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Are the Patriots underrated?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by ivanvamp, Jan 31, 2012.

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  1. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    A few days ago I started a thread on whether the Giants were overrated, looking at their last 5 games versus the rest of their season. Well, with the vast majority of experts picking the Giants, due to all the holes the Patriots have, I thought we should reverse the question and ask if they are now underrated.

    Consider why people are underrating the Pats:

    - They haven't played anybody (just one win against a team that finished with a winning record).

    - Their defense is terrible, especially their secondary, and they will get shredded by a good pass offense.

    - They have no running game.

    - The Pats' OL will get manhandled by the Giants' DL.

    Let's take these one at a time.

    They haven't played anybody
    This meme has been floated around for several weeks now. It is true that they haven't played the hardest schedule of all time, but you can only play who *is* on your schedule. You can't play phantom teams. The Giants may have beaten the Packers while the Patriots haven't, but the Pats never had a chance to even play the Packers, so we'll never know what would have happened. Maybe the Packers would have dropped 8 passes and committed 4 turnovers and the Pats would have housed them like the Giants did. Who knows?

    Perhaps more important than the final record of the teams the Pats played is the record of the teams they played when they played them. For example, if team X and Y both play team Z, but X plays Z when Z is hot and healthy, while Y plays Z when Z is injured and on a cold streak, we're not talking apples to apples.

    Here's the Pats' schedule and the record of the teams they played when they played them:

    Team (record, streak)
    W at Mia (0-0)
    W vs SD (1-0, W1)
    L at Buf (2-0, W2)
    W at Oak (2-1, W1)
    W vs NYJ (2-2, L2)
    W vs Dal (2-2, L1)
    L at Pit (5-2, W3)
    L vs NYG (5-2, W2)
    W at NYJ (5-3, W3)
    W vs KC (4-5, L2)
    W at Phi (4-6, W1...over NYG)
    W vs Ind (0-11, L11)
    W at Was (4-8, L1...and the next week they beat NYG at NY)
    W at Den (8-5, W6)
    W vs Mia (5-9, W1)
    W vs Buf (6-9, W1)
    W vs Den (9-8, W1)
    W vs Bal (13-4, W3)

    So the Pats have gone 9-3 against teams at .500 or better at the time they played them. And they've gone 3-1 against teams that are "hot" (defined as entering their game with NE riding a 3+ game winning streak). That sure looks a lot better than saying "the Pats have only beaten one team with a winning record".

    Moreover, the Pats and Giants have played 6 common opponents, comprising 9 total games (they played each others' division, plus 2 games against their own division opponents). In those 9 games against common opponents, here are their team records:

    NE: 8-1
    NY: 6-3

    Factor in their one head-to-head game, and in those 10 games, NY is 7-3 and NE is 8-2. In the second half of the season against common opponents, the Pats were 5-0 while the Giants were 3-2.

    Their defense is terrible
    During the regular season - especially the first 4 games - the Pats' D was brutal. They allowed an average of 24.5 ppg and a whopping 477.8 yards per game (368.8 passing) over those first four games. But look at this trend:

    1st 4 games: 24.5 ppg, 477.8 ypg, 368.8 passing
    Last 12 games: 20.3 ppg, 388.9 ypg, 269.0 passing
    2 playoff games: 15.0 ppg, 325.0 ypg, 195.0 passing

    So the defense is improving steadily. I realize they haven't exactly been playing the top level QBs in the league the 2nd half of the year, but still, there is no question - from the stats and from observation - that they are playing a lot better lately.

    This is totally cherry-picking I realize, but consider this: the Bills went up 21-0 against the Patriots in the first quarter of their last regular season game. From that point on, the Pats shut them out. Over their last 11 quarters they've given up a mere 30 points, which comes to just 2.7 points per quarter. The Giants, during their amazing 5-game run, have given up 67 points, which, if you count their OT as an extra quarter, comes to 3.2 points per quarter. Just sayin'......

