Gronkowski: Jaguars are our toughest opponent this season

Maddie Meyer / Getty Images Sport / Getty

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski isn't overlooking the Jacksonville Jaguars ahead of Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

Many expected the Patriots to square off against the Steelers in a rematch of last year's conference title game, but the upstart Jaguars defeated Pittsburgh 45-42, and Gronkowski expects a tough battle.

"That is a big challenge," he said during his press conference Wednesday. "They have very talented players on both sides of the ball. Especially on defense, they have many, many great players. It is going to be a big challenge. It is the best team we are facing all year coming up in the AFC Championship Game this weekend. We have to be ready. We have to be prepared. It is going to be a big, tough challenge, for sure."

Jacksonville sent four defensive players to the Pro Bowl, including cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, defensive end Calais Campbell, and defensive tackle Malik Jackson. The Jaguars also finished second in scoring defense (16.8 points allowed per game).

"They have a crazy amount of interceptions this year, eight touchdowns during the regular season on defense they have produced. They are good," Gronkowski added. "They are competitive. They compete every single time the ball is around them. They can go and get the ball. They are good at reading where the ball is, reading the quarterback, and reading the plays. That is why you have to be ready at all times and you have to compete because they compete at all times. That is what helps them get the turnovers."

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Gronkowski: Jaguars are our toughest opponent this season
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