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Mid-season roundup

 
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Predict the Pats' final record
15-1
6%
 6%  [ 1 ]
14-2
53%
 53%  [ 8 ]
13-3
33%
 33%  [ 5 ]
12-4
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
11-5
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
10-6 (Guess Jamie Collins really was important)
6%
 6%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 15

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biggbrd


Joined: 18 Feb 2015
Posts: 702
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:01 pm    Post subject: Mid-season roundup Reply with quote

With the Pats having played half their schedule and now off for the bye, I thought it would be a good time for a half season recap to look at how the team has played, what has gone well and what can be fixed, as well as a good chance to look ahead.

First up, a look at those games already in the books:

Week 1 - NE 23 @ ARI 21

Highlights
Wide left! A last second miss from Catanzaro on a 47 yarder gives the Pats the win after Jimmy G drove us down the field for the game winning FG. Jimmy shows well in his first game as a starter with 264 yards and a TD. He completed passes to 7 different receivers, including a 3 yard completion to one James Garoppolo.

Week 2 - MIA 24 @ NE 31

Highlights
Garoppolo goes down and the Pats hold on. Jimmy G looks amazing passing for 232 yards and 3 TDs before injuring his shoulder in the 2nd quarter and coming out of the game. Brissett plays well in relief, making 6-9 passes for 92 yards and leading a drive for a Blount TD run. The Pats are ahead 31-3 before Miami comes storming back to make it interesting before eventually running out of steam and falling 24-31. Gostkowski makes it more interesting than necessary by missing a 39 yard FG with minute left to play, but Harmon seals the deal by intercepting Tannehill in the end-zone.

Week 3 - HOU 0 @ NE 27

Highlights
Is Tom Brady really a system QB after all? 3rd round, 3rd string rookie leads the Pats to a 27-0 shellacking of a then promising Houston team. Except Houston's special teams gaffes (two fumbles lost on returns, Bill Belichik looks smart for kicking the ball short) and the Pats' running game really win this one. Brissett is solid for a rookie, posting 11-19 for 103 yards passing, adding 48 yards on 8 rushes, including a great run for a 27 yard TD, after which he present the offending ball to coach Belichik. Blount has 105 yards and 2 TDs. Who's missing Tom Brady anyway?

Week 4 - BUF 16 @ NE 0

Lowlights
The reality check. New England are shutout for the first time ever in Gillette stadium, and the first time at home since 1993. New England go 1-12 on 3rd down, and a Brissett fumble doesn't help. Gostkowski misses another FG. Suddenly getting Tom Brady back next week seems somehow even bigger.

Week 5 - NE 33 @ CLE 13

Highlights
The return! Tom Brady is back, and boy, is he back. Brady destroys the hapless Browns to the tune of 406 yards and 3 Martellus Bennett touchdowns. Everybody rejoices, most notably Chris Hogan, who is the recipient of 2 long passes and looks to have a big place to play in the offense going forward. The Trade Brady crowd is suddenly silent. The D contains a previously vicious rushing attack. Gostkowski misses another FG, but this one is 50+ yards.

Week 6 - CIN 17 @ NE 35

Highlights
The homecoming game! TB12 shines again after a sluggish start, and ends up with a line of 29-35, 376 yards, 3TDs. The Pats look sluggish on D early, but get a spark when Hightower sacks Dalton in the endzone for a safety. Gronk scores his first TD of the season. Hogan has another big catch. Gostkowski misses an XP.


Week 7 - NE 27 @ PIT 16

Highlights
What was supposed to be a showdown between two AFC powers is marred by the absence of Ben Roethlisberger, who is out with a meniscus injury. Brady plays well again, passing for 222 yards on 26 attempts and another 2 TDs. Blount pounds his former team for 127 yards and 2 TDs. Antonio Brown has a big 51 yard catch, but is otherwise played relatively well by Butler. Gostkowski misses another XP.


Week 8 - NE 41 @ BUF 25

Highlights
Revenge is sweet. Rex Ryan and his trash talking team get beatdown at home by Brady and the Pats, leading Rex to concede the division to the Pats at midseason. A late TD for the Bills makes it appear closer than it was. Brady passed for 315 yards and 4 TDs, missing out on his 5th by virtue of a James White drop. Gronkowski catches his 69th TD, the most by any New England player. Gostkowski looks solid, making 2 FGs (including a windy 51 yarder) and all 5 of his XPs. The Pats enter their mid-season bye at 7-1, 1st in the AFC.


