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Patriot's Vs The Lesson.



November 25th, 2010

I am reluctantly writing this preview. This game is rushed hurried hasty affair. I really donít feel comfortable picking the Pats here. Not because I think they are going to lose, like in Cleveland , but because I have no feel for this game at all. In shorts week like this anything can happen. Each team will miss important information that they normally would have spotted with more time in the film room, and the unanswerable question is which one of those missed aspects is going hurt which team the most?

This games has all the earmarks of a trap game. They are coming off their two biggest wins of the season, and look whose waiting for us just around the corner. The perpetually lucky Jets, who we are currently fighting for home field advantage throughout the Playoffs. To make things worse, the Pats and the Jets could end up with the two best records in the entire NFL, and only one would get the all important Bye. Only the top two division winners from each conference get the Bye week. So to lose to the Jets next week, all but eliminates any chance the Pats have at the all important Bye week. And sitting right here between the two biggest wins of the season, and their biggest game of the regular season are the nice kind and cozy Lions, orchestrators of a furious, deadly, and vicious 2 and 8 record. There are a lot of similarities to the Cleveland game, including coaches from the BB tree.   

The good news is that they have three important counters to the trap. One, the just went through it three weeks ago, and almost the exact situation is staring them in the face. If they havenít learned their lesson, then their will be trouble. Two, being a young team that is constantly learning should actually help them. They just got smashed in the face by a trap game, and should have learned their lesson. Three, in the short weeks it is usually an advantage for smarter teams, which usually means the Patriots. The Patriots take smart into the equation on Draft Day (oh, draft day! Everybody sing, ďitís the best time of the yearĒ;-). They like to draft guys who can articulate well in interviews, team captains, and guys who have graduated. They truly believe these things matter. The intelligence of their players will hopefully be the deciding factor in this game.

As for the Draft, I really like how Detroit has Drafted recently. They have three of the best college football players I ever saw play. First, I told everyone that Suh was the best college football player I ever saw, and he is continuing that excellence in his rookie season. I had Best rated as a top ten pick and the top RB in the Draft, if his head was screwed on straight. He was my favorite RB to watch play in college his last two seasons at California . We also canít forget Calvin Johnson, who was truly a man amongst boys at Georgia Tech. You think he looks big on the field in the NFL, you should have seen him at GT being covered by 5'5" and 5'6" CBs. It was funny how much bigger stronger and faster he was than everyone else. 

The Pats biggest problem on Thursday is that they are facing uncertainty. They have no familiarity with this team. The last time they played was December 3rd 2006 . BB said they did some work on the Lions before the season, and his familiarity with Swartz should help. BB biggest obstacles this week will be getting his team familiar with the Lions tendencies and making sure they learned their lesson in Cleveland .

This Detroit team is a lot better than their record indicates. They are clearly on the right road, but havenít left loser town yet. You could argue they could be 8-2, rather than 2-8. They have some terrific young players, and maybe the best WR in the game in his prime.

The Detroit defense has some nice young players. Suh is the man. I had both their corners, Alphonso Smith and Chris Houston, rated as 1st Round Picks for different reasons. Houston was the super athlete who didnít quiet put it all together yet, and Smith was so productive and plays the ball so well in the air, but his speed was lacking. Louis Delmas was another guy I had rated as a 1st Round Pick. He was one of the best small school players I ever watched. There was a lot of buzz about him coming into the Bowl season that year. And what was it, Western Michigan (I canít remember?) played in a Bowl game and I finally got to watch him play. He was everywhere. He was tall and thin but his speed, instincts, and intelligence really showed. He just seemed to know what the offense was doing, and was always in the right position. Plus, he made about five highlight hits, and it was obvious to anyone who watched that game that he was a legit pro prospect. And of course Amari Spievey was another guy I really like. He reminded me of Darius Butler, we was quicker and faster than everyone else on the field. His technique was still a little raw, and he had a tendency to 3/4 in his backpedal, but he was probably coached to play that way. Whenever I watched Iowa , he was just the quickest guy on the field. Cliff Avril was another guy who was just seemed faster than everyone else on the field. If I had been drafting a defense I think it would have looked a lot like this one. Except for the Linebackers, Iím not sure thereís a lot of talent there. If there is one troublesome area to this offense, itís the LB. There problem is that they are young and havenít put it all together yet, much like our defense. Only they arenít getting the big plays when they need them. Detroit is ranked 13th in the league in Pass Yards (were 31st, giving up 289.6), 26th against the run give up 130.6 YPG, and Total defense giving up 344.2 YPG.

On offense, they are even a more difficult team to figure out. With Stafford out and a rookie running back at the helm, itís difficult to figure out who they are. I like some of the players on their O-Line Backus and Cherilus are good tough smash you in the mouth O-Tackles, who are better in the running game than Pass Protection. I like Rob Sims when he came out of Ohio State . However with Shaun Hill at QB, the game is there for the Patriots to take.

In the end, the game for me comes down to penchants. Detroitís penchants for losing and making the big mistake at the big time, Vs the Patriotís penchants for winning and coming up with the big play at the big time. For me itís just that simple. The Patriots win because they are used to winning and Detroit is still used to losing. However, if Stafford's shoulder ever heals, in a year or two they could be a legit play off team.   

If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me:


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