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liny195 Offline

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28.12.2019 03:00
The New England Patriots are entering Super Bowl 53 Antworten

with a worse year-long record than the Los Angeles Rams White Rex Burkhead Jerseys , but the matchup between the two conference champions still projects to be a close one. Too talented are both teams in all three phases, too good their respective coaching staffs for the game to be tilted in any one direction. Just like the Patriots’ previous eight appearances on the game’s biggest stage under head coach Bill Belichick, this one might be a tight affair.And as the Patriots very well know, all it takes is one play to shift the momentum of a Super Bowl — or any contest, really. Consequently, any of the following six things to look for could ultimately turn out to be the difference on Sunday and decide whether or not New England will be able to bring a sixth Lombardi Trophy to the northeast.1. Can the Patriots keep the Rams’ entire defensive arsenal away from Tom Brady?As you may have heard by now, the Rams field one of the NFL’s pass rushing duos in Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. Both players are capable of single-handedly impact games, as they have shown time and again this season: Donald, the league’s sack leader and its likely defensive player of the year, led all defenders in quarterback takedowns during the regular season with 20.5. Suh, meanwhile, registered 4.5 sacks before adding 1.5 during the playoffs.We have discussed time and again over the last two weeks that finding a way to slow down the prolific duo in the passing game will be a key for the Patriots to get into an offensive rhythm and by extension put pressure on Los Angeles’ own offense. However, the Rams’ abilities to get after the quarterback go beyond the two superstars: the team’s other front seven players are also capable of bringing pressure on a fairly regular basis even though there is still a noticeable drop-off when compared to Donald and Suh.The most prominent non-Donald/Suh pass rushers L.A. employs are linebackers Cory Littleton and Samson Ebukam as well as in-season addition Dante Fowler. The trio combined for 10.5 sacks and an additional 19 quarterback hits so far this year and with the Patriots probably investing a lot of their attention on stopping could have an impact on the game in one way or another. From the Patriots’ perspective, however, it is important to not let the “other guys” put too much pressure on Brady.So far this postseason, New England’s blockers have done a tremendous job at doing that. Brady has not been sacked through playoff games one and two, and pressured only 15 times while the Patriots basically shut down star pass rushers Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa on the Los Angeles Chargers, and Chris Jones, Dee Ford and Justin Houston on the Kansas City Chiefs one week later.To put this all in perspective, the Chargers and Chiefs sacked opposing quarterbacks on 6.9% and 8.3% of dropbacks during the regular season, respectively. For comparison, the Rams’ takedown rate of 7.7% is almost exactly in the middle between the two and was good enough for 12th best in the league. During the playoffs so far, however, this number went down to just 4.4%. Keeping the number similarly low would be a win for New England.2. Can the Patriots establish a presence on the ground?Probably the best way to help the Patriots keep Tom Brady clean is by keeping the Rams defense off balance and honest against the ground game. Los Angeles was inconsistent in this area during the regular season, ranking just 28th in the league in Fooball Outsiders’ DVOA metric with a +1.5% rate, meaning that teams perform consistently better against the Rams on the ground than they do against clubs in the same scenario.But of course, statistical metrics don’t win games: performance and preparation do. And the latter might lead to the Rams trying to primarily slow down New England’s rushing attack Rex Burkhead Jerseys 2019 , led by outstanding rookie Sony Michel. Neither the Chargers nor the Chiefs could do this in the playoffs so far and it cost them dearly in the end. If L.A. wants to win the Super Bowl, it cannot allow the Patriots to run wild over its defense.The problem is that Michel in particular was unfazed by stacked boxes after New England’s bye week, as this graphic by Pro Football Focus illustrates:Teams attempted to load the box against the 31st overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft at the highest rate in the league but to no avail: Michel was still a top-five back in the NFL in generating yardage and being able to break through contact. If this continues on Sunday, the Patriots will have a very good chance of dictating the tempo and flow of the game when in possession of the football.Speaking of which:3. Who will control the tempo of the game?New England has done a tremendous job all year long when it came to playing games on its own terms by controlling the clock. Never was that more evident, however, then during the playoffs: the Patriots dominated time of possession against both Los Angeles and Kansas City by sticking to the run game and keeping drives alive by converting on third downs. As a result, the team held the football for an average of 38:43 the last two games:The ability to do that