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Playoff Patriots--Concerned/Not Concerned

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AndyJohnson, Dec 28, 2005.

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  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Heading into the playoffs, which areas are of no concern, which are potentially troublesome?
    Or, put another way, if we lose in the playoffs which areas are likely to cause the problems?

    My List

    No concern
    QB- This is an advantage in a big game for us, no matter who the opponent.
    Run D- Has developed into the best in the NFL
    Sprecial teams- More likely to be a plus than a problem
    WR/TE- We wont lose because they cannot get open or they drop passes
    Pass rush- A weakness early in the year, I think the LBs and the schemes plus Seymour will make this a plus, or at least not a liabilitiy
    Coaching- It means more in the playoffs, and we have the best


    Concerns
    Secondary- While it has played better, there is still the worry that they are susceptible
    OLine- Injuries would hurt. They must forge a running game for us. Ive seen too many times of struggle in the run game to not be a bit concerned they could play poorly vs a tough front 7

    IMO, we will not lose to anyones running game. We will not lose due to Brady, his weapons or being outcoached.
    The biggest combination to worry about is a physical front 7 that stuffs our run, and an offense that will protect the QB and expose our secondary. I think the secondary won't be exposed unless we cannot generate pressure, need to blitz a lot, and it gets picked up.

    Looking at the playoffs teams, I see some that could pose some problems and none that have all of what it takes to make all of the concerns an issue.

    Pittsburgh- If they cannot run, they cannot win, and they will not run on us.
    Jax- Do have the run D, but cannot throw effectively enough to outduel Brady if necessary.
    Denver- We can be effective at all phases vs their D, although it is pretty good. If we stop the run, Jake Plummer will not beat us.
    Cincy- Their passing game is good, but our run D and pass rush will make it tougher for them to throw well. Their defense needs turnovers. They won't get them vs Brady, and we will probably score more points vs them than any playoff team.
    Indy- First, you have to convince me Manning can play well against us in a playoff game. To date he has been the worst player on the field in those games. Since it will be in Indy, I don't think their D has much chance against our O. The combination of a physical running game, and our receivers on turf vs their secondary makes the biggest mismatch of the day their D trying to stop our O.

    Interstingly, if you break down those opponents, we win because of our offense vs Indy and Cincy, and because of our defense vs Pitt and Jax, and as a team vs Denver.

    This team has shown one flaw the 03/04 Champs never did: The ability to get behind, lose control of the game and just play poorly. I dont see that happening against any of these teams. It may, but if it doesnt, we are SB bound.
     
  2. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes, the secondary is a concern and the run D may not be as effective
    when PATs play teams with the follow characteristics.

    1. They can protect the QB very well.
    2. They have a decent Run Offense
    3. They have a decent Pass Offense.

    The reasons are

    1. If the QB has time the secondary is not good enough to cover for long.

    2. If the Pats try schemes to help the secondary the PATs Run D will
    not be as effective and the opponent will run alot.

    There are three teams that have these Characteristics.

    Colts, Bengals and Broncos

    Allowed Sacks gives an indication of overall allowed pressure on the QB
    The least allowed sacks in the NFL (1#, #2, and #3) are
    Colts = #1, Bengals=#2 and Denver=#3
    In otherwords PATs may face the toughest teams to get pressure on the QB.

    If PATs try to scheme to help the secondary all three teams have good
    enough run offenses to take advantage of that Ploy.

    Colts and Bengals scoring 20+ points on the PATs should not be a surprise.

    Broncos passing attack is not as good, so PATs secondary may not need
    help - they better not because Broncos Run Offense is 2nd best in the
    league.
    If Pats secondary doesn't need help then Bronos could have a hard time
    reaching 20.

    PATs getting 21+ poinst against the Broncos is very possible but PATs
    run game is going to have to be good enough to keep Broncos from giving
    help to their secondary and PATs Oline needs to protect Brady this time around.

    PATs Offense aganist Colts and Bengals needs to generate at least 24
    points is my guess. Aganist the Bengals I see that as very possible as
    Bengals D is the weaker of the three teams.

    But against the Colts, if Colts D is healthy, for PATs to score 24+ points may be hard unless Pats run Offense can gets going. Also Tommy could have
    one of his best games.

    If Pats lose my guess it will be against the Colts and PATs' score will be
    24 points or less.

    I wish I could see PATs shutting Colts Offense down this year like last but
    if that is to happen the secondary is going to have to stay healthy and play together at least 2 more games. Then they will have to play the best
    game of the year against the Colts. I just don't think there is enough time
    but maybe???

    Of course Colts injuries may start to be a factor like Harrisons hand not healing fast enough for him to be 100%.
     
