The undefeated New Orleans Saints are taking on the New England Patriots this evening in Foxborough.
It is hard to think how New England will beat the red hot Saints while the Pats are struggling mightily on offense.
But when Tom Brady is mad, he plays his best, when he feels disrespected, even better, like in 2011 when he took on Tim Tebow and the Broncos.
The Patriots as a whole team play better when they are backed into a corner and nobody believes they are the best or have a chance to win. Or when everybody believes they are passing the torch to another team, like last year when they played the Texans.
New England likes to make examples of teams, they love to send a message to the rest of the NFL about their team, and today they have a huge chance to do that. They, for the first time this season, can get a statement win that puts the NFL on notice.
New England’s game plan today is a simple one, manage the game. Crazy huh? The Patriots playing ball control instead of embarking on a shoot out? Well that is the 2013 Patriots and they have built themselves with runningbacks, who they hope can run the clock down, and keep other quarterbacks on the sidelines.
New England on offense will play ball control, they will try to establish the run, and if they do, they will run the ball a lot to work on the clock, keep Brees on the sideline, and set up play action.
New England will try to score first, of course, New England will try to score on every drive, but if they get a decent size lead like 10 points then they will try to sit on it, and focus on running the clock out. New England isn’t looking to score 30 points today, they are just looking to score enough to win. They will play ball control on offense, try not to turn it over, and manage themselves a game and a victory. Least that is the plan for the Patriots.
New England can only play ball control if the defense can keep the Saints from scoring and taking the lead at any point in the game.
The Saints will score today but New England wants to limit them to as few points as possible, of course.
If the Saints reach anywhere from 21 – 28 points the Patriots are in big, big trouble. They probably can’t score more than 28 points because of all the injuries and the fact this offense hasn’t jived with the rookies yet. So, it is up to the New England defense to keep this game from being an unfair shootout.
How do they do that though is a mystery to all of us. We have seen how good this Saints team is, and it is hard to think a team can stop them from scoring in the high 20s, 30s.
But New England has a game plan in mind and that is prevent the big plays. Brees loves to throw up the field and get big plays, he doesn’t like to dump it off all the way up the field, he will take shots.
New England plans on taking away the big plays and making him go short all 80 yards up the field, setting up a bunch of 3rd downs and potential for stops and turnovers. If New England can prevent the 20 yard pass plays then they will succeed in hindering this explosive Saints offense.
We have talked about this all week long that stopping Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles is a must, but so is Marquse Colston.
Colston is a big guy and if they put Talib on Graham, can Dennard stop him? I don’t know and that is why I think Talib will be on Colston and his number one job is to take him out of the game completely.
Dennard will likely be tasked with taking out Kenny Stills or Robert Mecham in this game.
Dont’a Hightower and Steven Gregory will probably be asked to double Jimmy Graham all game today, and if they slow him down with Talib on Colston, life will be difficult for the Saints.
The biggest problem will be the runningbacks in the passing game for the Patriots. Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas.
Whoever covers Sproles will have a hard task but it needs to be a sure tackler, and a someone with good speed, which means it is likely to be Arrington. It could be the rookie though, Ryan. Regardless of who it is, they need someone on him to take away this RB in the passing game because he routinely takes 5 yard passes 50 yards and with that speed it is hard to stop him once the ball is in his hand. New England needs to light him up everytime he tries to make a catch. Make him think about the hits coming.
When Thomas is in there he is most likely running so slowing down the run game is a must but New Orleans can’t help themselves, they love to throw. But, when they do run limited the yards picked up will make the Saints abandoned the run all together and just stick to passing. But, Thomas is a threat in the passing game too, he has 2 touchdowns receiving this year. When he is in the game they have to get quick tackles or he will pick up a big gain in a hurry.
The Patriots have a very hard task ahead of them today, but we will find out what this team is made of, and just how mad Tom brady is.