Know Your Enemy: New England Patriots
In preparation for tomorrow’s game against the Patriots, we got in touch with Jamie Pacheco, the genius behind Musket Fire. I threw five questions about the Pats at Jamie, and he answers them after the jump.
He also gave me five questions to answer, which you can see here.
Note: Questions are numbered and bolded, answers are colored blue.
1. The Patriots are off to a solid 3-1 start. What has worked for them so far this season?
The offense has easily been the most successful portion of the team so far this season. The Pats have the best offense in the NFL when it comes to the most important stat- points. The Patriots are scoring 32.8 points/game, and they’ve been able to accomplish this by spreading the ball around to the numerous targets Tom Brady now has and incorporating the running game. The only game that Brady focused on one receiver for a majority of his throws (Moss), the Patriots couldn’t move the ball and lost. When the offense incorporates the run and distributes the ball to multiple targets, it’s very tough to stop.
2. How much of an impact do you think the trade of Randy Moss will have on the team this week, and beyond?
The team has to go through an adjustment period, but it’s been successful without Moss in the past and it can continue to be successful. The offense had begun evolving through the first four games from the down-field, big play offense to more of a ball-control attack, and the Moss trade sort of forces Brady and the coaches’ hands in that direction. Fantasy-wise, the offense will not be as good as it was before, but it could possibly be more effective by controlling the game. They have a tough, tough team to begin the post-Moss era so it’s important that fans (and analysts) don’t make any snap judgments. The same thing can be said for judgments on Moss in Minnesota, as he had a tough defense to make his Viking debut (re-debut) with.
3. For the Patriots to win on Sunday, who needs to step up and have a big performance?
I have to go with the players in the trenches on both sides of the ball with this one. The Ravens killed the Patriots on both the offensive and defensive lines during their playoff game last season, and nothing works when you’re getting beat in the trenches. The offensive line has to give Brady time and open up some holes for the running game, and the defensive line has to get off blocks and make plays.
4. Which Ravens player scares you the most as a Patriots fan?
A player that, I don’t think, gets enough credit for what he does and scares me the most is Haloti Ngata. He can blow up plays and really control the middle of the play on the line, allowing teh linebackers to look good making plays. He can also certainly make plays on his own as well. He is a beast on the line and C Dan Koppen and the two guards will have their hands full Sunday.
5. What’s your prediction for the game, and who do you think will stand out for the Pats?
The Patriots have to prove that they are a physically tough team and I’m not sure that they can do that against the Ravens. My prediction is the Ravens pull out a victory, 20-13. I think that rookie TE Aaron Hernandez is a tough match-up for the Ravens’ linebackers and could have a big game if Brady has time to get him the ball.