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Sports

December 21, 2012

Patriots look to rebound against woeful Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — 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.

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