WHAT IS THE HIDDEN KEY TO THE GAME?
For the Patriots on Sunday a key player is linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Although the Patriots will try to get safeties such as Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung involved in coverage of the running backs they are going to be times when Van Noy is matched up one-on-one with either Mark Ingram or rookie Alvin Kamara.
Kamara is small and shifty and difficult to cover. He can get lost from view sneaking out of the backfield and those type of players have often given the Patriots trouble. Van Noy is strong enough to take down a load such as Mark Ingram in the open field and has the athleticism to keep Kamara from running away from him.
With Donna Hightower likely out of the game on Sunday, Van Noy will need to take on a bigger role. New England may be best to put David Harris in the middle and leave Van Noy align on the weak side or strong-side to allow him to play in space.
The Saints we’ll run the ball if they get ahead or keep the game close. Like with the Patriots offense, the better the running game the more effective the play action and the bigger likelihood for big chunk plays. If the Saints are picking up four or five yards per rush it will allow Drew Brees to use the play-action to freeze the linebackers and make big plays in the seams.
Kyle Van Noy needs to make an impact in the running game and lockdown the Saints running backs in coverage. End zone defense he needs to get his drops deep enough to prevent tight end Coby Fleener from making plays in the middle of the field. While there has not been a lot of talk about Van Noy this week he is a huge key to victory for the Patriots.