Patriot Talk: Week 13 Recap and Week 14 Predictions
NEvMIN: 24-10 Win (9-3 Record)
The game started off a bit slow offensively for the Patriots, but the defense was solid. Granted, the Patriots, for some reason, always play well against good teams, and it’s a bonus if they’re at home. There was no Gronk TD, and no 100 yard game from Sony Michel, but everyone was solid, even Josh Gordon, despite not getting targeted a single time during the first half. Talking about Josh Gordon, he caught another Brady milestone TD pass, as Brady hit his 279th career TD pass, including playoffs, to Gordon. Oh, and Brady hit 1,000 yards rushing in his career as well. Let’s get into it.
Tom Brady went 24 of 32 passing for 311 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception. Of his 8 incomplete passes, one was intercepted, one was thrown away and one was dropped, meaning he had 5 poor passes (not counting the pick). Edelman had the lone drop. Brady went 1 for 1 on deep passes for 29 yards, and that pass went to Cordarrelle Patterson. Brady went 2 of 5 for 32 yards, including the TD and interception, while under pressure. As for the run game, Sony Michel had 17 carries for 63 yards. In Rex Burkhead’s return from IR, he had 7 carries for 20 yards. The most effective runner, however, was James Devlin, yes that’s the fullback, as he had 4 carries for 5 yards and 2 TDs. In total, every player that ran the ball combined for 160 yards and the two TDs. The offensive line allowed 3 hurries as well as one QB hit, while tight end Rob Gronkowski allowed a hurry in pass protection. Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason and LaAdrian Waddle were the linemen that didn’t give up a single pressure on QB Tom Brady.
Defensively, the Patriots played a great game. Against the run, the Patriots allowed 7.3 yards per carry, which is awful, but they also registered a few key stops (it also helped that the Vikings only ran the ball 13 times all game). Malcom Brown and Lawrence Guy were both good against the run, racking up 2 stops, while Elandon Roberts and Dont’a Hightower each had a stop of their own. Adrian Clayborn had two missed tackles, while Patrick Chung missed one. In the pass rush, Trey Flowers was great, again. Flowers recorded a sack and two hurries. Lawrence Guy also chipped in, recording 2 QB hits and a hurry. Dont’a Hightower also recorded a QB hit, while Adam Butler had the only other sack of the game. Overall, the Patriots brought pressure 15 times against the Vikings. The Patriots saw the most success in pass coverage yet again, especially, guess who, Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore was covering Stefon Diggs for a majority of the game, allowing 4 catches on 4 targets for only 25 yards. Another standout was undrafted free agent rookie JC Jackson, as he allowed 4 catches on 7 targets for just 23 yards, and got a pass breakup that resulted in a Duron Harmon interception. Patrick Chung struggled however, allowing 3 catches on 3 targets for 57 yards, the most yardage given up by a Pats defender in this game. Jason McCourty gave up the only TD but limited a very tough Adam Thielen. Overall, Jason McCourty gave up 7 catches on 9 targets for just 38 yards.
Next week, the Patriots are headed to Miami to take on divisional rival Dolphins in week 14. Coming off arguably the best defensive performance this season and a solid, not great, offensive output, it’s easy to think highly of New England in this matchup. I mean, it is just the Miami Dolphins, right? Yes, it is, but there’s a history of the Patriots, and the entire NFL, struggling in Miami, Florida. The beautiful weather distracts the players, makes them enjoy their stay rather than focus on the game (maybe?) which leads to the Dolphins success at home. The Patriots have only beaten the Dolphins in Miami once over the last 5 seasons, averaging 21 points per game on offense, and giving up an average of 23.6 points per game defensively. It doesn’t help that our offense has been subpar for the most part this season, and our defense has played down to not so good teams (i.e. Tennessee, Jacksonville), which makes for a slightly concerning feeling ahead of the matchup. But, I’ve remained positive, for the most part, with this team each and every week, and that isn’t going to change. I said following our bye week that this isn’t the same team that we saw against the Titans. The Patriots are healthy and heating up at a very important time. I’m hoping Gronkowski will score this week, and Sony Michel (should) have a great game, as the Dolphins have given up an average of about 145 rushing yards per game. The Dolphins don’t have a very good pass attack or ground attack, although Frank Gore has been solid for the most part this season. I believe the Patriots outmatch the Dolphins in just about everything, but the Patriots have severely struggled on the road this season, and especially in Miami in recent years.
Prediction: 24-16 Patriots win