was key against the two terrific offenses the Patriots faced in the divisional and championship rounds: it kept the units on the sidelines while simultaneously also keeping New England’s own defense fresh. Also, getting up on the two opponents’ put even more pressure on them to perform especially considering the limited possessions and time they had at their disposal.And while the Chiefs were able to fight back, they ultimately needed a last-second field goal to even get the game to an overtime period which they ultimately lost — and that is an offense even more powerful than a Rams attack that while still very good and a top-five unit in football, lacks quite the same firepower as the Patrick Mahomes-led group Kansas City fielded.Ergo, putting pressure on Rams quarterback Jared Goff and the entire group surrounding him should ideally not only come in the form of the actual pass rush and defensive schemes, but also in terms of the clock. Staying on the plus side in terms of time of possession might help achieve that — just like it did the last two weeks.4. How effectively will New England take away the Rams’ run game?Staying on top of the clock would also have another effect: it would likely force Los Angeles to move away from running the football, at least to a certain extent. While the team can still strike equally effective through the air this one-dimensionality would certainly be beneficial to a Patriots defense that has its strengths in the passing game and coverage as opposed to slowing down the run — at least that is what it looked like during the second half of the regular season.“We just have to eliminate the run game,” Patriots defensive tackle Adam Butler told Pats Pulpit earlier this week when asked about the team’s priorities heading into the matchup with an offense as talented and well-rounded as the Rams’. “We eliminate the run game, we got a chance. I trust in our defensive line, trust in our linebackers and DBs. And once we stop the run, you know our third down unit is going to get out there.”Fellow defensive tackle Danny Shelton also emphasized that the defense needed to key in on the run to make L.A. as one-dimensional as possible. “Every game you need to have the mindset to stop the run,” Shelton said. “As a defensive lineman, you stop the run you earn the right to rush the passer. If we can establish that from the get go, that will give us a lot more opportunities to cause chaos in the backfield.”“The Rams are a really good team, they got some big boys up front that are athletic, play hard. They are a challenge,” added rotational edge defender Derek Rivers about the challenge of going up against Los Angeles’ potent ground game — one that ranked as the best in the league during the regular season with a DVOA number of +22.1%. For comparison, New England’s defense had a -7.0% mark (19th) against the run between weeks one and seventeen.However, Rivers sounded confident in the Patriots’ ability to still successfully limit the impact Los Angeles running backs Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson can have on Sunday. “As long as our technique and our fundamentals are strong, we’ll have a good chance of possibly getting it done,” the second-year defender said. Safe to say White Adam Butler Jerseys , however, that it will not be easy considering that L.A. attempted 74 rushes this postseason and gained 350 yards (4.7 per carry) and four scores.5. Will L.A. try some kicking game shenanigans?As Patriots head coach Bill Belichick mentioned during his Thursday presser, now is the time to get it all out there in terms of play calls: there is no need to keep anything held back because the season will be over one way or the other after the Super Bowl. Belichick was asked about trickery because his head coaching counterpart, the Rams’ Sean McVay, is known for trying some shenanigans — especially in the kicking game.What allows him to do that is having former quarterback Johnny Hekker as his team’s punter. Over the course of his career, Hekker attempted 20 career passes, completing 12 of which for a combined 168 yards and a touchdown — as well as 11 first downs. Needless to say that the Patriots need to be on high alert every time Los Angeles comes out to either punt or to attempt field goals or extra points: Hekker serves as the team’s holder as well.“When they see something that’s vulnerable, I’m sure they’ve got a few things they can check to and go to because Johnny was an all-state quarterback, I think he can handle a few different plays or an audible or something like that — that’s not rocket science,” said Patriots punter Ryan Allen, a long-time friend and former college teammate of Hekker. “And obviously they’ve been doing that already.” The Patriots won the battle of the GOATs (haha) against the Packers on Sunday night. Here are my quick-hit thoughts from the game. In case you’re a new reader, these are my in-game notes that will break down individual plays and drives. Here we go:I have to believe the Patriots intentionally brought in Fran Rogers to sing the National Anthem. Aaron must know he’s not the only talented Rogers in the building. It must be messing with his head pre game.Both the Patriots and Packers start their first drives without a huddle. Works very well for both teams, but the Packers stall in the red zone. Their screen call on 3rd and goal from the 15 was just bizarre. That