Bagels and Locks With Jimmy Z – Cream the Competition
If you’ve been watching the Patriots play for the past decade and a half, you know Rule #1 of The Belichick Playbook: Take away what the other team does best.
The Pats’ opponents this week are the Baltimore Ravens. They can run the hell out of the ball. And they are averaging 204 YPG, which is a whopping 20 yards better than anyone else in the NFL. Their QB Lamar Jackson is on pace to shatter Michael Vick’s single-season QB rushing record of 1,039 yards. And he’s not the only ace in their deck, as Mark Ingram is also tearing it up and on pace for a 1,000-yard season. The offensive line is also doing a bang-up job. No RB on the team is averaging less than 4.5 yards per carry.
So what does this all mean for the game on Sunday night? It means that the Patriots are going to do everything they can to shut down the run and force the Ravens to throw over the top to beat them. The Pats play more man-to-man Pass D than any team in the NFL. Those corners who are all great tacklers are going to be pressed close to the line, ready to help in run-support. Safeties Chung, McCourty, and Harmon are going to be spending a lot of time in the box in run support. Jamie Collins (who is having a monster year) will slide into the middle from the outside to help “spy” on Jackson and shut down the Ravens’ draw game.
Every pundit out there has been harping on and on about how the Pats have played no one. And that’s true. The historical run the Pats D has been on is distorted by the ineptitude of their opponents. That’s also true. But the teams that have a chance to expose the Pats’ super-aggressive D are teams with a diverse attack, and that is not Baltimore.
The Pats' train keeps rolling 31-13.