Thus far, it's hard to call the season anything but a rousing success. Sitting at 7-1 is about as good as one could ask for after what looked like a tough schedule to start without Brady. We saw last year the potential effect of losing homefield advantage, and are now in a good place to maintain it going forward. Some stats at the mid-season point:

Pats offense at mid-season:
Scoring - 27.1 PPG (5th)
Total yards - 380.3 YPG (8th)
Rushing yards - 116.4 YPG (9th)
Passing yards - 263.9 YPG (10th)
Receving TD leader - Martellus Bennet (4)
Receiving yards leader - Rob Gronkowski (484)
Rushing TD leader - LeGarrette Blount (9, 1st in NFL)
Rushing yards leader - LeGarrette Blount (609)

Pats defense at mid-season:
Scoring - 16.5 PPG (3rd)
Total yards - 354.1 YPG (14th)
Rushing yards - 101.6 YPG (12th)
Passing yards - 252.5 (17th)
Sacks leader - Jabaal Sheard (3.5)
Tackles leader - Logan Ryan (49)
Int leader - Jamie Collins (2)
PD leader - Malcolm Butler (11)

Pats special teams at mid-season:
FGM/A - 11/14 (78.6%)
XPM/A - 24/26 (92.3%)
Punting average - 44yds
KR average - 20yds
PR average - 8.9yds




3 good things at mid-season:
1. Tom Brady.
He's pretty good guys. 39 years old and better than ever. An improved deep ball (or just improved deep ball receivers?), more mobility and a chip on his shoulder which just keeps growing. On track to obliterate every passing efficiency stat known to man, albeit in a 4 game sample size.

2. Joe Thuney.
A 4th round rookie who has come in and owned the LG spot. Some annoying penalties, but otherwise very solid, and looks like a potential long-term starter.

3. The short kickoff
It hasn't always worked, but has produced a number of solid plays, including fumbles and great starting field position for the D.

3 Bad things at mid-season:
1. The pass rush
The biggest and most glaring flaw on what is otherwise a fantastic team. 13 total sacks through 8 games and a complete lack of pressure has left opposing QBs with oodles of time to get the ball out and is placing plenty of stress on what would otherwise be a decent backfield. It is unclear as to how the Pats might improve this, but some rush from the defensive tackle position would be great right now. Branch and Brown seem to have been solid against the run, but are not getting any push on the pocket in the passing game.

2. The kicking game
Gostkowski looked solid last outing against the Bills, but hasn't been himself this year. It may be that we have been spoilt by having had Gostkowski/Vinatieri playing at such a high level for so long, but it hurts to not be able to rely on your kicking game. I trust Gostkowski to work through what seem like mental and mechanical issues and come back to form, but let's hope it's sooner rather than later. The bye may be well placed for him to do just that.

3. Not quite sure...
Having a tough time picking a 3rd bad thing to talk about here. The pass D hasn't always been great, but I put a lot of that on the poor rush. The O-line has been spotty at times, but overall is playing fairly well. We do have a lot of off-season deals to make, so I guess you could talk about that, plus the Jimmy G/Tom Brady debate, but really, we've had a damn good season so far.





The upcoming schedule:
It looked like a really tough schedule at first glance when it was released, but given the way things have panned out thus far this year, it's looking much nicer, with only two games which stand out as tough.

Week 10 - SEA @ NE
A superbowl rematch, and if you listen to some pundits, a potential superbowl preview. Seattle's offense has been anaemic this year, but their D is still great. Russell Wilson's injuries have greatly affected his mobility, which has previously been a big problem for the NE D.

Week 11 - NE @ SF
This one should be a win. The 49ers are a dumpster fire at the moment.

Week 12 - NE @ NYJ
The Jets always get up to play the Pats, and they have the defensive line talent to make the Pats work hard, even if it hasn't eventuated thus far this season for them.

Week 13 - LA @ NE
Another great defensive line to challenge the Pats' O, coupled with a pretty meh offense which should please the Pats' D. Who knows, maybe Goff will be starting by then.

Week 14 - BAL @ NE
One of NE's bogeymen of the past 5-10 years, the Ravens haven't looked great this season, but have been rocked by injuries. I'm glad this one's at home.

Week 15 - NE @ DEN
Depending on records at the time, this could be the biggest game of the season. Though the D may not be as fierce as last year, nobody wants to go through Mile High in the playoffs. Here's hoping we can take something from the Falcons/Chargers' gameplans against that D and pull out a big win. Multiple injuries are affecting the Broncos at the moment, but who knows how the team will look by week 15.

