WHEW. Back on track baby. A nice, controlled win over Atlanta puts the Pats right back where everyone expected them to be. But it came at a cost. Losing Dont’a Hightower for the season will be a huge blow to the Patriots defense. It was made clear last year that even with injuries, this is a Super Bowl caliber team still. They will make the adjustments needed and move on week to week as they always have.
The monotonous, time controlling offense is exactly what the Patriots need to consistently do. I think everyone, including the Patriots, thought this was going to be a high powered, big play offense. That did not work out too well, as Kansas City showed them. Controlling the clock is key, and with the way Dion Lewis has been able to turn negative runs into 3 yard rips, and 0 yard runs into 5 yarders, he will be the key to this game once again, as well as the other backs. The most dangerous part of LA is their pass rush. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa could quite possibly be the most dangerous edge rush duo in the league. With the way the Patriots line has played, this could spell doom for Brady. They need to keep them always ready for the run game, by pounding it with Lewis and Gillislee as they did last week. That’ll keep the pressure off Brady, and open up the defense for some big plays via play action. The Chargers secondary, which is normally talented, is very banged up this year, and Brady should have no problems having his way with them, hooking up with the likes of Gronk, Cooks, and Hogan for some possible big plays if the line can hold up.
Davis Harris, this is why we signed you right? It’s his time to shine now. He’s been a prominent run stopper at points in his career, and now he has to take over for one of the most prominent in the league today. His veteran savvy should be a plus for this defense, as long as he is in proper shape to play the majority of a game. Van Noy has also proved his knack to make a big play here and there, and is steadily developing into a possible game changer. Another plus for this linebacking corp will be the return of Shea McClellin soon. Although he was not the most dominating force last year, they can use all the depth they can get, and his versatility will add something opposing offenses have to prepare for. That being said, the Chargers have one of the most dominating running backs in all aspects of the game in Melvin Gordon. He scores at least a TD a week, whether it is receiving or rushing. Stop him, and you win the game. Phillip Rivers, as much as I’ve liked him over his career has become a shell of what he once was. With double digit interception numbers over the past 7 years, and leading the league two of those times, he is bound to force some passes. And Malcolm Butler has been making people pay when they do that this year. He likes to force the ball deep a lot too, and McCourty and Harmon will not allow that to happen
This team is tougher than anyone thinks. With a dwindling fan base and an 0-4 start, they’ve fought back to win 3 straight. They should not be taken lightly because they have some legit players. In a tougher game than last week, 34-28 Pats.
Written By: Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)