Coming off of Week 1’s 21- 11 victory over the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots travel to CenturyLink Field to play their Super Bowl XLIX opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, in their first prime time game of the season.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
After their Week 1 victory, the New England Patriots’ offense ranks 32nd in passing and first in rushing. The defense ranks sixth against the pass and ninth against the run.
Obviously, one week into a season, you can’t make any real assumptions about what a team is going to be, but it’s very clear that Cam Newton will be the focus of this offense moving forward. He ran the ball often and had success doing so. This week, I’d expect New England to continue to run the ball, but I would like to see the passing game get more involved, to add another dimension to this offense.
The New England defense still looks very good. After Sunday’s victory, their secondary appears elite, with Joejuan Williams and Adrian Phillips emerging as potentially important players. With only a single sack in Week 1, I’d like to see the Patriots’ front-seven pressure the quarterback more, although this week might prove challenging to accomplish that feat.
With kicker Nick Folk promoted back to the 53-man roster, I’d anticipate more missed field goals this week.
Russell Wilson’s Week 1 stat line: 31-of-35 for 322 yards, four TDs, and no interceptions.
What’s really impressive is that Wilson completed passes to nine different targets. Wilson also added three carries for 29 rushing yards. Wilson has a handful of good weapons in Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, and Chris Carson coming out of the backfield. This offense will be hard to stop.
On the defensive side of the ball, I really want to take a moment to appreciate the monster game that safety Jamal Adams had: 12 total tackles (including a team-leading eight solo tackles) and one sack. It seems like the tradition of Seattle having an elite safety, continues. You also have to recognize the greatness of Bobby Wagner at linebacker; truly, one of the best in the game today.
So, how do the Patriots win this game?
Well, it’s going to be difficult.
New England’s secondary matches up well against just about every team in the league. The problem will come from how disciplined the front-seven of New England can be. Russell Wilson, while not only an elite passer, absolutely possesses the ability to scramble and keep the ball himself. Bill Belichick even recently praised Wilson, saying “he’s underrated (…) I don’t see anybody better. He can do everything. Obviously, great leadership, play-making skills, plays very well in the most critical situations, decision-making, running, passing.”
If this game becomes a shoot-out, I don’t like New England’s chances of winning.
Dominating time of possession and the defense maintaining discipline in coverage, seem like the real keys to the game for New England.
I predict that the Patriots will be walking away from Sunday night with a loss.
(Featured Image Credit: Steven Senne for AP Photos / Patriots.com)