I was going to take a moment to tell you to pat yourself on the back, congratulations, we made the Playoffs, yada yada yada. Then, Cameron Wake said, “Shut up, SUTTON. You’re stupid. We’re not satisfied with the Playoffs.” Fair enough.
Whether we play Pittsburgh or Houston on Wild Card Weekend, we’ll enter the game a hungry team. Let’s hope we don’t succumb to the injury bug. Most importantly, what might this game say if we beat the Patriots, with both teams playing starters throughout the game?
It may seem inconsequential because we are already in the Playoffs (it sure is a lot of fun to type the phrase we are already in the Playoffs), but not all December messages go to the North Pole: a win against the Patriots Sunday might make us the most dangerous team in the NFL. We’re playing with house money any way, right? A team with nothing to lose has nothing to fear.
3) Bobby McCain Vs. Julian Edelman
The 1st half of the New England game with Jimmy Garoppolo looked eerily similar to the Baltimore game: 3 and 5 step drops, consistently open WR’s and TE’s, pass rush couldn’t get there.
We have to find a way to disrupt the timing of the short passing game, and Bobby McCain getting good jams and initial coverage against Edelman will extend plays to Brady’s 2nd and 3rd progressions, allowing our pass rush to get there.
2) Jay Ajayi Vs. Patriots Run D
Jay Ajayi had 5 carries in the 1st contest against the Patriots. The Patriots still don’t really know what it’s like to have to tackle this dude over the course of 4 quarters. The offense seems to click when Ajayi is the focal point, and going forward and into the Playoffs, an Ajayi-focused offense will likely become the norm.
I’m excited to see what we can do with play-action in a balanced offense and with an established ground game.
1) EarthWake and SuhNami Vs. Patriots OL
Beating the Patriots usually centers around your ability to affect Tom Brady. We have 2 of the best defensive linemen in the NFL, but they’ll need more than half a second to get there. The coverage will have to do its part. But if we get there, we have to make the opportunities count. A strip-sack would be glorious.
How long does Brady play, and how much do the Patriots drop him back against one of the best DL’s in the NFL? This question will heavily influence the outcome of this game.
What key match-ups do you see Phinsider Nation? Let’s hear it in the Comments!