call on Patrick Chung for holding Jimmy Graham on that first drive is just terrible. The Patriots then go four-and-out after a first down on the drive’s first play. When it looked like they’d be flipping field position, Ryan Allen booms a punt and pinned the Packers deep in their own end. The Packers only rush three on the sack of Brady but drop a ton of guys off the line and confuse the Patriots offensive line. Never a good sign when they rush three and two get into the backfield.The Patriots bring pressure and Devin McCourty forces an incompletion from Aaron Rodgers which in turn forces a Packers punt. After a great catch by Josh Gordon on the sideline, they run a Flea Flickahh to Edelman down to the 10.But they finish the drive in disappointment in only a FG. The big play was Edelman not looking for the ball on 2nd down. Yes, there was a guy there, but I think Edelman breaks that tackle and walks into the end zoneHeck of a play by Davante Adams to knock the ball away from Stephon Gilmore on what would’ve been a sure interception. The Patriots force a punt on the next play thanks to some pressure up the middle by Adam Butler. Kenjon Barner decleats Clay Matthews on the first play of the next drive, but the Patriots go three-and-out after Josh Gordon can’t keep his second foot in on what would’ve been a sensational catch. Adrian Clayborn should be cut immediately. I have yet to see him make a play. He gets fooled badly by Rodgers and was unable to pressure him at the goal line, which allows him to find Adams for a touchdown to tie the game.The Packers decision to throw three consecutive times from the 2 when they have to gain less than two on any given carry this game is just plain stupid though. They may have scored, but that decision made absolutely no sense. James White just has a Charlie horse. James White just has a Charlie horse. James White just has a Charlie horse. James White just has a Charlie horse. Cordarrelle Patterson may not be a running back, but damn does he run hard. May want to invest in some tear-away shirts though. Rodgers can take a shot at the crown here. Has a chance for the Brady Parlay (a score right before the half and then a score on the first possession of the second half), let’s see what he does with it.Clayborn finally makes a play, but the strip goes out of bounds. But he does force them to punt. So Rodgers does not complete the Brady Parlay. Overall, an up and down first half, but the Patriots have the lead, so it’s not all bad. Need to see more out of the offense, but I’ve loved Patterson at running back this half. Hope they keep it up in the 2nd half. After the Packers tie it on the first drive of the second half Adam Butler Jerseys 2019 , the Patriots drive stalls at the goal line when Brady and Gordon can’t hook up on 4th down. Hate them calling pass plays on 3rd and 4th down in that situation. The Patriots do nothing to capitalize off a roughing the kicker penalty. The drive ends with Brady making a particularly bad throw on 3rd down, missing a wide open Chris Hogan. The third quarter ends with Aaron Rodgers making two nice throws and Marquez Valdez-Scantling making two fantastic catches to drive the Packers all the way to the Patriots 34 after having 3rd and short deep in their territory. The Patriots are going to need to step it up on offense in the fourth if they expect to have a chance to win this game. They start the quarter with a great strip by Lawrence Guy and a very heads-up recovery by Stephon Gilmore. Let’s see if the offense can make something happenMore trickeration! After a 3rd and long completion to Phillip Dorsett, Brady throws behind the line to Edelman who throws it across the field to James White, who follows a caravan down to the 2. White cashes in with his second rushing touchdown of the night three plays later. Adrian Clayborn makes another play! But let’s not get carried away, it was only a half sack with Flowers getting the other half.Gordon with a huge play for the touchdown! I thought the throw was going to be late, but Brady got it in just in time, and Gordon broke the arm tackle and walked in 55 yards later.Clayborn with two plays on the ensuing drive by the Packers, one of them didn’t count because of a penalty, but he pushes the pocket and forces the bad throw by Rodgers on fourth down. He must have heard me ranting on here, and in the stands, and stepped his game up.Brady quick snaps to catch the Packers with 12 men on the field, then hits Josh Gordon to pick up a first down to almost seal the game, then a reverse to Edelman gets the final first down of the game. The Patriots weren’t perfect, but they played good enough to win. They’re missing a ton of players, and not just role players, great players, and they still win these games. No Rob Gronkowski, no Sony Michel, no Shaq Mason — and they still put up 31 points. Davante Adams is a beast, and Stephon Gilmore shut him down tonight. He is becoming one of the best corners in the league, and is a huge weapon for the Patriots on defense. I’d be surprised to see either Gronk or Michel next week in Tennessee. You obviously want them in the game as much as you can, but I want them healthy in January. If sitting them out another game helps make that possible, I’m on board. Pat is the host of The Patriot Nation PodcastInteract with him on Twitter @plane_pats

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