It’s Saturday night and game day is just a few hours down the road for the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams in Foxboro. It’s time for the keys for a Sunday victory, vs the Rams. We need to keep the momentum moving this week and walk away with another “W” in the win column.
1 – Patriots Passing Game:
The Patriots offense needs to use utilize all aspects on the field on Sunday. Matt Cassel needs to remain calm and focused, just like he showed for the majority of the Denver Broncos game. Get Randy Moss and Wes Welker involved in the passing game early on. When the Pats involve these two play makers early on, it allows them to move the ball not only in the air, but also in the running game. Remember that we have good handed tight ends in Ben Watson and also young David Thomas that have the ability to make a big play out of nothing. Continue to use running back Kevin Faulk out of the back field as a safety net for Cassel. Allow the Rams to cover Moss with Oshiomogho Atogwe and Corey Chavous. Why you might be asking yourself, easy it’s Moss’s height advantage in those match-ups that will allow Moss to do what he does best, bump and run and use his difference over them to go and get the high balls. It also frees Welker up and allows him to get back to basics and use the ole catch and run over the middle move.
2 – Stop Steven Jackson:
The defensive line made up of Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Richard Seymour, along with Jerod Mayo and the ageless wonders Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel. They need to apply pressure up the middle and also utilize the safeties on blitzes to disrupt the rhythm of Jackson coming off the line or around the corner. We need to throw different looks and formations at the Rams to mix it up and also keep them guessing. The rookie Mayo is having a great first season in the system he’s still getting use to and the it only makes him dangerous in the future once he fully has it implemented. Jackson who’s a game time decision still due to a thigh injury, is a very dangerous runner in the league. He has the explosiveness to dart up the middle or the quickness to back cut through a hole. He’s also been on fire the last few weeks, putting up an average of 116 yards and 1.3 touchdowns over that span. We don’t need to stop him one hundred percent, we only need to contain and keep him from breaking that one play wide open for a score. Allow him a hundred plus yards on the ground, just keep him from the end zone and it’ll be a great day for our defense.
3 – Create A Running Game:
The loss of running back Laurence Maroney for the season due to a shoulder injury. Combine that with Sammy Morris (knee) and also LaMont Jordan (calf) on the side lines for this week, and you might wonder do we even have a running game. Or better yet, have anyone healthy enough to place in the backfield. The answer to both questions is simply….YES! We still have Kevin Faulk and the rookie BenJarvus Green-Ellis to move the ball and help out Cassel. Faulk has the ability to help out in both aspects of the offense, not only can he run the ball, but he gives Cassel another viable option as a receiver. BJGE as I like to call him now (hey it’s a heck of a lot easier saying BJGE than using his entire name) enjoyed his playing time in the second half last week after Morris left with his injury. The bad news for the Rams and their defensive coordinator’s, they only have two quarters of game film to watch and study on BJGE. So he’s still an unknown factor and with the weak defensive line of the Rams might be the “X” factor we need to win.
4 – Patriots Cornerbacks vs Mark Bulger:
Our cornerback’s Ellis Hobbs, and Deltha O’Neal need to match-up and stay with receivers Torry Holt and Donnie Avery all day this week. How ever possible they can’t allow them selves to continually be beaten deep like they have for most of the season. That’s not to say that’s all they do, but it’s a huge question mark in our defense and opposing teams know that. Rams quarterback Mark Bulger by far is not having the best year of his career this season. And we don’t need to allow him the chance to pad his numbers, with the weak play from our corners. They will be tested early and often I’m assuming, it’s how they respond to the challenge that makes all the difference. They stop them, it will make for a longer day for the Rams. If they allow the deep balls to get past them and receiver’s the chance to catch and run for big gains, the Pats will be in trouble.
5 – Special Teams:
With weather expected to be in the mid 50’s at game time and the increased chance of thunderstorms early on. The special teams play might actually be the factor in this contest. On both sides you have great kickers that know their job. It’s the reason why the Rams went out and loured away kicker Josh Brown from the Seattle Seahawks in last year’s off season. To win games and also use his kicking ability to keep them close in contests. On the Patriots side of it we have kicker Stephen Gostkowski who’s been known to kick his fair share of game winners in his young career. Both have no problem with the long forty plus yard field goals, but it’s Brown that has the leg to punch it through from fifty-five yards. I’d hate to see this game come down to Brown lining up for a final seconds, game winning kick from fifty yards away and make it. I’d much rather see him miss it, because of the swirling winds that like to rip through Foxboro, and his lack of experience kicking in New England!
Tags: Ben Watson BenJarvus Green-Ellis Corey Chavous David Thomas Deltha O'Neal Denver Broncos Donnie Avery Ellis Hobbs Jerod Mayo Josh Brown Kevin Faulk LaMont Jordan Laurence Maroney Mark Bulger Matt Cassel Mike Vrabel New England Patriots Oshiomogho Atogwe Randy Moss Richard Seymour Sammy Morris Seattle Seahawks St. Louis Rams Stephen Gostkowski Stephen Jackson Tedy Bruschi Torry Holt Ty Warren Vince Wilfork Wes Welker