Thanks to everyone that has been reading this column.My picks were rarely correct, but I didn’t
take any lollipops.Only the tough
We finally made it.It’s
been another fun year to be a Patriots fan.Still dominant in the AFC East, Number one seed, overcoming adversity
and injuries…this is an easy team to like. (And I would imagine an easy team to
HATE).Either way you gotta say that
they take care of their business.
Now they need to finish it.
I have an ominous feeling that these kind of campaigns
always get derailed.Whenever we look
like we are going to do something truly unbelievable, it gets snatched away by
a helmet catch or a missed extra point.We got our F – You Super Bowl last year.Another one would be insane to think about….So
naturally I feel like I should expect the worst.
Winning does seem like fate though.The parallels and storylines are too sexy to
let slip away.Second dynasty.Against the Eagles to close it out.Both coordinators are leaving (Remember that
picture of Belichick hugging both Crennel and Weis after ’04?)
There is an air of finality to this season.A feeling of determination.While I think both Brady and Bill will be
back next year and the foreseeable future, there is an undeniable vibe that the
party is coming to an end.That
something is going to change…Let’s hope to end it on a high note.
I’ve been hearing a lot about this Eagles defense and their
ability to get home with only four rushers. I am glad our offensive line is basically
healthy.I have confidence in both
Waddle and Fleming to man that Right Tackle spot, but I would start there if I
am the Eagles defensive coordinator. Obviously that has been the only way the
Patriots have lost in recent memory (Both Giants Super Bowls, AFC Championship
against the Broncos.)
The Eagles defensive season stats are mostly impressive.4th in points per game at
18.4.They let up 306 yards per game
which is also 4th best.Very
interesting to see they are 17th in the league in pass defense and 1st
in run defense.They certainly are
formidable, but didn’t we just beat a better defense with more sacks in the AFC
Championship? I need at least 21 to feel comfortable.
I do expect them to frustrate us at times.We should spread them out and get
our backs involved through the air.Get
the ball out quickly and negate their pass rush.I’d love to see some up-tempo stuff early,
but remember that this is a marathon game and I don’t want to run out of gas.
Their offense has overachieved with their back-up in charge down the stretch.Pretty
impressive.I’m told to watch out for
the Run-Pass Option.Apparently they are
very effective with those plays, and Jacksonville was also successful running
those concepts against us.To beat it, you
have to play press-man coverage and disrupt their timing.Stop the run and win one-on-one battles.I think the matchups mostly favor the
Pats.Alshon Jeffrey is a big, physical
receiver….but that is why we got Gilmore.(After Julio Jones ate our lunch last year, they knew they had to get a
stud for this exact situation.)Zach
Ertz is sick, but Pat Chung is great at covering Tight Ends.Jay Ajayi and Blount can be troublesome when
they get going, but they are not Leveon Bell.Malcolm Butler will cover Nelson Agholor.
If we can take away the easy stuff, Foles is gonna have to
take his shots deep and to the outside.That’s
what we want to force, but if he is dropping dimes like last week, we could be
I don’t expect the Eagles to beat themselves.If you let them dink and dunk, they are good
enough to put together 13 plays.Just got
to get enough stops to let the offense do their thing.
Here are the last predictions of the year.See you for the recap….maybe.
Prediction:The National Anthem goes over 2:00.This is a lock.
Foles throws for over 300.I think the
Eagles are going to come out hot and make this a game, at least early.They will move the ball easily inside the
20s, but the Pats just gotta hang tough in the red zone to be ok.
wins MVP – Why not?I think he can
really be the difference in the red zone, even if it’s just making 2 guys cover
him.(Also, they don’t want to give it
to Brady but might have to.)
Prediction:Pats win again, 27-21.Who’s got it better than us?