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BC-FBN--Conference Championships-The Latest

January 21, 2018
By The Associated Press

The Latest on the NFL conference championships. (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have taken the lead early in the second quarter of the AFC title game.

Blake Bortles found Marcedes Lewis wide open in the end zone from 4 yards out to give the Jags a 7-3 lead. Bortles was 5 for 5 for 66 yards on the drive.

Running back Corey Grant caught two passes for 44 yards on the 76-yard drive. He had only 41 total receiving yards during the season.

Tom Brady’s only comeback wins in an AFC championship were from a four-point deficit against Baltimore after the 2011 season and a three-point deficit against San Diego after the ’07 season. The Patriots also rallied from a four-point hole against Miami en route to the 1986 Super Bowl.

— Jimmy Golen reporting from Foxborough, Massachusetts.

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3:20 p.m.

Tom Brady’s injured right hand looked fine on the Patriots’ opening drive in the AFC title game.

Brady was 6-for-6 for 57 yards on New England’s first possession against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He completed a 20-yarder to Danny Amendola on a fourth-and-1 to keep the drive going. But the Patriots settled for Stephen Gostkowski’s 31-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

Brady reportedly injured his right hand and needed stitches when it was hit by a teammate’s helmet in practice. The five-time Super Bowl champion took the field on Sunday with a piece of black tape on the back of his hand.

The Patriots are in the conference championship game for the seventh straight year. They are hoping to go to their eighth Super Bowl of the Brady era.

— Jimmy Golen reporting from Foxborough, Massachusetts.

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2:45 p.m.

New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft says the team needs to guard against “jealousy and envy” from people who are trying to tear apart one of the most successful dynasties in NFL history.

Speaking on the pregame show before the Patriots played the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC championship game, Kraft said it’s only natural there would be some tension between him and coach Bill Belichick after 18 years together. Kraft says, “But when you’ve got something good going, everyone’s got to get their egos checked in and try to hold it together.”

ESPN reported this month that Kraft essentially vetoed Belichick’s plan to set backup Jimmy Garoppolo up as the successor to five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. Instead, the Patriots traded Garoppolo to San Francisco for a second-round draft pick.

— Jimmy Golen reporting from Foxborough, Massachusetts.

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2:35 p.m.

The Super Bowl matchup will be set after conference title games featuring three teams that have never won the big game.

The other participant is a five-time Super Bowl winner, the New England Patriots.

The Patriots and Tom Brady, nursing an injured right hand, start conference championship Sunday playing host to the Jacksonville Jaguars and quarterback Blake Bortles.

The night game with Minnesota playing at Philadelphia features two 29-year-old quarterbacks, Nick Foles and Case Keenum, both of whom started the season as backups.

Keenum played most of the season after Sam Bradford was injured, and Foles came in after star Carson Wentz was hurt in Week 14.

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