Week 16 - NYJ @ NE
Again, never count out a game against the Jets.

Week 17 - NE @ MIA
We know that late season games against the Dolphins can have a big impact on the Pats... Let's hope this one doesn't.


So with all of that said, what do you guys see the Pats doing in the second half of the season? We've got 8 games left to go, will we go 8-0? If not, who will we lost to? Will the Pats fix the D? Will Brady win MVP? Is this team going to win the superbowl? Feel free to let me know what you disagree with, what the best and worst things about the team are, which specific defensive players need to be fired right now (or coaches, or just the whole team) etc. etc.
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biggbrd


Joined: 18 Feb 2015
Posts: 702
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, nobody else will bite, and I'm bored, so I'll just discuss with myself.

Personally think the Pats go 7-1 again for the second half of the year, though depending on what the playoff situation looks like at the end of the year, that could change if they decide to rest players. I expect us to lose one of either the Denver or Seattle games, but wouldn't be surprised with an upset against either the Jets or Ravens. The rest of the games would be a real surprise to lose at this point.

One of the biggest things I probably didn't point out in the main post is our health. With Lewis coming back, and possibly Vollmer too (what's happening with him anyway?), we're just about as healthy as can be. I can't recall any major injuries to major players. If we can keep that going, especially considering the injuries currently affecting other SB contenders, one has to think we're in the driver's seat for the rest of the season.
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good post...

So far this season, I'd say:

The Good

QB play - Brady is still the best there is, Garoppolo looked solid and Brisset flashed some ability.

James White - Still struggles in blocking some and still is below average as a runner, but he's turned into a useful piece.

The OL - Generally speaking, it's been a decent unit. Not great. Not good enough to win games for you. But much better than the dumpster fire we've seen much of the past few years. Solder looks like himself after his injury, getting beat a little too often to be a "franchise LT" but still clearly one of the better LT's in the game. Andrews can be exploited by smart DC's but he's been mostly OK. Thuney's penalties are Mankins-esque in their poor timing and general dumbness but he's been a quality blocker. Cannon has been rock solid at RT, much improved over last year. Mason has been pretty bad overall but still shows some upside.

The receivers/TE - Hogan has been the quality X I thought he would be, although his deep ball chemistry has been even better than I imagined. The rest of the group has been solid or better when needed.

The Bad

LeGarrette Blount - still has an annoying tendency to stop dead in his tracks behind the LOS and lose big yards on busted plays. Still sucks in short yardage situations. Has definitely had some nice games. Overall, he hasn't been bad but his bad habits worry me against decent defenses. I wish he'd just go forward when the D penetrates. Losing 1 going forward is much better than losing 6 trying to dance and he seems incapable of understanding that.

RB depth - One injury to White or Blount and the RB group is in trouble. Bolden is a useful enough emergency piece but not much more. Foster has shown nothing and is often a healthy inactive. Lewis should move this from Bad to Good, if he can come back to something close to 2015 form

LB depth - The Pats have 2 useful LB's (Hightower and Roberts). Freeny is on IR and McClellin looks awful. Van Noy and Mingo are unknowns in New England but clearly have something to prove

The lack of development in young players - Perhaps the most disappointing part of this year is seeing a lot of the young guys stall. Garoppolo and White have clearly developed, which is great. Thuney has had a strong rookie season thus far. However, guys who are being relied upon (presumably) to be part of the future have failed to progress - Mason, Malcom Brown, Flowers, Richards, Grissom, etc. The failure to develop young talent and depth in the front 7 is really going to hurt as the season wears on and into the offseason where they will have to shell out big bucks to retain their veteran DL and LB.

The Ugly

Steven Gostkowski - I'm not worried long term but it's tough to feel too confident in Gostkowski right now

The pass rush, specifically from the DT's - Easley's failure and Malcom Brown stalling out as a decent but replaceable run stuffer really hurts. Once again, the Pats are without a DL which can disrupt and make good QB's uncomfortable. This puts too much pressure on their secondary which is very talented but can't be expected to hang with receivers for 5 seconds on every play

The sloppy defense - Collins's poor play has been highlighted this week, but this has been one of the worst D's I've seen Belichick field in terms of fundamentals. Guys getting out of position, taking bad angles, poor tackling, a lack of big plays. It's been ugly all year despite the solid statistics they've put up as a unit. They can't close out bad offenses and have let too many bad QB's move the ball at will. There's plenty of talent, but the cohesiveness and intelligence are lacking at times.

