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Pats Vs. DBs

What Matters.

7-Things for Sunday, Part I.

By TOM

Greetings Pats Fans,

First off I just want to thank all the fans of this site. I have been promoting my books for sale primarily on this site. As a result, I have sold almost 500 books in the past year. Thank you for your support and patronage, both are greatly appreciated. I cannot tell you how happy it made me when I read that report. So thank you Draft fans and Patriot fans alike, and mostly thank you to all the fans of my books and website worldwide.

As result of all your great support, the start of the Patriots season, and the release of my third book And One (or should I say second novella on kindle), I will be offering Manfred's Argument (my first novella) for free on Amazon.com from September 10th to September 14th.

To all my faithful followers. Thank You.

Sincerely,

TOM

1, What Matters Now- I'm struggling to do a review of the KC game. I feel like this is the Playoffs and it just doesn't matter. The only thing that matters in the Universe now is the Broncos. KC What? Alex Smith who? Foxboro's where? What matters now is Denver.

Does it matter that the Pats took on one of the most physical teams in the NFL and beat them up? No. "It was very important, just look at the score. If we didn't hold them to field goals, we could have possibly lost that game," Harmon said. "The game was a lot different toward the end, so holding them to field goals really helped us. Any time you can hold a team to a field goal in the red zone, it's a four-point swing, so we can say we took eight points off the board from them and we won by seven. If we didn't, it could have been a whole different game." Denver is not going to beat you up.

The Denver offense is a finesse offense. They want to beat you with Payton's brain more than punch you in the mouth. The want to run draws to slow the rush. They want Payton to be the center of attention in every way. Insane stat of the week: Payton Manning threw for one regular season TD in FIVE Home games in Denver, he did not throw a TD pass against Pitt yesterday at Home, and Brady threw for three TDs in Denver. So in six games at Home Payton has thrown for 1 TD against Minny, and had 2 INTs in that game as well. So Brady has a 3 to 1 Passing-TD advantage on Payton in Denver (even though Payton played six games in Denver and Brady one, lol)! They win with Payton playing the ultimate game manager, and defense. So in that sense they are very similar to KC. Only Alex Smith is a better QB than Payton now. Payton sucks, and I'm watching ESPN knuckleheads talking him like like he is, well... Brady.

What matters is that the Bronco defense wants to punch you in the mouth, especially the quarterback. "It was a great win," TB12 said. "Took everything we've got, so a lot of guys played hard, a lot of guys have been fighting through some stuff. So it's pretty special to get back to another AFC Championship Game." Their defense is geared to crushing the quarterback.

So if the Pats O-line wins on passing downs (which is apparently every down) the Pats win. "Again, I think the offensive line did a great job," BB said. "The receivers did an excellent job of getting open and getting separation. Tom got the ball out quickly, so all that worked together. In that first drive, they came after us at least three times, maybe four, and we made plays on all those. We had a third-down conversions. [We] hit James White out in the flat for an easy 20 yards. Amendola, that was another probably easy 20 yards or something like that, whatever it was. They came after us and we hit them pretty good on those, and then that really slowed it down for a while. We didn't see a lot of pressures. It was a lot of four-man rush, other than when they were in some of their five-down looks, but those were relatively easy to identify. So we didn't see after that first drive a whole lot of pressure, but I thought again those are good pass rushers on the edge there: Hali and Ford, Houston when he played, big guys inside. So I thought we held up to them pretty good. A big part of that also was the quarterback and receivers being able to get the ball out on time and make some yards after the catch, which Rob did, James White did, Danny, Julian, so it was a good team effort in the passing game. The offensive line had a big challenge. I don't know how many times they threw the ball but it was most all of them, I know that. They pass blocked well." Like KC's trio of edgerushers, Houston, Hali, and Ford, Denver wins with their great edgerushers: Von Miller, Ware, Shaquil Barrett, and Shane Ray. If the O-line is as good as it was against KC? We win.

