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X Factor: Danny Amendola vs. Aaron Colvin

AFC Championship could come down to who wins the battle in the slot

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – From Tom Brady’s injured hand to will Jalen Ramsey cover Rob Gronkowski, there are endless storylines heading into Sunday’s AFC Championship between the Jaguars and Patriots. However one of the key matchups in the game will be New England slot receiver Danny Amendola against Jacksonville nickel cornerback Aaron Colvin.

In Ramsey and A.J. Bouye the Jaguars have a pair of All-Pro cornerbacks. All season long both Ramsey and Bouye have said time and time again that Colvin doesn’t get nearly enough credit. 

That could change on Sunday. Outside of Gronkowski, Brady’s favorite target is usually Amendola. Last Saturday he caught 11 passes for a team-high 112 yards as the Patriots beat the Titans 35-14.

“He's crafty, he's good with space and you definitely can tell that he and 12 [Brady] have a great connection so when you have all those things it can present a problem for some people,” said Colvin. “He's a great player. I feel like I'm a great player too in there so it's going to be a good matchup.”

The Patriots are one of the reasons the slot receiver position has become a lot more popular over the past couple of seasons. This year they have Amendola - in the past, they've had Julian Edelman and Wes Welker. One thing all those receivers have in common is number No. 12 is back there throwing them the football.

“He's just a competitor man,” said Colvin when asked what makes Brady special. “When you get to this level everybody's good but that competition, that dog I like to call it is what separates guys at times and you can definitely tell that's what helped him throughout his career.”

When Brady gets in a tight spot he usually looks for Amendola. Against Tennessee, five of the Patriots’ 11-third down conversations went to Amendola.