Continuing our Over/Under series leading up to the Patriot season opener on Sunday, we turn our attention to perhaps the second most important player to the defense this year, with Darrelle Revis being the first, in my opinion. Revis is also the key factor that will allow Chandler Jones to crush the Over/Under figure, set at 13 sacks.
Over/Under: 13 sacks
Prediction: OVER-16 Sacks
Barring injury, this is the year Chandler Jones is set to break out. While it did come in the preseason against a depleted Carolina offense, he flashed what he is capable of, bringing down big, strong QB Cam Newton on two occasions and getting in the mix on several other plays.
This dude is a monster, and he finally has the talent behind him that he is going to be able to get after the quarterback this season, for real. In past seasons, we have seen a consistently porous Patriots secondary. Quarterbacks have not had an overly difficult time racking up yardage against New England, which obviously prevents the D-lineman from being as disruptive as they are capable of being.
After losing Aqib Talib in the early stages of last season's AFC Championship Game, Peyton Manning put on a clinic through the air. Not surprisingly, Jones, and the rest of the Pats D-line, was invisible. Manning barely got his jersey touched.
Playing in 14 of 16 regular season games as a rookie, Jones accumulated six sacks, though throughout much of the year he was hampered with an ankle injury. Last year his production jumped to 11.5 sacks, and we saw what a beast he can be when healthy.
This season I see no reason why he can't add to that total significantly and surpass the 13 sack Over/Under total. With a revamped secondary behind him, look for Chandler to be among the league leaders in sacks.
What do you guys think? Vote in the poll below or let us know on Twitter: @PatriotsLife or @LC_NEP