New England Patriots: All Signs Point To Establishing LeGarrette Blount On The Ground


After going through the tape, after pouring through the numbers, I think the New England Patriots will come out on Sunday looking to get LeGarrette Blount and the ground game going early against Seattle. Obviously you can’t be sure, and by writing this article, I probably ensured the Pats will come out five-wide in their first three offensive series’, but oh well.

Patriots fans have been quick to point out the Detroit and Baltimore game as contests where the Pats elected to simply abandon the run game, and air it out. The reason for this was the Lions and Ravens each had excellent run defenses, and New England felt like they could exploit their secondaries. So logically, New England should do this again against the Seahawks, right?


The key difference is twofold: Seattle’s secondary is far better than either the Lions’ or Ravens’ defensive backfields, and Detroit and Baltimore have HUGE defensive lines, which rely far more on their strength and overall size than speed. The Seahawks are different because their defense is built on speed, and not size. Now don’t get me wrong, their strength really is a strength, because watching tape of their speed on the defensive side of the ball is mindblowing. But up front, they aren’t that big, which leads me to believe Tom Brady and the Pats will try to establish a ground game early in this game.

According to Pro Football Focus, during the regular season, the Seahawks’ run defense graded out as the 10th best in the league, which was actually below the Patriots. The reason for this is they can be susceptible to running up the middle at times. They just don’t have the size some teams have, which means they can’t take on as many blockers, which in turn creates more running lanes for the opposing offense. Of course, having a linebacker like Bobby Wagner really helps, but he can’t completely shut everything down by himself.

As a frame of reference, Seattle’s starting defensive line amasses 1,142 pounds, while the Patriots’ starting four outgains them by 33 solid pounds, and is probably more when you factor in Vince Wilfork‘s actual weight.

I am not saying the Pats will completely rely on Blount and company to win this game, because that is just not true. In fact, the Patriots will have enough mismatches in the back end that they should be able to have a good amount of success dropping back and throwing it traditionally. But a solid running game keeps Seattle’s pass rush at bay, and it will open up a lot of opportunities over the middle, where New England already has an advantage with Rob Gronkowski against the Seahawks’ linebackers and safeties.

Here’s a final thought I’ll leave you with regarding Seattle against the run. In their four losses, the Seahawks’ opponent threw the ball 106 times, while running it a whopping 130 times. That balance is key against a defensive line as aggressive as theirs, especially in a game of this magnitude.