Patriots RBs vs Falcons Front Seven – Razor’s Edge New England
The Patriots running game was the 7th ranked rushing attack in the league during the season averaging 117.0 yards per game. Using a tandem of LaGarrette Blount and the speedier Dion Lewis between the tackles, they can mix things up effectively and keep the opposing defenses from teeing off on Tom Brady.
Atlanta was 17th against the run allowing 104.5 yards per game and 4.5 yards per rush. They rely on smaller, faster, athletic linebackers to flow to the ball.
Look for the Patriots to use Lewis early in this one and smashing the ball between the tackles, negating the Atlanta speed advantage and keeping them off-balance. Blount will get his carries but will really be used if more if they can get a lead in the second half and use his size and ability as a closer when the defense gets tired.
Patriots WRs vs Falcons Secondary – Razor’s Edge New England
The Patriots passing game like their counterparts this week uses a plethora of weapons to keep the opponent on their heels. Tom Brady can spread the ball around to Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell, Michael Floyd, tight end Martellus Bennett, as well as running backs Lewis and White.
Atlanta’s defense was 28th against the pass allowing just under 267 yards per game. They have a young, emerging secondary but will miss veteran CB Desmond Trufant who was placed on IR in November. Vic Beasley led the team and the NFL with 15.5 sacks.
Look for Josh McDaniels to spread them out and force them to cover everyone. By forcing the linebackers to cover in space, it reduces their effectiveness at flowing to the ball. Lewis and White in the passing game are big factors for the Patriots offense this week.
It will be interesting to see who the Falcons matchup with Edelman, the Patriots go-to guy with Gronk on IR. He makes the team go with his short underneath routes and making YAC, yards-after-the-catch. More to that below.
Next up the Atlanta offense:
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