    They have no running game.
    During the regular season, the Pats ran for 110.3 yds/g, which ranked them 20th in the league. Meanwhile, the Giants ran for 89.2 yds/g, which ranked them dead last. The Pats averaged 4.0 ypc, which ranked them 24th. Meanwhile, the Giants averaged 3.5 ypc, which ranked them dead last. The Giants had 6 fumbles to the Pats' 3. By every meaningful statistical measure the Pats' running game is better than the Giants.

    During the Giants' last 5 games, they have done this:

    Team (rush D rank): rush yds gained
    at NYJ (#13): 115 yds
    vs Dal (#7): 106 yds
    vs Atl (#6): 172 yds
    at GB (#14): 95 yds
    at SF (#1): 85 yds

    During the Pats' last 5 games, they've done this:

    Team (rush D rank): rush yds gained
    at Den (#22): 141 yds
    vs Mia (#3): 119 yds
    vs Buf (#28): 138 yds
    vs Den (#22): 146 yds
    vs Bal (#2): 96 yds

    So the Giants faced better run defenses than the Pats have, but the Giants have averaged 114.6 yds/g on the ground over their last 5, while the Pats have averaged 128.0 yds/g on the ground over their last 5. Simply put, if the Pats' have no running game, neither do the Giants, since by every meaningful measure the Pats have a better running game than the Giants do.

    The Pats' OL will get manhandled by the Giants' DL.
    The Pats allowed just 32 sacks this year (#9 in the NFL) for 173 yards (#6 in the NFL). In their head-to-head matchup, the Pats allowed just 2 sacks, 2 TFL, and 3 QB hits.

    In games against top 10 sack defenses here's what the Pats' O-line has allowed:

    at #1 Phi: 1 sack, 6 TFL, 2 QB hits
    vs #3 NYG: 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QB hits
    vs #3 Bal: 1 sack, 2 TFL, 3 QB hits
    vs #7 Dal: 3 sacks, 7 TFL, 8 QB hits
    at #10 Den: 2 sacks, 5 TFL, 3 QB hits
    vs #10 Den: 0 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QB hits
    at #10 Mia: 1 sack, 3 TFL, 3 QB hits
    vs #10 Mia: 4 sacks, 4 TFL, 8 QB hits
    vs #10 Was: 1 sack, 0 TFL, 6 QB hits

    AVG: 1.7 sacks, 3.3 TFL, 4.2 QB hits

    During the playoffs, the Pats' O-Line, against the #3 and #10 pass rushing defenses, has allowed just 1 sack, 3 TFL, and 5 QB hits.

    In other words, against the best pass-rushing teams in the league this year, the Pats' OL has done a *tremendous* job protecting Brady and keeping their opponents out of the offensive backfield. The Giants sure have the ability to get to the QB, but the Patriots have the ability to protect the QB like few other O-lines do.


    In sum, the Pats are actually being *underrated* despite being 13-3 (now 15-3) and the #1 team in the AFC, despite having the clear statistical edge over the Giants, despite having the better QB, coach, TE, OL, overall offense, running game, passing game, scoring defense, etc. This is not to say that the Pats will win or even should be favored. But it's amazing to me that their chances are being dismissed by so many so-called experts.
     
  2. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    face it Ivan..the Pats suck..I'm not even going to watch...worst job by BB ever..I read that right here..must be true...plus, when was the last time Marshall Faulk AND Chris Carter were EVER wrong about anything?....nope...I'll be watching PBS this Sunday...and I'll prbably stop following the Pats until Kraft smartens up and gets rid of Belichick for getting to the Super Bowl with such bad teams...it's embarrassing... besides, I can be doing much more constructive things with my free time...like re-watching every episode of "Merrill Hoge's Fashion Tips For Success"...
     
  3. Jackson 2

    Jackson 2 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    Merrill's Tip #1: Make sure that the knot in your tie is bigger than your head. More to come. Be patient.
     
  4. PatsDeb

    PatsDeb PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Are they underrated? Definitely! Now all they have to do is come out and shock the world!!
     
  5. Keyser Söze

    Keyser Söze In the Starting Line-Up

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    #87 Jersey

    I still don't believe in this defense and I think if we lose it will be because of it. Hopefully I'm wrong and they don't get sliced.
     
