Key matchups for the Patriots in week nine
Matthew Judon and Deatrich Wise vs. Dennis Kelly and Braden Smith
I mentioned the Colts benched quarterback Matt Ryan prior to last week’s loss to Washington. they probably did him a service in putting him on the bench because I don’t know how much longer he would’ve lasted out there with such a poor offensive line. Through eight games, the Colts have given up 26 sacks (second-most in the NFL) and 122 quarterback pressures (third-most) as their once-strong offensive line has fallen off a cliff in 2022. While a lot of that came with Ryan under center (24 sacks, 11 fumbles), backup Sam Ehlinger was also under fire against Washington (two sacks, one fumble).
For the Patriots, one of their strong points on defense has been the pass rush of Judon and Wise, who has been a pleasant surprise. It was expected for Judon to have a strong season coming off of a Pro-Bowl selection in 2021 but Wise has broken out with five sacks (tying a career-high). The weak point of the Colts line has been the tackles and Danny Kelly is now the third guy to start at left tackle for them this season. Judon and Wise need to be able to put pressure on the young Ehlinger to force him into mistakes like they did to Jets quarterback Zach Wilson last week.