Every week I make predictions about how things will play out in the game. Like the Patriots, I’m gonna need a breakfast ball on this one. That being said, I’m a man of integrity and I always answer for my predictions. It’s time to pay the piper.
Prediction: Chris Hogan will play in the slot: The worst part about losing Julian Edelman is that Brady lost his safety valve. When you HAVE to make a play, there are only a few guys you can go to. Gronk is on that list, Edelman was on that list….I think Hogan is on that list. He just hits you as a guy that ‘gets it’. It’s almost like he has a PhD in the offense. He knows where to turn a route, he knows when to break it off and streak downfield. That’s exactly what is required from the slot receiver, and it’s too important of a job in this offense just to let it go. Hogan will play the slot and he will be the target when the Pats really need a first down.
Result: This did not happen at all…but I think it should have. Danny Amendola handled the slot duties for most of the game, and he did a pretty good job. He wasn’t quite Julian Edelman out there, but he was clearly the lynch-pin for the offense. When he went down with a concussion, things completely spiraled out of control. There was no one to go to on third down, and the intermediate passing game was cancelled entirely. Why not put Hogan in the slot in that scenario?
Prediction: Belichick will take Travis Kelce out of the game: If anyone understands the power of the TE position its Big Billy B. I expect Kelce to be bracketed, and to have a nothing stat line (sorry fantasy owners). I think the emphasis will be on making it hard for KC to operate their offense, and he is too big a cog to let run wild.
Result: I pretty much nailed this one. 7 targets, 5 catches and 40 yards. I don’t know how much that stupid shovel pass gimmick counts towards this, but Kelce was otherwise a non-factor. He was double teamed most of the night. (If only the defense was able to avoid huge scoring plays to Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt)