The New England Patriots have been through this rodeo more than once. For a seventh consecutive season, the defending champs will be playing in the AFC Championship Game this coming Sunday. It’s nothing new for them. And it’s pretty much being treated like nothing more than a business trip — albeit at home.
On the other hand, the Jacksonville Jaguars have rarely found themselves in this position throughout their relatively short history. In particular, this is the first playoff run for most of the Jaguars’ young roster.
But don’t let that stop Pro Bowler Jalen Ramsey from being himself. Following Jacksonville’s win over Pittsburgh in the AFC Divisional Playoffs on Sunday, Ramsey guaranteed a victory over New England in the conference title game.
“I ain’t got too much to say, but make sure you all bring that same energy out next week and the week after,” Ramsey told Jaguars fans Sunday night, via ESPN. “We are going to the Super Bowl, and we are going to win that b—-. We are going to win that b—-.”
That’s nothing new for a youngster in Ramsey who is almost as good of a trash-talker as he is a football player.
But the Patriots — in all their veteran fortitude — have decided to take the high road here. In fact, players on the defending champs took time out of their Monday to lob a ton of praise in Ramsey’s direction.
“Jalen Ramsey is a good player. He talks a lot of trash. That’s a part of his game, and you can’t take it away from him,” team captain Duron Harmon said, via ESPN. “He’s confident. He should be confident in his team. He has a really good football team.”
Indeed, part of Ramsey’s greatest attributes comes in the form of him throwing opponents off their game by getting in their heads on the field. And for their part, the Jaguars head into Championship Sunday boasting the most dominant defense in the AFC.
Patriots special teams standout Matthew Slater even took it one step further.
Matthew Slater refers to the Jaguars as an “elite team” and Jalen Ramsey as an elite corner. Of Ramsey, Slater said, “When the good Lord made that guy, he said ‘Let there be corner.’ And there he is.” pic.twitter.com/jsET2tadjd
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) January 15, 2018
This could be considered somewhat of a mind trick on the part of the Patriots. They are not going to play into Ramsey’s game. But they also genuinely believe he’s one heck of a player.
We can expect trash talking on the field come Sunday at Gillette Stadium. But don’t look for the Patriots to do much of that before.