Jerry Ballgame weighs in on everything related to his New England Patriots.
I am not sure what’s been more entertaining to have watched this football season; all the crazy come from behind Patriots wins utilizing a bunch of back ups and rookies in key positions, or the media’s reaction to it all. It seems to me that it almost doesn’t matter how the Pats do Saturday in Denver, the media, both local and national, have decided that the Belichick approach (aka- the Patriots’ Way) is actually something special, and should they lose, it’s just the injuries finally catching up with them. I don’t think they will lose, but if they do, “The Belichick Legacy” will not be diminished at all. I believe you could say that he’s “playing with house money.”
I know Monday Morning Quarterback Peter King has, from the very beginning, believed that the Patriots would make it to, and win, the Super Bowl, but that wasn’t a feeling shared by most of the sports media. In fact, many of them spent much of the pre-season trying to connect him directly to the Aaron Hernandez case, so to watch them actually be in a position where they are praising him is truly fascinating. The fact that it took some of them over a decade to realize it is beside the point; they have arrived. They finally understand that when he’s talking about versatility and value in all 53 roster spots, he means it.
As for the game itself, I expect it will be more like the conventional back and forth shoot out we were anticipating the first time they played, as opposed to the strange you win the first half, we’ll win the second half, that we got. I know that the Broncos will have the TE Julius Thomas this time around, and that will create match up problems for New England, but Denver will also be without their best cover corner, Chris Harris, and that will hurt them more. I’m also counting on the continued exceptional play of rookie LB Jamie Collins (Southern Miss), and that his speed and athleticism will help to neutralize Thomas. In addition, the fact that second year LB Dont’a Hightower (Alabama) is turning into an outstanding all around player should help to keep Denver’s Knowshon Moreno to a more manageable 125 yards, as opposed to the 214 or so he turned in last time. Speaking of 100 plus yards, I would not anticipate LeGarrette Blount gaining another 166 yards this week, as Brady will likely go to the air more often to take advantage of the change in the Denver secondary.
On the negative side of the ledger, I find the loss of punter Ryan Allen to be a point of real concern. Granted, PK Stephen Gostkowski did a respectable job of filling in for him, but having him on the field for punts just increases the chance he’ll get hurt as well, and that would, indeed, leave the Pats in a very precarious position. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that having Tom Brady out there as the holder was cause for Patriots Nation to collectively hold their breath to the point of passing out. Let’s hope the coaching staff finds more acceptable solutions to both issues before Sunday.
I was half right in my predictions of the outcomes of last weekends AFC games. I obviously got the Patriots win right (although the score was not 34-24), but missed the SD vs Denver game by a touchdown. The Chargers made it interesting in the 4th after Harris went out, but couldn’t get the ball back one last time……..I find the whole Brandon Spikes thing mildly puzzling. You have to believe that either Belichick has a great deal of faith in Collins and Hightower, or that Spikes is a tremendous pain in the butt. Why else do you IR him at this point and not even have him as an emergency backup?…….LaGarrette Blount was like a little kid after the victory over the Colts. Hours have the game was over, he was still in his uniform, wondering around the locker room, talking to anyone and everyone…….Being rather “old school”, it does my heart good to see the Patriots utilizing Brown grad, James Develin so effectively as a fullback. He was in for 35 snaps against the Colts……As much as I dislike the 49ers, and which ever Harbaugh is their coach, I expect they’ll beat Seattle this Sunday…….I hope I’m wrong.
- The “Roger That” Edition - February 28, 2017
- The “Nice Ring To It” Edition - February 3, 2017
- The “Shaken, Not Stirred” Edition - January 17, 2017
- The “Malcolms in the Middle” Edition - January 11, 2017
- A “Catching Up, Following Up, and Weighing In” Edition - December 31, 2016
- The “Cannon and Flowers” Edition - December 21, 2016
- The “Farm, for Sale” Edition - December 10, 2016
- The “Tebucky Jones Tribute” Edition - November 13, 2016
- The “World, Serious” Edition - November 1, 2016
- The “Easy Come, Easy Go” Edition - October 18, 2016