Back to the norms. The Pats bounced back just like they always do. Brady ripped apart a defense for 400+ yards like clockwork, and order was restored in the league. But now its back to business, and back to taking down AFC teams, starting with the Houston Texans.
Brady’s back, Gronk is (kinda) back, the offense as a whole is back. They looked good as ever last week. I wouldn’t expect them to come out slinging the ball the way they did last week, but to continue their success. They’ll need to thwart the heavy pass rush of Houston, most likely with what they do best in screen passes. A lot of James White, and maybe an increased use in Dion Lewis. He looked good in the playoff game last year against Houston, so maybe he’ll get used finally. Gronk will probably be used sparingly to prevent further injury, so maybe Dwayne Allen will finally start to get some use too. Amendola is expected to be back too, giving the Pats some of their offensive weapons back. Maybe Cooks will finally get involved too, since he has not seen a whole lot of volume so far this season. Once they start to hit a groove, even the best of defenses in the league won’t stand a chance.
Defense is where this team starts to run into problems. The biggest story has been the benching of Malcolm Butler. There is speculation as to why this happened. Maybe he is playing down because of his contract issues this past offseason. Maybe his skill level is just no longer living up to Bill’s expectations. Either way, this might be his last chance before he turns into trade bait, that fails outside of the Patriots system. And finally, my guy got his chance. If you have read any of my previous articles, I’ve been waiting for him to get his opportunity because this guy can play. He played very well against the Saints. Gilmore has also been less than impressive, and needs to sack up and play the run to earn his paycheck. Jordan Richards is also looking like he should not have made this roster. The pass rush seems improved, Deatrich Wise lived up to expectation last week, Cassius Marsh stepped up, and Trey Flowers is still disruptive. With Hightower expected to be back this week, the Pats should not worry too much about Lamar Miller. Richards or Chung could prove their worth if they end up spying Deshaun Watson and keep him in check. Stephon Gilmore will most likely be on DeAndre Hopkins this week, who Logan Ryan handled very well last season. This will be his first big test to prove if he was really the top free agent cornerback last offseason.
The 18 game winning streak begins at 2 straight this week. It’ll be a relatively unexciting win, with TDs out of Gillislee, Gronk, and Dion Lewis. 24-13 Patriots.
Written By: Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)