It's rare to see a week 2 game taking on a "must win" mentality in these parts. That type of attitude is reserved for the Jets of the world who play their Super Bowls in September instead of February like we do. Is this game must win? HELL NO. But I'd love to avoid the shit storm that will come from the Boston Media if the Pats are staring down the barrel of an 0-2 start so let's figure it out, eh fellas?
Drew Brees and his high flying New Orleans Saints hold a 3-1 advantage in head to head match up vs Tommy and the Pats in regular season meetings. The only Patriots win is pictured above, and it took a Kembrell Thompkins tuddy with 5 seconds left to pull victory from the jaws of defeat.
This game has the potential to look like a game of Madden GOAT Edition considering these two defenses gave up the most and second most yards from scrimmage in week 1, while also boasting the best and, what is Brees, third best(?), QB in the league.
I think the Pats offense will score a lot of points, but I don't think we're going to look as N'SYNC as Lance Bass out there. Everything I'm hearing is Tom is pissed off. True. The Pats always bounce back strong after a loss. True. The Saints defense SUCKS and Sam fuzzing Bradford completed 84% of his passes against them. True. But you know what I'm not hearing? Julian Edelman didn't actually tear his ACL and will play. Or that Danny Amendola's brain isn't bouncing around the inside of his skull like whatever the hell is inside a Magic 8 Ball. And unless both of those things become true, I still believe Tom is going to have a hard time really getting into a groove like we're used to. It's too early in the season and Phillip Dorsett (from? THE U) probably knows more lines from Moby Dick than he does from our playbook. I expect Gronk to be a much bigger factor considering Eric Berry won't be decorating his 3 bedroom condo up Gronk's asshole all afternoon. I think Bradin Cooks will be hyped to play his old pals but with no shifty slot guy giving the Saints fits, Cooks will get safety help allllll night and wont have much room to work. That's why I'm going back to the well, kind of...
Prediction: Chris Hogan catches a DEEP tuddy. Even though he wildly disappointed in week 1, and I don't think he will be the slot savior I need him to be in week 2, I think he makes his mark on this game. As I said, Cooks will get the safety help leaving Hoags with multiple one on one match-ups. Eventually the Saints will get burned and Hoags will be off to the races.
Prediction: And one more for you. Look for the screen game to come alive this week. I remember one fake screen left, throw screen right (to Dola I think??) last week. ONE! McDaniels loves the screen game, and we have the perfect backs to do it. That crew is going to have to step up big time with the loss of Jules, and getting them the ball in space against a weak secondary is a no brainer. That doesn't just mean James White. DIDI should get a few looks to run wild, and maybe we will activate DJ Foster.
But it's not going to be all roses on Sunday. The Saints offense is no joke even with Willie Snead suspended and Adrian Peterson D.O.A. Michael Thomas is a legit WR1 and Coby Fleener is a player that can hurt you if you're not careful. Brees is electric at home and if you fall behind at the Super Dome it can be hard to crawl out of that sewer of poop, Andy Dufrense style. The Saints are missing their starting right tackle, Zach Strief, so they will vulnerable there. Look for my BOY Trey Flowers to line up on that side of the ball on some obvious passing situations and really get after Brees. He should add to his ever growing sack total.
Hightower has been ruled out, so I'm gonna need David Harris to, ya know, play some football for us. The veteran who was brought in the wear the green dot and take some responsibility from High so the Super Bowl hero could push more outside and get after the QB was completely absent in week 1. The linebacking core in general is going to need to do a lot more on those check downs and crossing routes if we are going to stay in this game, and it starts with Harris.
Unfortunately, I think the D is going to start this game very slowly. Brees is going to have his way with us in the first half and this season is going to feel like 2009 all over again real fast. But our offense will keep pace, and Mad Matt Patricia will adjust at half time and put the clamps down. The game will come down to a few plays, including...
Prediction: Stephon Gilmore gets his first interception in a Patriots jersey. I expect him on Michael Thomas all night. Gilmore's size is the reason we gave him all that money to cover big receivers like Thomas. But there's not a chance Brees doesn't look at him all night like Alex Smith. He's going to Thomas early and often and I expect Gilmore to be competitive. Late in the game, with the Saints on the move, Gilmore will take one away to ice it.
And this one might surprise you, but Prediction: The Pats hold Brees under 300 passing yards. EXCUSE ME, JO?? You just said he was going to kill us in the first half! I know, I know, and it will be close. 280 or 290. But I think Bill and the gang put the fear of god into our boys over the last 10 days, and we're going to keep a VERY light box all game and dare the Saints to beat us on the ground. There wont be many lanes to throw, and the future Hall of Famer comes up short of three bills.
This should be a fun one. I don't quite see the shoot out others have predicted, but it certainly wont be Texans vs Bengals either. I like the Pats in a pull away second half, getting this season back on track.