Overall, they look to be a top 3 team in the NFL, if not the very best. But there are a few things that concern me going into the 2nd half of the season and into the playoffs:

Health - Always a concern obviously, but they have very little depth on D and their offense will have to carry them this year. Anything which derails the dynamic nature of the offense could be a killer blow to Super Bowl aspirations. It's another year hoping Gronkowski, Edelman and (this year) Bennett stay healthy for 11 more games. Seems unlikely, but we can hope

The DL - The edge guys are OK, nothing special but a solid enough unit. The interior guys are a real problem if the Pats want to win a Super Bowl. Assuming Brown/Valentine don't turn into good pocket pushers in the next couple of months, they will have to scheme pressure with blitzes and disguised rushes. Teams with good, smart lines will be able to feast on the Pats D, picking apart the secondary while the QB stands in a clean pocket all day.
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PatriotsWin!


Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 21311
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Mid-season roundup Reply with quote

biggbrd wrote:

The upcoming schedule:
It looked like a really tough schedule at first glance when it was released, but given the way things have panned out thus far this year, it's looking much nicer, with only two games which stand out as tough.

Week 10 - SEA @ NE
A superbowl rematch, and if you listen to some pundits, a potential superbowl preview. Seattle's offense has been anaemic this year, but their D is still great. Russell Wilson's injuries have greatly affected his mobility, which has previously been a big problem for the NE D.

Week 11 - NE @ SF
This one should be a win. The 49ers are a dumpster fire at the moment.

Week 12 - NE @ NYJ
The Jets always get up to play the Pats, and they have the defensive line talent to make the Pats work hard, even if it hasn't eventuated thus far this season for them.

Week 13 - LA @ NE
Another great defensive line to challenge the Pats' O, coupled with a pretty meh offense which should please the Pats' D. Who knows, maybe Goff will be starting by then.

Week 14 - BAL @ NE
One of NE's bogeymen of the past 5-10 years, the Ravens haven't looked great this season, but have been rocked by injuries. I'm glad this one's at home.

Week 15 - NE @ DEN
Depending on records at the time, this could be the biggest game of the season. Though the D may not be as fierce as last year, nobody wants to go through Mile High in the playoffs. Here's hoping we can take something from the Falcons/Chargers' gameplans against that D and pull out a big win. Multiple injuries are affecting the Broncos at the moment, but who knows how the team will look by week 15.

Week 16 - NYJ @ NE
Again, never count out a game against the Jets.

Week 17 - NE @ MIA
We know that late season games against the Dolphins can have a big impact on the Pats... Let's hope this one doesn't.


We should be favored in every one of those games...but I just know we will drop one to someone we never expected... possibly the Jets.

I'm saying 14-2.
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windh999


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Pats definitely have some defensive issues, most notably the pass rush, but not a single team remaining on their schedule has a dynamic enough offense to truly exploit the defense consistently. The Seattle game is at home on SNF and the Ravens game is also at home on MNF. I just can't see them losing either of those prime time games. The only game I can see them losing is at Denver because of their defense and it has been Tom Brady's house of horrors. Even if they lose that game, 14-2 and home field advantage is awaiting them. The only thing that can stop this team is injuries as they have by far the fewest flaws of the entire AFC.
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Deadpulse


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While interior pass rush has been a glaring weakness, I don't think any teams on our schedule have the offense lines to really exploit it except Denver.
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Hunter2_1


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I reckon two more losses. Can see it coming either from Denver, Seattle or a divisional. 13-3, but AFC goes through foxboro Twisted Evil
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CP3MVP


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

-I think they go 6-2 in the second half with one of the losses being a meaningless game in Miami week 17 finishing with the 1 seed in the AFC.

-The offensive line, just by not being a disaster far exceeded my expectations and especially when I heard Vollmer was gonna be out. They're still not good though but with the way Brady is playing, in this conference it shouldn't matter.

-Biggest concern is the pass rush.

-I'm not a Blount guy but I have to give him credit, he's been really solid this season.