What matters it that the Pats are going to their unprecedented fifth straight AFC Champ Game! "It's a real credit to the players," BB said. "I think that's number one. Those guys, we demand a lot out of them. This is a hard place to play. It's from the first day of spring OTAs all the way through training camp all the way through meetings. We're over 100 practices now this year. That doesn't count the walkthroughs and the meetings and everything else. Those are just the actual practice practices. You know it's definitely a grind, but they come in here, like this group, and I've said this the last couple of years, too, these guys come in here every day, their pencils are sharpened, they're sitting right there in those seats, they're ready to go, they're attentive, they want to learn, they want to know how to get better, they want to compete and they just do that on a daily basis. That's been week after week and year after year. It's really a great credit to those guys. We have some great competitors on our team: obviously Brady and Edelman, and Gronkowski and Vollmer, and Chung and McCourty, Hightower, Collins, Chandler, those guys on the other side of the ball, too, Stephen Gostkowski. Those guys, you just can't say enough about them. Ninkovich, I mean you just go right down the line. The credit goes to them. It's a tough league. It's tough to go out and play good every week, especially when you've got a target. Everybody is trying to knock us off, as they should be, and we've just got to stand up and compete every week. The players do a great job here, they really do. I'm really fortunate to have that group. And the assistant coaches, you can't say enough great things. I thought Josh and the offensive staff did a tremendous job this week game planning and play calling. Josh was magnificent. I thought he really had everything dialed in. Pretty much everything he called it came out the way we thought it would. As we were breaking the huddle, we could already see we had what we wanted and Tom and the offense executed it perfectly. The staff did a really good job, as they usually do. Look, these guys work hard here. The coaches work hard, the players work hard, and it's very gratifying to see those kinds of results pay off for all the hard work. It's what we do, it's what we're here for is to win." The only thing that matters is getting all those guys together to beat the Broncos on Sunday.

The Broncos were barely able to beat a Pitt team with Roethlisberger's binkie missing (Antonio Brown), and a bad defense. Just like when the Pats played in Denver and they were even more undermanned. "When you get 11 [Edelman] back it makes things out there easier," Keshawn Martin said. "Not just for a couple players, but for everybody. You've got to worry about so many different players out there and it was a good job by everybody today." The Broncos will be facing the full wrath of the Patriots offense this week.

What matters now is that Hightower, Jones, and Collins got injured and didn't come back into the game. "Any time one of your guys goes down your heart goes out to them because you know these guys that you have blood, sweat, and tears with all year since training camp, OTAs, all of those things," Johnathan Freeny said. "You've been working with these guys so any time one of them goes down and they have an injury your heart goes out to them." So I'm not really sure they need those guys on the field to win in Denver. But I don't see how the Pats lose if they are on the field in Denver.

What matters now is that Edelman, Amendola, and Gronk are back. "It changes everything," Slater said about having Edelman and Gronk back together again. "Julian Edelman is a very unique player in this league and the things that he's able to do, inside and outside route running-wise, poses a lot problems. You're maybe looking at the tight end of, definitely his generation, but maybe the best tight end that's ever laced them up. Obviously that says a lot in itself." The Denver defense couldn't stop the Pats when Edelman and Amendola weren't on the field.

The Pats offense was kicking Denver's ass until things went wacky in the 4th quarter, but Brady still had that miracle drive at the end of regulation without Edelman and Amendola, and Gronk in the 4th. "Just being around the guys all the time, being with the coaching staff, we prepare well together as a team, as a unit; It felt like we were all ready to go and on the same page," Gronk said, and then continued. "You always want to get a fast start, especially being together with everyone, Julian, Danny, everyone back out there on the field. We were all just clicking on that drive and it was great to get a touchdown [on the] first drive. That's how you always want to start." People forget that: both Edelman and Amendola where out of that game, Gronk went down in the 4th Quarter, and Brady still threw for 3 TDs and no INTs.

