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Defense and Turnovers

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PatsFaninAZ, Sep 11, 2008.

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  1. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

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    There are a few teams in the NFL that can win double digit games even with some spotty defense and even if they have a bad day in the takeaway department.

    Not many. We arguably were one of those teams this year, but aren't any more. We're just now in the big stew that's the national parity league. With 24 hour sports channels, matchups are broken down, and skill position players like Moss and Cassel are analyzed until the cows come home.

    But most weeks, the teams that can go positive in turnover differential and whose defenses can get off the field more often than not on 3d down are the ones that win. If you can be that team more weeks than not, make the field goals you're supposed to make, and not play below average on special teams, you'll usually be one of the 8 teams fighting for the 6 playoff spots.

    I don't want to undermine over analysis or get too far afield from the "will he" or "won't he" Matt Cassel discussions. But really, I think in 16 weeks, if one were to look at those two stats each week -- opponent's third down conversions and takeaways/giveaways -- you'd have a pretty good picture of where we'll be.
     
  2. TheGodInAGreyHoodie

    TheGodInAGreyHoodie Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Last year when the team played well, they won by 25 points. When they played like a pile of warm crap they won by 3 points or lost by 3.

    That is not the norm.

    Most teams can't play as poor as the Pats did against the Ravens and get a W. The 2007 Pats could.

    The Pats are only going to win when they play well.
     
  3. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

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    So, to go back to my own topic, I continue to think -- all the Matt Cassel talk aside -- this really is where we're going to win or lose games this year.

    If you look at the final stats from Sunday, they are very very close between the two teams except for turnovers.

    We were a bit higher than I think we need to be on third down conversions. Fifty percent is a little too high, closer to 40s would be better -- but the red zone defense helped.

    Takeaway was +1, but really a +2, because I think for this purpose a turnover on downs (or missed field goal turover on downs) is pretty much equivalent to a takeaway. I'd say that was the story of this game. And I think these two stats will continue to be the most important all year. Discipline on penalties was also huge this game.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2008
  4. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

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    And field position. I'd throw that into the mix. But I agree with your thesis - defense and turnovers will have to win us a lot of games, and yes I'll add special teams. We've scored 17 & 19 points so far in the two games without Brady, I'd look for that trend to continue, and I'd be happy w that trend, as long as the D & special teams do enough to keep teams under 17 points.
     
  5. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

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    Yeah -- field position is huge. Sometimes you watch games where it gets into the field position cycle where one team can't make headway, and you think it would just be easier if the other team would get a field goal and trade 3 points for a fresh start with a kick off.

    I wonder how much to make of the 19 points and the red zone efficiency from yesterday. I think that getting the first points of the game and never trailing caused a considerable amount of red zone conservatism. It was really a classic Belichick game like we used to play 'em before last year's Randy Moss Tom Brady explosion. Get points up on the board, keep up the pressure with field goals, play sound bend but don't break defense, and wait for the other guy to start pressing to deal with the scoreboard and make a mistake.

    The missed field goal on the Jets first drive was huge too.
     
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