The New England Patriots lost their fifth game of the 2018 season and second in a row with a frustrating 17-10 loss last Sunday at Heinz Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers. New England will now have to try this week for a chance to wrap-up their tenth consecutive AFC East title at home against AFC East rivals the Buffalo Bills.
The Patriots lost their fifth game of the season–all on the road. In all of those games, other than against Miami– it has been the offense, or more specifically the lack of it, that has been a major factor in New England losing. In their five losses the Patriots have been outscored 142 to 83 (-59). In their nine wins they have outscored opponents 291 to 168 (+123).
The New England defense has also played a key role in their five losses. New England has allowed an average of 28.4 points in their five losses on the road. In their nine victories (six at home) they have allowed opponents just 18.66 points per game. The New England offense has managed just an average of 16.6 points in their five losses while averaging 32.33 points per game in their nine victories.
New England never got consistent play on both sides of the ball although the defense was much improved in the second half. Pittsburgh scored touchdowns on two of their first three drives and had all the points they needed. The defense intercepted the Steelers twice but got no points off those drives. At one point the Patriots punted on five consecutive drives.
On offense, the New England running game was inconsistent for a second straight week gaining just 96 yards on 19 carries (all statistics from Pro-Football-Reference.com unless otherwise noted). The passing game was not much better gaining just 279 tough yards with a costly interception by Tom Brady in the fourth quarter in the red zone. Going three of ten on third down was a backbreaker for the offense
This week the Patriots have a sneaky tough matchup this week at home against the 5-9 Buffalo Bills. Rookie quarterback Josh Allen and his running ability has sparked the Bills this season. They are 4-5 in Allen’s starts while 1-3 without him.
This week’s game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in the greater Boston area and and on WPRI Channel 12 in southeastern Massachusetts and the greater Providence area. Greg Gumbel will handle play-by-play duties with Trent Green and Bruce Arians as the color analysts. Melanie Collins will work from the sidelines..
Locally, the New England Patriots are on the radio on 41 stations throughout the six states in New England, New York and Florida and will feature broadcasters Bob Socci doing play-by-play and local media member and former Patriots backup quarterback and local talk radio personality Scott Zolak adding color analysis.
Each week the game comes down to the match-ups. These are the top match-ups on defense that will determine if the Patriots are the team which emerges victorious on Sunday.
The loss over the Steelers was more on the offense’s inability to score in the red zone as the New England defense held the Steelers to three points after the Steelers scored their second touchdown early in the second quarter. The Patriots defense intercepted Ben Roethlisberger twice giving the Patriots a chance to turn around momentum.
The New England defense had been solid much of the second-half of the season and after a rough start, saw improved pass rush and coverage, but still had major problems in the run defense. The defense was temporarily in the top ten in the NFL in points allowed but has slipped down to 13th in points allowed and 23rd in yards allowed.
The defense was again decent on third downs (PIttsburgh was only four of nine in conversions) and they are now 23rd in the league in third down defense allowing their opponents to convert 40.7% of the time (70 of 172).
How do the Patriots plan to get back that defensive momentum from the second half of the game against the Steelers against their biggest Achilles heel–a running quarterback–and get back in the winning column against a Buffalo Bills squad with nothing to lose?MORE PODCASTS From FPC
- Ep 114: Aaron Rodgers, OBJ, and The New York Jetsby Full Press Coverage on March 25, 2023 at 12:09 am
Despite only playing in ten games, quarterback Josh Allen is the leading rusher in Buffalo with 506 yards. Most of those runs are scrambles, not designed quarterback runs like Baltimore uses for quarterback Lamar Jackson. Allen is athletic and will tuck and run without hesitation when his first option is not open in the secondary.
For the Patriots, the pass rush staying in their lanes and containing the edge is going to be vital. As a passer, Allen has been mediocre. His season high for completions is 18 and his season completion rate is just 52.2%. He has nine interceptions and just six touchdown passes. Forcing him to stay in the pocket and throw the ball is probably the best available outcome for the New England defense.