-Hogan as a deep threat has pretty much been a shock to me. Him and Brady are locked in right now
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CP3MVP wrote:
He went from top ten to not mentioned at all

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mattyl13


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:


The sloppy defense - Collins's poor play has been highlighted this week, but this has been one of the worst D's I've seen Belichick field in terms of fundamentals. Guys getting out of position, taking bad angles, poor tackling, a lack of big plays. It's been ugly all year despite the solid statistics they've put up as a unit. They can't close out bad offenses and have let too many bad QB's move the ball at will. There's plenty of talent, but the cohesiveness and intelligence are lacking at times.



Who specifically do you see as being the primary culprits? Is it all of them or is it just a few? Is Hightower in this category and how would that affect an extension for him?

Would you say that any of them are definitely not in this category?
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Hunter2_1


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CP3MVP wrote:
-I think they go 6-2 in the second half with one of the losses being a meaningless game in Miami week 17 finishing with the 1 seed in the AFC.

-The offensive line, just by not being a disaster far exceeded my expectations and especially when I heard Vollmer was gonna be out. They're still not good though but with the way Brady is playing, in this conference it shouldn't matter.

-Biggest concern is the pass rush.

-I'm not a Blount guy but I have to give him credit, he's been really solid this season.

-Hogan as a deep threat has pretty much been a shock to me. Him and Brady are locked in right now


Agree with literally all of this.
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biggbrd


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deadpulse wrote:
While interior pass rush has been a glaring weakness, I don't think any teams on our schedule have the offense lines to really exploit it except Denver.


There certainly could be a few teams in the playoffs who do though. Fingers crossed they improve somehow in the second half of the season!
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Hunter2_1


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wouldn't class Denver's OL as one that is particularly stout against that kind of thing. I don't think lack of a pass rush would be our downfall in Mile High (again). It's of course our OL, which mercifully, has been largely addressed.
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lancerman


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The good is we have tremendous offensive depth.

QB: Brady, Garrapolo (if Brady goes down, you can atleast look at a punchers chance with Jimmy)

WR: Edelman, Amendola Hogan (Hogan gives us a new dimension)

RB: Blount, White, and a returning Lewis (Blount is having a career year imo and is easily the most noticeably improved player on offense, White has been awesome and Lewis could be the icing on the cake)

TE: Gronkowski and Bennet (this is the year where you say if Gronk goes down they have a B version of him to fill in, together this is scary),

Our offense can take a lot of wear and tear on pure depth and talent alone. If they remain a healthy unit, it will cause nightmares in the playoffs


Causes for concern:

The defense is not looking that great. There are some bright spots, but they can look as sloppy as anything. Collins was a great talent, he wasn't having a great year, but he was a hell of a talent.

Butler is a quality CB. It would be nice to believe in the other CB's. McCourty kind of alleviates that. Way too many uncontested passes. It's almost like they are playing prevent early in the 3rd. They will have issues if we reach the SB or AFCCG and see Brown, Jones, Dez, or godforbid Odell and the giants.

They are inconsistent with generating pressure. It's like watching an RB who needs to build up steam. Maybe Blount sent some of his bad tendencies there way to get it off him.

There are some bright spots, but the offense will need to carry the load.

Special teams have been great, even though I blame that unit a lot for the Buffalo loss.

Gostowski has his issues and it's concerning. We used to not even have to think about it with him. Terrified Belichick will do a risky 4th and short because of lack of trust.
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biggbrd wrote:
Deadpulse wrote:
While interior pass rush has been a glaring weakness, I don't think any teams on our schedule have the offense lines to really exploit it except Denver.


There certainly could be a few teams in the playoffs who do though. Fingers crossed they improve somehow in the second half of the season!


The issue isn't really going against good OL. The problem is that the Pats make mediocre or bad OL's look decent which gives the QB way too much time to throw.

Extra time in the pocket can make bad/mediocre QB's look pretty good (e.g. Ryan Tannehill earlier this year).
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hunter2_1 wrote:
Wouldn't class Denver's OL as one that is particularly stout against that kind of thing. I don't think lack of a pass rush would be our downfall in Mile High (again). It's of course our OL, which mercifully, has been largely addressed.


It doesn't matter how good the Broncos D is, a healthy Patriots offense should be able to put up 17 or so if the Pats key weapons are healthy.

Holding Denver's offense in check is entirely about being able to generate pressure without blitzing. Make whichever inexperienced/mediocre QB they will be using throw balls into coverage and just bring 3-4 rushers on every play.

Denver is the epitome of the type of team you want to force to have 15 play drives because chances are their QB can't do it more than once or twice in a game. Play the run, keep the LB's medium depth and hope the DL can get some pressure. That's how to stop their offense in the playoffs.
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