In this segment I will provide a weekly review for the previous weekend’s Patriots game, as well as my prediction for next weekend’s game.
-Let me begin by apologizing for the tardiness of this segment. Shortly after I began celebrating the 13th win of the season for the New England Patriots (I can’t get enough Guinness lately) on Sunday my computer’s hard drive decided to go, leaving me with no visible evidence that I have been in college for the past 3 ½ years. Anyways, the Patriots claimed their 13th victory of the 2010 season on Sunday, which clinched them the number one seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Home field advantage is huge for the Pats, as we all know how good they are at home, but for some reason I can’t get last season’s home playoff beat down against the Ravens out of my head…
-Many people’s initial reaction to the score line (34-3) has them praising the Patriots defense to no end. To a certain degree, I agree. The Patriots defense has had a knack of being opportunistic this season, creating turnovers and taking advantage of sloppy play by opposing teams. Although the defense allowed only three points, the Bills ended the game with 7 turnovers (5 by Ryan Fitzpatrick). Anyone that watches NFL football, or even football at any level, knows that committing that many turnovers is essentially the equivalent of a forfeit. Ryan Fitzpatrick made some throws that had me rewinding and replaying the play four or five times to see what he was thinking. CJ Spiller looked like he had enough of playing in the weather up in Buffalo by dropping a couple of punts. Yes, allowing three points is a great sign for this defense, but no, they did not do it without a lot of help from the Bills.
-As I mentioned in the “What to Look For…” segment, this game would be controlled on the ground. The Buffalo Bills came into Sunday’s contest boasting the worst rushing defense in the entire NFL, and they did little to help their cause. Yes, Tom Brady threw three touchdowns and the running backs combined for only one (Danny Woodhead), but the backs put Brady in position to throw those scores. With the cold and windy weather up in Buffalo, Brady’s stats weren’t overly impressive (15/27, 140 yards, 3 touchdowns). Danny Woodhead grabbed the first score of the game for the Patriots on a 29 yard run in the first quarter and it was all BJGE and Woodhead from there. The two backs combined to rush 32 times for 197 yards and the one aforementioned touchdown. They posted a 6.2 yards per carry average, and most importantly drained the life (and clock) out of the game. The only criticism I have is that Fred Taylor received only one carry and lost three yards. I would have liked to see Taylor get more action to get him ready to at least contribute during the playoffs.
-If you know me, than you know I’m not finishing this post without mentioning the defense. So much has been made about the poor stats that this defense has posted throughout the season, often drawing comparisons between the New Orleans Saints of last season in that the defense is not good, just very opportunistic. Well, I’m calling bulls***. I told you before the season, this defense is the youngest in the league, but by the end of the season many of these guys can’t be considered rookies anymore. Devin McCourty, Brandon Deadrick, Brandon Spikes (when he returns), and Jermaine Cunningham have all seen enough time that they can’t be considered rookies anymore. Other guys like Kyle Arrington and Pat Chung, that didn’t see much time last season, are now very seasoned having played almost all of the snaps over the course of the year. Since the Patriots loss at Cleveland in week 9, they have allowed an average of 16.9 points per game. If that defense, with all of its youth, can allow that same amount of points per game in the playoffs, there is no shot the Pats don’t win the Super Bowl. All I ask of you is to wake up, smell the coffee, and realize that when I tell you something you should listen…and yes I accept the fact that I’m an asshole.
-Let me throw in a little FYI here: So, apparently in 2006 Danny Woodhead led D-II football in rushing with 2,756 yards. Those numbers are astounding. But, what a source recently brought to light is that in that same season, D-II’s second leading rusher was former La Salle Academy great, Bryant University running back Lorenzo Perry (1,924 yards).
-NEXT WEEK’S PREDICTION: Patriots 38 – Miami 20