Last week we saw the Patriots offense run at full speed, executing 89 plays in a 31-21 victory over the Denver Broncos. This week, don’t expect to see more of the same. They’re headed to CenturyLink Field in Seattle, notoriously one of the loudest places to play. The key to winning this week will be for the offense to stay focused and get the crowd out of this game early. Here are my offensive keys to the game.
1. Keep the Balance on Offense The Patriots have the top ranked offense in the National Football League. The key to their success has been combining Tom Brady’s arm with a run game we haven’t seen since the days of Corey Dillon. Stevan Ridley has been outstanding and is ranked in the top five among running backs in the league. He’s averaging 4.8 yards per carry and in addition to him, the Patriots have also seen promising things from Brandon Bolden. This week my fellow PatsFans.com blogger Steve Balestrieri wrote a piece about this offensive balance and how important it is to continued success. Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker need to keep doing their job to make sure the offense keeps running in top form.
Tom Brady can’t let the crowd in Seattle affect his play.(FILE:USPresswire)
2. Tom Brady Needs to Get Loud When Brady enters the Seahawks’ house it will be crucial for him to get loud so his offensive unit can hear him. We learned this week the Patriots offense has simplified things by using one word play calls. We know Brady is capable and often changes the play at the line and he’ll have to be extra aware of his volume this Sunday. In the same regard the offensive line will have to adjust and keep their ears focused on the sound of their quarterback’s voice. Hopefully they can handle the increased background noise and all stay on the same page. Seattle is one of three cities Brady has never played in so hopefully he sat down with Deion Branch this week to learn the ins and outs of the stadium.
Offensive Line Needs to Protect While they were better last week, the offensive line still has work to do when it comes to protecting Brady. In the past two weeks they’ve allowed him to be sacked five times for a combined loss of 23 yards. Seattle has the third ranked defense and is fifth in the league with 16 sacks so far this season. With a loud crowd it will be important for the line to protect Brady. Nate Solder and Ryan Wendell will need to hold strong and give Brady ample time to find his receivers. We can’t afford to have him ducking and dodging phantom Seahawks as we’ve seen him do in other games this season.
An interesting stat to note is both the Patriots and the Seahawks have forced nine fumbles this season, leading the league. However, the Patriots have recovered eight of those fumbles whereas the Seahawks have only recovered four. With these offensive keys the Patriots defense will need to keep playing their way to compete with a strong and physical Seattle team. Staying focused and not letting the crowd control the game will be the way the Patriots win on Sunday.