first place.

Brady (3,752) needs 36 completions to move past Vinny Testaverde (3,787) into eighth place on the NFLs all-time completion list.

Brady (44,255) needs 358 passing yards to move past Drew Bledsoe (45,077) into eighth place on the NFLs all-time passing list.

Stephen Gostkowski (7-of-10 from 50 or more yards) needs one more 50-yard field goal to tie Adam Vinatieri (8-of-17) for most 50-yard field goals in Patriots history. Gostkowski has two 50-yarders so far in 2012 and can become the first Patriots player with three 50-yard field goals in a single season.

With 10 tackles, Jerod Mayo will have his 11th 10-plus tackle game of the season. He had his 10th 10-tackle game vs. San Francisco to match the career-high 10 10-tackle games he had in 2010.

Rob Ninkovich has a team-leading five forced fumbles, tying Mike Vrabel (2007) for the most forced fumbles for a Patriots player within the last 20 years.

Wes Welker (17) needs one more 10-plus catch game to break a tie with Jerry Rice for the most 10-catch games in NFL history.

Welker (95) needs 5 receptions to become the first playerin NFL history with five 100-catch seasons.

The Patriots defense has forced a turnover in 25 straight games, dating back to 2011 and including the first 14 games of 2012. The last NFL team to have at least one takeaway in all 16 regular-season games was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.

The Patriots have scored 23 rushing touchdowns in 2012 and need one more to match the 24 they had in 1976 for the second-highest total in team history. The 1978 team had 30 rushing TDs.

Brown taking opportunities with Celtics as they come

Brown taking opportunities with Celtics as they come

BOSTON -- Compared to most high draft picks, Jaylen Brown doesn’t log a ton of minutes for the Boston Celtics.
 
Playing on an experienced team with legit hopes of making a deep playoff run, rookies seeing limited minutes is a given.
 
Knowing playing time will come in a limited supply, Brown understands all too well the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity he gets on the floor.
 
He did just that on Saturday in Boston’s 107-106 win over Philadelphia, and he hopes to do more of the same on Monday when the Celtics take on the Houston Rockets.
 
When you look at Brown’s stat line, nothing about it looks impressive. He played 15 minutes, scored two points with one rebound and one blocked shot.
 
But beyond the stats was the fact that he was on the floor for seven minutes in the fourth quarter in a close back-and-forth game on the road. Rookies on the floor in crunch time is not the norm in the NBA.
 
“It means a lot,” Brown told reporters after Saturday’s win. “I try to be as best I can be for my team; try to put my best foot forward every night out.”
 
And he did just that on Saturday.
 
In the fourth quarter with the Celtics leading 87-83, Brown blocked a Gerald Henderson shot that wound up in the hands of Jae Crowder. Moments later, Jonas Jerebko hit a 3-pointer that gave the Celtics their largest lead of the game, 90-83.
 
And just two minutes prior to the blocked shot, he was out in transition following an Isaiah Thomas steal and threw down a dunk that pushed Boston’s lead to 86-83 with 7:11 to play.
 
Brown acknowledged making the most of those opportunities bodes well for him and the franchise.
 
“It’s great for our team in general; not just for me,” Brown said. “Those plays helped us to pull the game out in the end. So I’m glad we got the win. I think we should have played a little better than we did.”
 
The continued pursuit of self-improvement is a hallmark of what Brown’s focus and desire are at this stage of his pro career. He has talked often about not wanting to be just one of the best in this draft class but also one of the best in the NBA overall.
 
But he’s also learned that to get there takes time and experience developing both physically and mentally. Part of that mental growth entails having the right approach to games.
 
“Usually you try to tell yourself not to mess up,” Brown said. “Now that I’m getting more comfortable, it’s just play basketball, bring energy, things like that; come out and do what you’re supposed to do. A lot of times you try to tell yourself to not mess up and it’s counteractive; just come out and play basketball and have fun.”
 
And by doing so the minutes will come.
 
“You can’t control that. I just have to control what I can control,” Brown said. “I trust coach (Brad Stevens); I trust my coaching staff. I have to come out and in the minutes I get, play my hand as best I can and take advantage of what I do get and impact this team as much as possible.”
 
This season, Brown is averaging 4.8 points, 2.0 rebounds while shooting 41.9 percent from the field.

Zolak: Bennett helps with Gronk loss, but Pats need to manage him

Zolak: Bennett helps with Gronk loss, but Pats need to manage him

Scott Zolak said on Pregame Live Sunday that the Patriots are better-suited to survive a season-ending injury to Rob Gronkowski than they were a season ago. 

Zolak said that given the health of Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and the signing of Chris Hogan, the offense has more stability at other positions to make up for the loss of Gronkowski, whose season is over due to back surgery. As for the tight end position, Zolak said he feels the Patriots traded for Martellus Bennett to protect themselves against scenarios like the one they currently face. 

“This offseason they [acquired] Martellus Bennett, I think for this very reason: to prepare for what really happens year after year, is some sort of issue comes up with Rob Gronkowski and you have to play without him,” Zolak said.

Bennett was questionable with an ankle injury for this week’s game, but is expected to play. Asked about the health of Bennett, Zolak said that he believes the tight end is good to play, but that his importance to the team with Gronkowski out means the Pats will need to be careful. 

“I think he’s healthy enough to get through about 30-35 snaps,” Zolak said. “They’ve got to balance him now moving forward.”