  6. patstd

    patstd On the Roster

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    They are 3.5 point favorites. How are they underrated?
     
  7. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    you know, you really can't go wrong mining the Hoge motherlode...he's an inexhaustible vein of fail....
     
  8. italia44

    italia44 In the Starting Line-Up

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    2.5 favorites....and this is a betting line to get money bet evenly on both teams.....the vig is the potential profit......3 points or under means nothing.....this is an even game:rocker:
     
  9. jmg17

    jmg17 Rookie

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    Talking heads talk...and talk...and..
     
  10. PikesPeakPatsFan

    PikesPeakPatsFan Rookie

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    I don't think the OP was referring to the point spread, which is of course set by Vegas. He was likely referring to the many, many individuals in the media and amongst the general NFL fanbase that continually bash the Patriots using the points that he picked apart in his post.

    The media and other haters constantly talk about how bad the Patriots are on defense, how they haven't played anyone this season, etc. The OP did a great job of breaking down these arguments and showing how they might be off-base.
     
  11. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Good breakdown Ivan.
     
  12. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #61 Jersey

    Besides getting the win, you know what would be over the top for me? Seeing Big Vince finally get his pick-6 against Eli.

    That would be sweetness indeed. That would be on an NFLN endless loop for months.
     
  13. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    Was my original post not clear?
     
  14. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I have to say it's not just the media. It looks like the Giants are underrating the Pats and overrating themselves. The Giants seem to think it's still 2007. They can't seem to shut their mouths. The Pats have a quiet confidence and the Giants are very arrogant. I think the Giants are trying to bully the Pats and the Pats are gonna punch right back and I have a feeling they will beat them down for 4 quarters.
     
  15. Beecke

    Beecke PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Okay guys. It´s wednesday, we have heard and read about all the points why the Giants are probably the most dominant team ever to enter the SB and also why this Patriots team is a fraud on so many levels that only something sinister can have propelled them to the SB.

    The good news: only a few days before we won´t have to hear it anymore and then we´ll see if the Patriots will lose by 73 points or maybe surprise everyone out there and only lose by 36.

    Everything is said and I´m looking forward to the Pats playing a blinder on sunday.
     
  16. Bostonian1962

    Bostonian1962 In the Starting Line-Up

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    GREAT post! I feel better. With the "experts" picking one team (NYG) at an unprecedented level, I needed this post.
     
  17. Bostonian1962

    Bostonian1962 In the Starting Line-Up

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    They are 2.5 point favorites. It started at 3.5. Then it was 3.0. Now it's 2.5, and will probably end at 2.0. Heavy money on the Giants is what is moving the spread like that. THAT is how they are underrated!
     
  18. oldskool138

    oldskool138 In the Starting Line-Up

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    #75 Jersey

    If you think the OP is great, can you not copy the entire thing in your "Great post" post?
     
  19. Nunchucks

    Nunchucks In the Starting Line-Up

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    Ignoring the point spread and that I think the Giants are going to be very hard to beat, I definitely think the Patriots are being underrated.

    They will be able to run the ball, especially if Ridley plays. The short passing game is going to be tough for the Giants to matchup with, especially if Gronk is out there playing like Terrell Owens did on a broken ankle in the Superbowl against the Eagles. I also like Deon Branch on turf, he comes up big in games like this, he really could be the difference in this game.

    As for the Giants offense, Manningham is overrated, Nicks isn't a huge burner, he is fast but his biggest scary ability is going up and getting the ball. If the Patriots keep everything in front of them, they may be able to force Manning into throwing a pick. The Patriots DL is playing fantastic right now and with Spikes in the middle, they should be able to stopt he run with their front 7, which will help the secondary keep everything in front of them.


    I expect the Giants to win, but would not be shocked if the Patriots came out and dominated.
     
  20. oldskool138

    oldskool138 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Fixed it for you.

    The Super Bowl is not the time or place to see if Ridley's fumble-itis has gone away.
     
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