Trey Flowers has been the only edge rusher with a semblance of discipline on the outside. Deatrich Wise and John Simon have lost containment multiple times on their pass rush and weakened the defense against mobile quarterbacks. Adrian Clayborn has been a situational rusher all season–the Patriots are paying a premium for the veteran and he needs to be playing more than 30% of the snaps each week. The Patriots should unleash the veteran this week on early downs as well.
There is one other thing the Patriots’ defense must do against Buffalo’s offense this week:
SLOW THE RUN:
The Patriots’ defense has been anemic against the run the past three weeks: last week the Steelers gained 158 yards on 25 carries, the Dolphins gashed the Patriots for 189 yards on just 21 carries, and the Vikings started the carnage with 95 yards on just 13 carries. While the Patriots played a lot of dime and nickel against the VIkings and Steelers, the Dolphins did their damage against the base defense that is going to be expected to stop the Bills.
Veterans Lesean McCoy and Chris Ivory both missed the Bills’ win over the Lions last week, but back-ups Keith Ford and Marcus Murphy picked-up the slack as Detroit game-planned to stop Josh Allen on the ground. With McCoy and Ivory healthy at last, the pair will be looking to pad to their 2018 stats against a struggling New England rush defense.
It will be interesting to see if Danny Shelton is back on the field. A run-stuffer in college, the top ten draft pick was a disappointment in Cleveland and struggled in New England before being benched the past three weeks. The Patriots need to use that same discipline to set the edge in the passing game in the running game if they hope to clinch the AFC East this week.
The game plan on defense is simple for the Patriots: keep Josh Allen from hurting them with his legs. In addition, the Bills will test the Patriots’ weak rushing defense early and often. If the offense can get them a lead, the Patriots have a chance to make the Bills have to throw the ball.
-Hal Bent is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @halbent01
Ep 150: Author, Historian Michael MacCambridge Joins The Showby Full Press Coverage on March 31, 2023 at 4:13 pm
Author and football historian, Michael MacCambridge joins Clark and Ira to […]
Ep 149: Remembering Bud Grant With Former Vikings RB Chuck Foremanby Full Press Coverage on March 23, 2023 at 10:41 pm
Former Vikings running back Chuck Foreman joins Clark and Ira to discuss […]
Which Teams & Players got the best Contracts in Free Agency thus farby LandryFootball.com on March 31, 2023 at 9:00 pm
The mantra that “the NFL is a business” is no more apparent than […]
These Free Agent Signings could be BOOM or BUSTby LandryFootball.com on March 31, 2023 at 11:40 am
Not every NFL free-agent signing is created equal. Some additions are […]
Ep 279: 2023 Rookie QB Classby Full Press Coverage on March 30, 2023 at 7:37 pm
Ep 278: The Trade Marchby Full Press Coverage on March 23, 2023 at 8:02 pm
Ep 277: Free Agency March Madnessby Full Press Coverage on March 17, 2023 at 2:39 am
Ep 276: Franchise Tag 2023by Full Press Coverage on March 8, 2023 at 8:28 pm
Episode 3.5: "Free Agent Frenzy" w/ Pete Hailey from NBC Sports Washington and "Big Doug" McCrayby Full Press Coverage on March 15, 2023 at 8:40 pm
George Carmi hosts NBC Sports Washington's Pete Hailey and Doug McCray on […]
Season 3.4: "Winds of Change" with Rick Snider of 106.7 The Fan and "Big Doug" McCrayby Full Press Coverage on March 2, 2023 at 10:33 pm
George Carmi hosts Rick Snider from 106.7 The Fan to discuss the latest […]
Full Press Islanders - Friday, March 31stby Full Press Coverage on March 31, 2023 at 4:35 pm
Previewing the weekends back to back against Tampa and Carolina what needs […]
