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Playoffs loom for Patriots with 1 regular-season game left to regain momentum

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    FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2012 file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reacts after New York Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn intercepted Brady's pass intended for tight end Rob Gronkowski during the fourth quarter of the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game in Indianapolis. Brady nearly made a play that might have slammed the door on the Giants, but Blackburn's pick gave the team new life and eventually a 21-17 win. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) (The Associated Press)

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    New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) runs around the corner during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla. The Patriots defeated the Jaguars 23-16.(AP Photo/Stephen Morton) (The Associated Press)

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    Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne (7) is sacked by New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) during the second half of an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012. The Patriots won 23-16. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) (The Associated Press)

The Patriots picked a bad time for their disappointing performances.

Now they have just one regular-season game left to gain some momentum going into the playoffs.

New England struggled for the second consecutive week and edged the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars 23-16 on Sunday. The win followed a 41-34 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in which the Patriots trailed 31-3.

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said on Monday that the Patriots (11-4) never felt that they would string a number of drives together against the Jaguars (2-13). New England trailed 10-0 before Tom Brady led a comeback.

The Patriots finish their regular season on Sunday at home against the Miami Dolphins.


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