Sunday, October 13, 4:25 PM EST
Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Massachusetts
New England: FOX 25
New Orleans: WVUE FOX 8
Here are 3 keys to a New England victory today:
1. Stopping Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham.
New England on defense has to find a way to stop the two most deadliest weapons on the Saints team, Sproles and Graham.
Sproles is tricky because he is so quick with the ball in his hands and is a killer in the passing game. If they can’t find someone to stick to him in the passing game and limit his impact then New England isn’t winning.
In the redzone especially, stopping tight end Jimmy Graham is the key. Talib or a linebacker and safety may be on him, but whoever it is better get the job done today. But if they bracket Graham and slow him down to where Brees is forced to look for other targets then New England will keep the game within reach.
2. Limit big plays.
New Orleans and Brees love to go deep and love to look for the deep plays so New England has to take that away and force them short and make tackles. That is a major key, when they pass short, MAKE THE TACKLES. If they can keep Brees from going up the field and force dump offs then the Saints offense will be less effective; this is a team that lives off the big plays. Take those away and it becomes hard to score for the Saints.
3. Get touchdowns/Protect Tom Brady.
New England needs touchdowns to win not field goals. New England needs to reach the 20s, probably upper 20s to win this game but if the offense can not sustain drives and keep their defense off the field and rested then the Saints will touch the ball enough times to not only win but win by a lot. If they protect Tom Brady then the Patriots score touchdowns. They will face a good pass rushing team today and if they hold them back, giving Tom Brady time then New England will score if not, field goals and not a lot of points.
Look for New England to play ball control today, running a lot, and driving for plenty of first downs. They may not score a lot but if they get a few touchdowns and keep the Saints off the field they might just manage a win.