Sep 12, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) is tackled by New York Jets free safety Antonio Allen (39) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Every week in every NFL football game, there is at least one player that has a huge game for his squad. The same can be said for this years’ Patriots, even though they have been struggling on the offensive side of the ball here at the start of 2013. In week one, Amendola and Edelman had terrific performances. In week two, once again Edelman had a big game, and I think defensive end Chandler Jones was great as well. There is never a formula to decide who will produce in a big way for his team, but I do have an idea of what player may be the guy that propels the Patriots on Sunday.
I think that Julian Edelman is primed for another big performance on Sunday in Foxboro (it’s getting old already isn’t it?). Honestly I do not see the Patriots rookie receivers making a huge jump from last week to this week at this point in the season. Both Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson are extremely talented, but their connection with Brady still needs a lot of work, and until they work the kinks out, Edelman is Brady’s guy. You combine that with the fact that the Bucs like to blitz the quarterback (they have sent four or more pass rushers on 25% of defensive plays according to Nick Underhill of masslive.com), and Brady will be looking for that “five yard hand-off to Edelman quite frequently. Edelman has already been targeted 27 times through two games here in 2013. This shows just how much Brady trusts Edelman compared to the rest of his receivers as of right now. In an offense that has been ravaged by injuries, Edelman is the lone veteran standing among the receivers, and he has gotten a pretty big workload because of that.
Now there is always the Darrelle Revis factor, as he has the capability to completely shut down a receiver for an entire 60 minutes. However I think that with all the different sets and motions that the Patriots run, I doubt that Revis is placed on Edelman for a majority of the game. You also have to consider that Tampa Bay has been running a lot more zone coverages than Revis is used to, and that is taking away the most important skill Revis has, which is press coverage. This also may have to do with the fact that Revis’ knee is not completely healed from his surgery in 2012, and if this is the case, then the Patriots won’t have to worry about him nearly as much as they usually do.
The last factor that has led me to believe that Edelman will have a big game, is the lack of running game that New England currently has. Stevan Ridley has been ineffective through two games this year, totaling 86 yards on 25 carries. The Buccaneers talented defensive front is probably not going to let him get it going on Sunday, so that will require the Pats to lean even more on the passing game, and thus, Brady lean on Edelman.
When you put all of these factors together, I think that Julian Edelman will find himself with another double digit catch game, and possibly go over the century mark in receiving yards. All of this is added to the fact that he is a dangerous punt return man, and he will definitely produce in that area as well.