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How the season could play out

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PonyExpress, Nov 16, 2006.

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  1. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    Final AFC Standings

    1. Colts 13-3
    2. Chargers 12-4
    3. Pats 11-5
    4. Ravens 10-6
    5. Broncos 12-4
    6. Chiefs/Jaguars/Jets 9-7

    Wild Card Round
    Pats over Chiefs/Jags/Jets
    Ravens over Broncos

    Divisional Round
    Colts over Ravens
    Pats @ Chargers

    IOW, the Pats most likely scenario is having to win a road game against a top notch team in the second rd, the Chargers being most likely.
    The Pats would be unable to run the ball against a Charger front 7 operating on two weeks rest. Jamal Williams, Olshansky and Castillo will stuff the run. Merriman will be back, as well as Sean Philips, who, along with Castillo, will collapse the pocket easily and put significant pressure on Brady. I share the belief of many Pats fans that the Pats current offense is not up to the challenge.

    On the opposite side of the ball... Even assuming Warren and Seymour are healthy by then, which is far from certain, I see Colvin being stymied by LT McNeil, just as the rookie did to Jerry Porter in the SD/Pitt game. Rivers will likely operate with minimal pressure. The key matchups would be Rodney Harrison, or the "SS of the week" vs. Gates, and Wilson/Hawkins/Seau against Tomlinson on screens and short passes. Those matchups decidedly favor the Chargers. Assuming Rivers doesn't turn into a Pumpkin like Pennington did against the Raiders in 2002, I see his day being easier than Brady's due to the fact the Pats have trouble applying effective pressure even when blitzing (re: Colvin), and the Pats age at LBer will have begun to take a toll so late in the season. The Pats will have to score big to win.

    Therefore, something on the Pats O must change dramatically between now and then.

    My suggestions: Maroney, Thomas, and Jackson must integrate more into the passing game. Otherwise the ship is sunk.

    a) More of Maroney in the passing game, less of Faulk. Find more ways to get Maroney in space as a passing outlet for Brady, a la Tomlinson or Addai.

    b) More of Thomas, less of Graham. Just because Graham is temporarily healthy doesn't mean he should get his role in the offense back. The running game, Graham's forte, is not going to beat the Chargers in SD come January... the passing game will. Furthermore, it is likely that Graham will be injured again by then anyway considering past history. Therefore, Thomas needs the reps. Thomas has consistent hands, and could be a viable option against the blitz in the Fauria role (that Fauria flubbed against Denver in the playoffs last year). The problem in the offense is SAFETY VALVES for Brady in the passing game. Dave Thomas is already more reliable at this than Graham.

    c) Let Chad Jackson make mistakes on the field between now and then without punishing his playing time. Even Cowher is doing this with Santonio Holmes, who fumbles every time he touches the ball. Holmes is still being given the opportunities, and is developing week by week. Is McDaniels failing here too? Why no crossing routes to take advantage of Jackson's speed and ability to break tackles? Jackson can win a game by himself, much as Watson did against Jacksonville last year in the playoffs. Jackson must be given more opportunites, with designed plays, to take advantage of that ability.

    The only way the Pats can beat a team, such as the Chargers, on the road, come playoff time: (1) Maroney taking screens and swing passes, perhaps breaking one or two for long gainers, threatening the D and forcing the Chargers to hold back on the blitz; (2) Dave Thomas quick outlet passes to beat the blitz on third downs; (3) Chad Jackson running a fly, or a crossing route to take advantage of his speed, breaking a tackle, and taking it to the house. It is time to make the scheme fit the available talent, not vice versa. The First Dynasty is over. Branch, Graham and Faulk were a part of that, but their time is over. The Second Dynasty is being born. The players who will make that happen are Maroney, Thomas and Jackson, and better sooner than later.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
  2. Aqua4Ever04

    Aqua4Ever04 Banned

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    Where are the Dolphins at my friend? LOL! I know, you guys all hate me here but I love to talk football so I'll stick around. Let me just say that if the Dolphins can play like this for the rest of the year, they have a shot in every single game.

    With that out of the way, here's what I see happening. (I won't include the Fins even though I think they have a shot.)

    1. Colts 14-2
    2. Chargers 12-4
    3. Ravens 11-5
    4. Patriots 10-6
    5. Broncos 12-4
    6. Jaguars or Dolphins (I couldn't resist) 9-7

    Should be a great second half of the NFL season. It looks like for the first time in a long time, the AFC isn't great from 1-8.
     
  3. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    Aqua,
    I was just saying to a buddy of mine that the Dolphins have a legit chance at 8-8. The Vegas number was 9 wins, and I unfortunately took the over. But 8 wins is not out of the question if they keep giving R. Brown 25+ carries a game. 25+ is the key number. They haven't lost yet when having done so. Also, Indy will have clinched by the time the Phins play them so that could be a win too.
     
  4. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    11-5?

    If the Pats lose two more games this season, I'll be extremely surprised.

    I fully expect them to secure that #2 seed.

    (And knowing the nature of this board -- every win or loss is magnified 100x -- a win against Green Bay will probably have fans thinking #1 seed again. I like to stay constant.)

    (The sky is falling!!!)
     
  5. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #54 Jersey

    I was actually thinking about this last night, fun thread. Thanks for setting it up.

    1. Colts 15-1
    2. Chargers 13-3
    3. Ravens 12-4
    4. Patriots 11-5
    5. Broncos 11-5 (WC)
    6. Jets 11-5 (lose tiebreaker with Pats for division) (WC)
    - it is scary how close the AFC East could become, I will post a breakdown in another thread

    WC - Broncos at Patriots
    WC - Jets at Ravens

    Divisional - Patriots at Colts
    Divisional - Ravens at Chargers

    Conference - Patriots at Chargers

    If they make the Superbowl they are going to have to play 3 straight great games, two on the road.
     
  6. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I would be surprised if the Chargers only have 3 losses. They still have to play Denver twice, @ Buffalo in December, KC and @ Seattle. Odds are they will split with the Broncos and they could lose anyone of those games. Remember one of their losses was to KC (in KC). Seattle should have Alexander and Hasselback for that game as well.

    The Ravens have a rough schedule as well. They have to play Pitt twice, Atlanta and back to back road games against Cincy and KC. We by far have the easiest road to 13-3, if we do win out I think that will be enough to secure the #2 seed. Its 12-4 that gets into the hairy stuff with all the tie breakers which we don't fare to well with at the moment.
     
  7. jczxohn1

    jczxohn1 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Pony, this is some excellent analysis and a very insightful Rx.

    The Pats are vulnerable to every other team on your list for similar reasons, not just the Chargers.

    Quote/My suggestions: Maroney, Thomas, and Jackson must integrate more into the passing game. Otherwise the ship is sunk./quote

    Surprised other posters are focused on handicapping the standings. This is the real meat of the thread.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
  8. DENVER-OWNS-PATSIES

    DENVER-OWNS-PATSIES Rookie

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    Lmao@ pat fans thinking the chargers gonna win the west...:rofl:
     
  9. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    Who wins the west is irrelevant to us. If Denver wins, the same issues plague the Pats. IMO the Broncos will finish around 12-4. I'm betting the Chargers this weekend though... that Denver D has been awful recently.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
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