Once more into the breach dear friends once more. 2023 is here. And if the Patriots are going to get to the playoffs, things have to start Sunday vs the Eg-gles. That's not a typo - it starts week one. Oh that's not a typo either, that how you say Eagles in Philly
. A ton of airtime and keyboard time has been wasted in talking about the quality of opponents the Patriots grabbed W’s off of last season. Funny we don't hear that about the vaunted Eggles. Who beat a 1-6 Lions team by 3, Kirk Cousins in prime time, the Commanders - who they lost the rematch too, the not ready for prime time Jags, Dallas with Cooper Rush under center, the at the time 1-6 Steelers and barely beat the Texicans and the Cards with no Hopkins. BIG WOW. The Colts? The Bears? OMG… why am I doing this? Just to prove a point. You can rip apart anyone's schedule and talk about the cake. Let's get to the meats. Here are My Monster Keys to Patriots victory
Crush and Contain
Some call it the mush rush, I've been calling it Crush and Contain since Super Bowl XLIX. Should have caught on more by now, but the concept is the same no matter what you call it. The Patriots need to be patient, crush the pocket from the outside. The interior needs to respect their lanes and keep Hurts in front of them. Good pad level fat men good pad level. contain Hurts and keep him from extending plays and finding breakdowns late.
Early down Late down shut down
No one in the NFL got into second and third and short as often as the Eagles did last year. This is how you end up with the second most first downs (385) in the NFL. Get big, set the edges and put this game on Hurts arm. In 2022 Philly converted on 3rd down 45.9% of the time and on 4th down 68% of the time. Stuff the run and Get them into late downs and long.
What can shutting down Brown do for you
EVERYTHING. How do you shut down not one but two of the best weapons in the NFL at WR when you also need to stop the run? Quarters coverage. Cover 4 is not a prevent defense people so stop it. The safeties are going to need to be the QB’s week one and run this defense for Mayo. If they read run? The play-side safety needs to be the force and the backside needs to watch for the cutbacks. When they read Pass they can back off and help bracket the Eagles WR’s . The CB’s can press - play press bail, or play OFF and line up 5 to 8 yards off the LOS. This keeps Hurts guessing on every down. And should keep Brown in check. Think of 2018 when the Pats shut down Tyreek Hill in the AFC championship. I never had an issue deploying this D when Devin McCourty was running the show. Are these Patriots defensive backs up to my task? I hope so.
Own third Down - The Patriots third down conversion rate was 27th in the league last year at 34.88 % down 10% from 2021. That 44% the year before was good for top 10 in the NFL. Let's get back to 3rd and short situations and move the chains.
Limit the Laundry - for the past two seasons this team has been plagued by STUPID. On average more than six flags were thrown at the Pats in every contest last year. Mostly on the offensive line. Clean it up Fat men, coach Klemm I'm also looking at you.
Win the turnover Battle - if there was one bright spot to the 2022 season it was in the takeaway department, almost two per game. Philly only gave the ball over once per game last year. To win Sunday the Pats are going to have to win this battle.
Keep Mac Upright and not Uptight
The Eagles Line is a gauntlett. Haason Reddick, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, Josh Sweat, Milton Williams, Jalen Carter, and Nolan Smith. OMG what an excess of wealth. First things first, establish the run. Get Stevenson into the game plan early - run at Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat. Keep these two on their heels and off Mac Jones chest. The interior line is going to have to be stout and the tackles need to push the ends back and past the pocket letting Mac move up and hit.
The Soft Underbelly
Huge game about to happen for Henry - Bourne - JuJu and Douglas :. yes people the soft underbelly of this Eggles defense is the middle of the field. Expect to see a ton of motion Sunday. Attack the linebackers, go to whence the blitz commith, burn the over aggressive second level, get the backs in space, bust a seam or five and get me my YAC.
Thats it my rabid readers, another season begins and another set of Keys cut. I want to thank you all for coming back year after year actually now decade after decade. Let's hope O’B and Mayo stop in and take a peek.