  3. jczxohn1

    jczxohn1 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Pretty good analysis, IMO. The key to any of these games appears to be shutting down the run with the front 7. Also, Bruschi has to be back for the second round. We can probably get thru JAX without him, if we have to, but beyond that, I'm not so sure. We need the Navigator, as Sey says. If we don't have to put 8 in the box, and Asante comes back O.K., I think the secondary is going to be a pleasant surprise.
     
  4. Arizona Patsfan

    Arizona Patsfan Rookie

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    Versus Denver

    I was very fearful of playing denver in Denver until I started to analyze denver as it now is constructed.

    Denver must run to win.
    Snake will make mistakes if he is forced to pass.
    Shanahan has shackled Snake into a throw only when absolutely necessary
    The Denver defense's strong point is run defense.
    The Denver weakness is pass defense in the secondary.
    Denver's LBs are fast.

    When they beat us we couldn't stop the run.
    Snake was never forced to throw.
    Brady scored on Denver with a passing only offense
    We had no healthy RBs; we tried but couldn't run wide.

    NONE of those condition now apply.

    I'm sanguine that the results would be different.
     
  5. PatsSteve1

    PatsSteve1 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I think if I were the OC of either the Bronco's or Colts after watching film of the last 5 or 6 Pats games, I'd try passing more on 1st down and do it primarily on Samuel and Hawkins side of the field. Do it until it got stopped.
    Rather than try to run to set up the pass, I'd pass to set up the run. The Pats usually blitz on 2nd and 3rd and on obvious pass downs. Not always, but usually. And I'd keep passing on 1st down and pass more than run until the Pats stopped it either because Samuel and Hawkins were able to do that or the Pats started playing the pass more, teamwise. If a team comes out running and keep getting stuck in 2nd or 3rd and long, it gives the Pats what they want.
    The Pats usually handle the Steelers because the Steelers never change what they want to do. They try to out physical you at the LOS and run it down your throat. Any team that does the best when it's QB throws the least, wants to run. The Pats are usually able to do that and make Rothleshamburger throw and he'll make mistakes when it's put on his shoulders.
    The other possible AFC opponents I'm not too worried about and if teh Pats can't beat them they don't deserve to face anyone else anyway.
     
  6. PatsSteve1

    PatsSteve1 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Ooops. I forgot the Bengals. And if I were them, I'd do the same as the Colts and Bronco's. I'm not saying they'd win, or even who'd win those games. Just what I'd do if I were the OC of 1 of those teams. Would the front 7 be able to get enough rush to disrupt it if it were 3 step drops and extra gusy held in to block? The Pats face teams with good pass rushes and we expect them to come up with something to give Brady time to throw. Other teams can do that, too. They should be able to anyway.

    I also don't think this week's Dolphins game is going to be any cakewalk and that the Dolphins will come to play. They are on a bit of a roll and everything I read from them is that they want to go out on a roll for momemtum to start next year. Some may think they have nothing to play for. Winning is always worth playing for and they do have some good players.
     
  7. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    While I always worry about Brady or one of our other irreplaceables, the idea of any team coming out and dominating us for a short period of time and then Pats loosing control of the game is my biggest concern. Earlier in the season this was apparent, however recently we have played much better and is less obvious. However, any one of the five teams mentioned above are potentially explosive, except Jax which I do not know much about, and can put a lot of points on the board and we can come back, but it is much harder to climb out of a hole. My keys for the playoffs is to take control of the game early, dictate the tempo, and win the time of possession, if this happens we can win against any team on any day. Our strength is our versatility and adaptability, look at last years run when we beat Pitt and Indy on consecutive weekends, two completely different game plans for two completely different opponents. I expect the same this year and I expect to go far in the playoffs, our equalizer against any team is our coaching and their ability to identify weaknesses of another team and develop a game plan.
     
  8. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Not to go slightly off-topic, but I'll answer the subject of the thread as opposed to the individual breakdowns of your post, because this is what it really boils down to for me:

    With Bruschi - Cautiously Optimistic
    Without Bruschi - Concerned and far less optimistic about our chances for a four game run.

    I know you get miffed sometimes when people don't answer the exact question posed in your thread starter, but take that for what it's worth.
     
  9. FloridaPatsFan

    FloridaPatsFan Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I watch a lot of Jax games down here in Orlando....Jax is not a complicated offense mainly due to Gerrard being a sub/1st time player....The guy looks like a RB playing QB...He is solid. Has tools but a complicated D like the Pats will throw him off, possibly badly. That is why I hope the pats stay in the #4 seed and Play Jax in 1st playoff game. The offense has scored over 30 points a game 3 times this season and amazingly, with a decent QB like Leftwich had not done so in something like over 2 years. Leftwich wants to play and is coming off injury (broken Leg bone I believe). He has a good arm but can completely disappear during games for long stretches...another plus for the Pats D.

