It is Patriots Week!
Often, that is the time and place the place you’ll discover an avalanche of numbers indicating how actually dominant New England has been over the Payments the previous twenty years.
I am going to nonetheless throw some your manner, however the reasoning is totally different than earlier than.
Writing that the Patriots have beat the Payments 35 out of their 40 conferences since Invoice Belichick grew to become head coach in 2000 is to not depress you.
Including that New England’s common margin of victory in these wins is over 15 factors a recreation is to not add gasoline to the fireplace. And throwing in that the Payments had been solely inside 7 or much less factors 11 instances in these 35 defeats is absolutely not making an attempt to pile on.
These are all meant that will help you perceive how nice a possibility Sunday is for this Payments group to start out a brand new pattern.
They enter 5-2 and in 1st place within the AFC East, a division the Patriots have gained 11-straight years.
New England enters 2-4, having misplaced Three in a row and sitting underneath .500 this late in a season for the primary time since 2002.
In no way will a win Sunday erase the previous 20 years, however it’s a likelihood to start writing the following chapter on this division, one whose primary character turns into the Buffalo Payments.
Let’s dive into what’s on faucet.
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Allen Over the Hump
Everyone knows concerning the nice strides Josh Allen has taken up to now this season. The newest step was bouncing again from a troublesome stretch towards Tennessee and Kansas Metropolis and returning to the 300+ passing yard threshold in a win towards the Jets. What actually made it spectacular to me was how he did it. Allen had talked main into the NYJ recreation how he wanted to start out taking what the protection was giving him as groups had been now enjoying predominantly in zone protection. That was taking away the massive performs downfield that Allen loves and this Payments offense was feasting on the primary 4 weeks of the season. As an alternative, Allen patiently picked aside the Jets D with shorter throws. Ultimately, 19 of his 30 completions had been 10 yards or much less, and he nonetheless eclipsed 300 yards.
Allen’s willingness to adapt and alter can date again to Week Four of final season when he had arguably the worst recreation of his NFL profession. New England dared him to throw the ball down the sector and Allen did so, whatever the protection. The outcomes had been brutal. Allen completed the afternoon 13/28 for 153 yards, a career-high Three interceptions and career-low QB score of simply 24. From that time ahead, Allen has drastically restricted his turnovers and turns into a extra environment friendly passer. Cole Beasley known as that recreation a turning level in Allen’s profession.
Sunday marks a possibility for Allen to come back full circle and at last produce once more Belichick and the Patriots, who he has by no means beat, and profession numbers in three video games are 578 yards on 48.4% completion with three TDs and 5 INTs and a QB score of 56.4.
Mongo Makes His Return
Jon Feliciano is predicted to make his season debut Sunday towards the Patriots. Feliciano has been out thus far after tearing his pec earlier than coaching camp started.
He’ll seemingly slide in at left guard with Cody Ford already dominated out with a hamstring damage. Whereas this can be a change for Feliciano from final season, the place he began each recreation at proper guard, he’s no stranger to the opposite aspect having performed it in school in addition to throughout his time with the Raiders.
So what precisely does inserting Feliciano into the line-up imply for the offense?
At the beginning, it ought to deliver an edge to the offensive line. Feliciano is well-known for his fiery play and that ought to resonate all through that whole 5 man group. A greater offensive line also needs to assist enhance the Payments floor recreation, which confirmed some indicators of life every week in the past.
Zack Moss made his return towards the Jets after lacking three weeks with a toe damage. Whereas Devin Singletary began as the point of interest, Moss ended up being the more practical of the 2, ending with 47 yards on 7 carries, all coming within the 2nd half.
The Patriots run protection ranks 27th within the NFL in permitting 132.2 yards per recreation. Whereas the Payments have selected to keep up their pass-first strategy towards different lower-ranked run defenses, perhaps Feliciano’s return paired with Singletary and Moss being collectively once more will enable the operating assault to be extra productive with out having so as to add too many extra carries.
Cam’s the New Man
Cam Newton’s time because the Patriots beginning QB started fairly properly.
In Week 1, he ran everywhere in the Dolphins. The in Week 2, he posted practically 450 yards of whole offense in an in depth loss to Seattle.
From there, the dimensions has tipped the opposite manner. Newton examined constructive for COVID-19 main into their Week Four recreation and missed the following two weeks. His efficiency the final two video games since returning have been poor, throwing for 255 yards, no touchdowns, and 5 intereceptions. New England has scored 18 factors in that span.
Sean McDermott mentioned Friday that Newton remains to be the identical participant he was with in Carolina years in the past.
I do not see it.
Add to that Newton’s vast receiving core is a large number. Julian Edelman had surgical procedure this week and is out. So too is N’Keal Harry.
Whereas Cam was Superman, regardless of a star-less group of move catchers, en path to profitable MVP and going to the Tremendous Bowl in 2015 with the Panthers, this isn’t the identical quarterback and these should not the identical WRs.
I anticipate the Payments to drive Newton and the Patriots to beat them by means of the air. Whereas it seems Micah Hyde shall be out with a concussion, Levi Wallace was activated off of IR Saturday to melt the blow to the secondary.
The important thing shall be containing Cam within the pocket, one thing this Payments protection has struggled with towards cell QBs like Ryan Tannehill and Patrick Mahomes.
Will the Actual Protection Please Stand Up?
The Payments protection had not performed all that properly to start out the season.
That’s till the 2nd half final weekend towards the Jets. They allowed Four whole yards to New York. They’d 5 of their six sacks after intermission.
That aspect of the ball was flying round and seemed just like the one most believed they’d be this season.
Leslie Frazier dialed up much more blitzes than normal. Will that proceed? Frazier and McDermott gave the nice ole “it is week to week” response when requested. However there is not any denying how efficient it has been when doing it, including within the second half of the Raiders recreation for instance as properly.
I anticipate the run protection to be examined as soon as once more. New England is fourth within the NFL in averaging 155 yards per recreation on the bottom. Sure, Newton leads the way in which with 244 yards, however there are additionally a steady of RBs which might be used as properly.
Damien Harris has 177 yards, 100 of which got here in his first recreation of the season towards the Chiefs. Rex Burkhead has 154 yards dashing, however averaging simply 3.9 YPC. James White is extra used within the passing recreation.
Anticipate this to be the main focus as even Frank Gore seemed first rate towards the Payments within the 1st half final week.
OUT: CB Stephon Gilmore (knee), S Kyle Dugger (ankle), OL Justin Herron (ankle), WR Julian Edelman (knee), WR N’Keal Harry (concussion), DT Carl Davis (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Shilique Callhoun (knee), DT Lawrence Man (ankle) , RB Damien Harris (ankle), CB J.C. Jackson (knee), TE Dalton Keene, G Shaq Mason (calf), DE John Simon (shoulder), G Joe Thuney (ankle)
OUT: CB Josh Norman (hamstring), G Cody Ford (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Vernon Butler (groin), DE Jerry Hughes (foot), S Micah Hyde (concussion), DT Quinton Jefferson (knee), CB Cam Lewis (wrist), LB Matt Milano (pec), G Brian Winters (knee)
Payments and Patriots set to kick issues off inside Payments Stadium Sunday at 1pm.