Full Press Hurricanes - Friday, March 31stby Full Press Coverage on March 31, 2023 at 4:00 pm
Recapping the Carolina Hurricanes lost to the Detroit Red Wings Thursday […]
Full Press Kraken - Friday, March 31stby Full Press Coverage on March 31, 2023 at 4:00 pm
Review Thursday’s win over Anaheim, and look at the playoff standings. […]
Full Press Blackhawks - Friday, March 31stby Full Press Coverage on March 31, 2023 at 2:30 pm
The Blackhawks now have the best odds for Connor Bedard after another […]
Renegades Of Puck Ep 738by Charlie Saunier on March 31, 2023 at 6:11 am
Ep 738 The Renegades Of Puck Recap 2-0 L At Penguins Preview Blues & […]
Full Press Kraken - Thursday, March 30thby Full Press Coverage on March 30, 2023 at 10:49 pm
Preview tonight’s home game against Anaheim, and looking at the playoff […]
3/31 - Bucks/Celtics, Angels Lose, Bruins Clinch President's Trophyby Full Press Coverage on March 31, 2023 at 1:57 pm
Ian and John discuss the Celtics win over the Bucks, Shohei Ohtani's […]
3/30 - MLB Opening Day, Bucks/Celtics, LeBron And The Lakersby Full Press Coverage on March 30, 2023 at 1:46 pm
Ian and John discuss MLB's opening day, the big matchup between the Bucks […]
3/28 - The Latest on Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jacksonby Full Press Coverage on March 28, 2023 at 2:51 pm
Ian and John discuss the latest on Aaron Rodgers break up with the Packers […]
3/27 - Bruins Are A Wagon; Rodgers, Jets Saga Continuesby Full Press Coverage on March 27, 2023 at 2:39 pm
Ian and John discuss the Bruins 57th win of the season and whether or not […]
3/24 - Bruins Approaching Record; OBJ To the New York Jets?by Full Press Coverage on March 25, 2023 at 12:07 am
Ian and John discuss the Boston Bruins dominance and discuss whether or […]
3/22 - World Baseball Classic Was A Classic; Connor McDavid on Hockey Tournamentby Full Press Coverage on March 23, 2023 at 10:29 pm
Ian and John discuss the success of the World Baseball Classic and debate […]
Ep 2: Top 5 Super Bowls Of All Timeby Full Press Coverage on February 7, 2023 at 3:26 pm
Ian Glendon and John Sapochetti give their Top 5 Super Bowls of all time. […]
Ep 1: The Top 10 Quarterbacks Of All Timeby Full Press Coverage on January 12, 2023 at 8:42 pm
On the first episode of 'According To Who?', host Ian Glendon and John […]
Full Press MMA - Friday, March 31stby Full Press Coverage on March 31, 2023 at 11:00 pm
Nuggets at Sunsby Broken Controller Media on March 31, 2023 at 10:30 pm
Kings at Blazersby Broken Controller Media on March 31, 2023 at 9:45 pm
Ep. 232 - Ranking the 2023 Basketball Hall of Fame Classby Full Press Coverage on March 31, 2023 at 9:30 pm
Spurs at Warriorsby Broken Controller Media on March 31, 2023 at 9:00 pm
Lakers at Wolvesby Broken Controller Media on March 31, 2023 at 8:15 pm
Clippers at Grizzliesby Broken Controller Media on March 31, 2023 at 7:30 pm
Pistons at Rocketsby Broken Controller Media on March 31, 2023 at 6:45 pm
Knicks at Cavsby Broken Controller Media on March 31, 2023 at 6:00 pm
Hawks at Netsby Broken Controller Media on March 31, 2023 at 5:45 pm
Boot 2 The Face "Stand And Deliver"by Boot 2 The Face on March 29, 2023 at 11:51 pm
The boys are here doing last minute Stand and Deliver predictions. Talking […]
Boot 2 The Face "The Elite...The The Elite"by Boot 2 The Face on March 26, 2023 at 10:12 pm
Rucker and EJ are back talking a lot of AEW, Power Rankings, Wrestlemania […]
Wrestlemania 39 Previewby Full Press Coverage on March 31, 2023 at 12:00 pm
Jim is back once again joined by Teddy as they preview Wrestlemania 39 and […]
Storylines Makes Wrestling: Elite vs BCC and Bloodline vs Cody/Sami and KOby Full Press Coverage on March 23, 2023 at 4:00 am
Jim is back once again for another episode of wrestling talk looking at […]
Leave a Reply