    Overall, I think thier D will keep us from running up the score, but the Jax O will have a hard time moving the ball on us.

    As for the rest of the AFC playoff teams....I thought this a month ago, Denver looks like a team that is going to get upset in their divisional game...Cincinnati who can be so good and so bad at times, will have problems with this type of per se team personality in the playoffs.....They could beat Pitt 40-10 or lose by the same score. Indy has a great chance to make it to the AFCCG and the other team may very well be us.
     
  10. fleabassist1

    fleabassist1 In the Starting Line-Up

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    #12 Jersey

    I am worried that we will make colts fans cry when we beat them.
    oh wait, no im not!
     
  11. teamplay

    teamplay Practice Squad Player

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    I agreed with the secondary and Oline being the major concerns, with the secondary being far away the biggest concern.

    Judging by the game strategy shift over the past month, I suspect the coaches have concluded that the secondary is going to be very suspect against good pass attacks. To me, the Patriots have gone into a "protect the secondary" mode: more blitzing up front, more rushing plays, more emphasis on time of possession to reduce the minutes the secondary is on the field.

    Hobbs and Hawkins have stepped up for sure, but having said that, the biggest turnaround of the past month is that the secondary has been on the field fewer than 21 minutes per game compared to 32 minutes the previous month. (Weeks 13-16 vs. 9-12)

    I've never heard Belichick talk as much about a "complementary game" as he has lately. My conclusion is that the team is working every angle to lighten the load on the DBs.

    What we've seen the past month is a team retooling itself for its playoff strategy against good passing teams, IMHO.
     
  12. mcdonut16

    mcdonut16 Practice Squad Player

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    First of all Andy, I owe you an apology for ripping you a month ago in a post you had about "What if the Patriots blew out the Jets, Bills, Bucs, Jets and Dolphins, would you feel better about their playoff chances". I called you an absolute homer at the time thinking that scenario was totally ridiculous based on the Patriots D's prior performances, instead you are a prophet and a scholar !

    FROM Boston.com:

    New England was 27th in the league against the run (128.9 yards a game) through eight games. The Patriots have been the league's best against the run (57.3 yards per game) in the last seven games.

    The Patriots allowed 220 points in their first eight games (27.5 a game), 30th in the league. They have surrendered just 12.9 points a game in the last seven contests, which would be good for second in the league behind the Chicago Bears, were that their season average.

    The Patriots were 31st in the league in total defense (370.9 yards per game) at the midway point. Since, they have been the fourth-stingiest defense in the league in yards allowed (276.9 per game).


    How the Defense went from best in the league last year, to worst in the league earlier this year, to best in the league for the second half of this year is absolutely mind boggling and is beyond definate explanation. I guess it is a combination of injuries, personnel changes, experience (coaches and players) scheme changes, and the level of competition, etc. etc.

    The only thing that concerns me at this point is additional injuries and the secondary. Ellis Hobbs has absolutely blanketed people, and the coverage overall is night in day to earlier in the season. The Patriots have been able to get a consistently good pash rush lately which helps the secondary but overall I think the secondary has obviously improved.

    If the run D continues to play like it has the last 5 weeks or so the Patriots will be picking up their rings again next spring at the "annual" Kraft party.
     
  13. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I disagreed fully with that post earlier by Andy and will now give my respects to the insightful guess. But McDonut don't get it twisted, Andy's still an absolute homer even though he ended up being 4/5ths (so far) right.

    ;)
     
  14. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I'm only seriously concerned about 3 things :

    1) Bruschi's health, obviously.
    2) Samuel and Hobbs staying healthy as our depth at CB is non existent.
    3) Hawkins playing decent pass coverage vs. better QB.
     
  15. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Closely related to all of this is that someone is selling, "Win it for Tony" T-shirts on Ebay, I am not sure this is the best way to motivate a team, while it is being done by a fan and may not be related at all to the Indy mindset. Nevertheless I have to wonder.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2005
  16. flutie2phelan

    flutie2phelan Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Good angle, TP!
     
  17. MyFav

    MyFav Rookie

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    I think that many people are looking at Denver in the wrong way. Denver gets a big lead and then just try to keep it. Our run D is one of the tops in the league and then people say that our pass D is not very good but you must look at the facts. Denver is the most passed on team in the league do to have the big lead in games. So yes the yards are going to add up. But the are a bend but don't brake defense. Plus we are a +18 on turnover ratio. And people think that we can't win if we throw. The only thing that makes it seem that way is Jake has thrown only 18 TDs and that is only because we run the ball in the redzone alot. But we have been throwing the ball more often lately to get ready for the playoffs.
     
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