This offense will crush Denver. "Julian is a good player," BB said. "He's a good route runner and he's good after the catch. He's a strong runner after the catch, can make yards on his own. The more of those guys you have out there the harder it is to defend. We got plays out of James White, Danny, Julian, Rob, LaFell, Keshawn. They all made big plays for us. The more play makers you've got out there on the field, and Tom knows what to do with them, he can find those matchups, that's what we need to do and have that in sync with our line, our communication and making sure we're in the right play when they give us a different look or being able to handle the pressure like we did on the first drive. I thought that was obviously a big drive for us for a lot of reasons. Number one, it gave us a lead, we had points, but number two, we handled those pressure situations and that certainly toned that down for quite a while after that. It's great to have Julian back. It's great to have a lot of guys back that we had back today. Hopefully they'll all be out there again Sunday." They can't cover Edelman and Gronk. Plus, Amendola had a bad game against KC and will be desperate to rebound.

What matters is that when the Pats played a weak-armed QB who couldn't throw 30-yards downfield with enough velocity and accuracy to hurt a defense, they only gave up two field goals. The Pats beat Houston 27 to 6, and the defense pressed the WRs and left everything open deep. They didn't bother to play Cover Two and try and prevent the long passes that the QB couldn't make. They strangled Houston's WRs within 15-yards of the LOS and made Hoyer have to throw over the top, which he couldn't do. Payton now has a similar arm to Hoyer, and I would argue a weaker arm than Hoyer. The Pats will press the WRs at the LOS and make Payton throw over the top. Which 90% of the time he can't do any more.

What matters is that your three best defensive players got injured. They have to get those three guys on the field. "Yeah, our depth there at linebacker really came through for us and like we talked about after the game, it’s one of those situations where everybody’s got to be ready to go," BB said. "You never know how it’s going to go in the playoffs. We talked about the situation in the Super Bowl against Carolina where we end up with two guys playing safety who hadn’t played all year after Eugene Wilson and Rodney Harrison went out. It’s just everybody being ready and being ready to go and they did a good job. Dekoda [Watson] gave us some good rushes there on the edge. Darius [Fleming] and Jonathan [Freeny] both stepped in. Of course, Jonathan has played a lot of football for us this year and Darius has played multiple spots from defensive end to outside linebacker to the inside linebacker spots. All those extra sessions, things that he does after practice and things like that really paid off. Darius is a hardworking guy that doesn’t say a lot but he’s always trying to do extra to get better so it’s good to see him, not surprisingly, but good to see him take advantage of the opportunity. He kind of did that for us a little bit last year in the kicking game when he was on the practice squad most of the year and then came in and played well for us in a lot of big games down the stretch." Those three guys are you want hitting Manning and making his legs and arm even weaker.

The backups played well against the run, but gave them nothing in the rush. "Third-down, I’d say a combination of a number of things," BB said. "At times it was not enough rush, at times it was a good rush and not enough coverage or losing leverage on coverage. There were some obviously good plays by the Chiefs. They ran some good routes, made some tough catches in traffic. [Alex] Smith made some good throws. We were close on a few of those but not close enough, but it was good execution on their part so I’d say a combination of all those things but giving up 60 percent on third-down is not good enough." Jones, Collins, and Hightower are the prime 3rd down players that get the defense off the field.

This is the Playoffs. So what matters now is the next opponent. "You can't take those for granted," Hicks said. "I was in New Orleans for three years and went to the playoffs one year. We came up and beat Philadelphia then went down and lost to Seattle the year they won the Super Bowl. So you just can't take these moments for granted and you've got to always be prepared." The only thing that matters in Patriot's land is Denver.

What matters now is how do they slow down their passrushers? How do they create some cracks for their runningback to run through? Or do they just abandon the run and throw-throw-throw? How do they hit Payton? How do they handle the Broncos great edgerushers (yes, that has to be asked twice)?

The only thing that matters now is beating the Broncos. "Playoff time, you really try to put every other game during the regular season [and the last one, in the rearview mirror]," Akiem Hicks said. "It's almost a new season. You try to put all that stuff behind you and move on. So now it's another set of one-game seasons. That's how we approached it." Because it's the Playoffs, where you win or go home.

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