Tuesday, January 13, 2015
So We Meet Again
The Pass Rush: I'm sure by now you've read about five articles describing the troubles of the pass rush lately. Lets be honest, Joe Flacco had enough time to paint a portrait before completing a pass on some plays. However I think some people aren't looking at things close enough.
First off, there's no defending the defense giving up two quick scores the way they did to Baltimore. That was their own fault and put them in a hole for most of the game. You see, when your down by 14 points and your offense is struggling in the playoffs you don't have the luxury of gambling the way you would in week 7. This then puts your defense in more of a read and react mode to play it safe rather then sending pass rushers and risk falling in a bigger hole. I'm not saying this is good defense, but this is where the offense is in control and its all the defense can do in that situation. Imagine if Jamie Collins was sent on a blitz that was picked up and his man becomes wide open for the touchdown? The Patriots wouldn't be playing this weekend.
Conclusion? Don't let the opposing team get off the a quick start so that they can dictate the flow of the game. This is not only on the defense to do a better job but the offense as well. Speaking of offense..
The offense has to get off to a solid start to avoid putting not only the defense in a hole but themselves as well. When you fall behind the way the offense did the defense tees off on not only the QB but the running game as well. Lets give the Ravens credit, regardless of the score running on that front 7 is not easy. But putting them ahead allows the defense to be in full control. It's not hard to guess what the offense is going to do when they're down by 14 compared to when their tied or in the lead.
By now I realize the Patriots strength on offense is not in their talent but unpredictable nature and I'm talking about more then trick plays. For example, look how tight end Hoomanawanui was a problem for the Ravens on a few plays. Obviously, they were looking to defend Gronkowski which created an opportunity for our other tight end to make plays. When you're defending the Patriots in a pass situation, who do you defend? Cover Gronk all day Brady goes to Edelman. Lock down Edelman and then Brady turns to Brandon Lafell to make a play. I could go on all day folks. This may not seem sexy on paper and it damn sure wont make ESPN get excited. But the playoffs are all about match ups and the Patriots are unpredictable in those key situations.
When it comes to the Colts, you have to respect the job they've down and thinking this is an easy win is a mistake. However it is undeniable to deny that it's is not a favorable match up for the Patriots. I don't think the Pats need to pull a rabbit out of their hat this week. I think if they just line up and play a good 60 minutes they can handle this Colts team, much like they did earlier in the season. Obviously the problem with the Colts is Andrew Luck. He's not only got an arsenal of weapons (Reggie Wayne, TY hilton, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen) But he's mobile too. So if your sitting back in coverage and Luck has time he's running for the first down. The whole entire game plan this week will revolve around containing Andrew Luck. Obviously you factor in their running game as well but without Luck this offense will go nowhere.
Last but not least the Colts defense. People seem to be a bit more optimistic then I am on the unit. Sure they played a great against Cincy and they controlled the Broncos. But lets take a look at a few things...
The Bengals played without AJ Green and Dalton was down to only one of his tight ends. Add in the fact you have Dalton in a playoff game and this one is barely anything to write home to write home about.
But wait did you see them shut down Peyton Manning? I saw them shut down a Peyton Manning that wasn't the same. I also noticed the Colts horrible run tackling which kept the Broncos in the game on a couple of big conversions. Run defense has been a weakness all year for the Colts and I expect the Patriots to expose it, similar to the way they did earlier in the season. It's no disrespect to the Colts who I think are capable of winning this week. I just think this match up plays in New England's favor.
We'll see how things play out but if the Patriots come out and play their game there's no reason they sholdn't be heading for Arizona