Still Must Win Territory
Two teams both 5-4, both in must win mode. God, I love Football. Trust me no one suiting up for Sunday’s Patriots Browns game wants to be 5-5 with seven games left in the season. Neither of them wants to take a step back after huge victories last week that put them back in the playoff hunt and the Pats sure as hell don’t want to drop to 1-5 at home with a short turnaround before Thursday’s matchup with the Falcons, here are my Monster Keys to Patriots getting to 6-4.
Bump and Grind
No pun intended (kind of). Baker Mayfield is a dynamo when he gets the ball out quick. The Patriots Defensive Backs need to get right into the faces of the Browns receivers and mess up the timing between them and Baker. The longer he holds the ball the worse his numbers get. That’s just facts. Contain him in the pocket and make him hold onto the ball.
Stuff the Run.
Again another huge test for the front seven this week. I don’t care who is lined up in this Browns backfield. The offensive line the Browns have put together can make any back look good and good backs look great. Mind those gaps – gang tackle – do not get caught watching the paint dry on this fence.
Limit the Laundry – The Browns lead the league in penalty yards, giving up 600 freebies to date. They want to hand out yards GREAT don’t give them back.
Own Third Down – The Browns are middle of the pack when it comes to converting on third down. Sitting at just over 40%. They are bottom third in the league in allowing third down conversions. The Pats are top five in the league and trending up over the last three games sitting at 48%. In the words of Alex Barth – math doesn’t lie.
Win The Turnover Battle – an extra opportunity could be the game changer Sunday. The Browns are top five in the league in takeaways, Take care of the ball.
Don’t Settle – Sixes not threes. Please Pretty please, with regular (not brown) sugar on top.
Whos Waldo you ask ? Myles Garrett . yes this is its own key, IF Myles plays (trust me he plays) in this game (dealing with a foot injury) someone needs to know where he is at all times, This is a man who could wreck your your weekend quick, Run at him thorw over him. And when i say your , I’m talking to you Mac Jones.
Out Quick get me that Yac
With the questions in the Patriots backfield leading up to Sunday primary on the minds of most in New England I’m going with set up the run with the passing game this week, If there is a soft underside to the Browns it’s at linebacker, I need to see quick crossers digs and slants aplenty, exploit the linebacking core of this Browns team. Get Kendrick Bourne and Hunter Henry going early. Go get me that YAC.
Keep them honest.
Now that Mac has lightened things up for the guys who want to drive downhill, use Johnson to open up holes and spring whoever is lining up behind Jones to the second level and beyond. It’s truly a shame both of these teams, but especially the Patriots, don’t have their big thumper of a healthy back for this one. This may be a week to hand the ball off to Johnson now that I think of it.
Thats it my rabid readers, The pats are hot and they need to stay hot if they want a chance at winning this division. It’s there for the taking. The Jets are the Jets, the Dolphins are imploding and the Bills are believing their own press. Strike now or strike out.
As always you can follow/ give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207
image by Getty