FPC Patriots Player of the Week: Patriots Defense

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MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 15: Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots smiles after returning a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

The player(s) of the week recognition for week two belongs to the Patriots defense for the shutout victory.  New England, as expected, cruised to an easy 43-0 victory over AFC East opponent, Miami Dolphins.  Recognizing the entire defense seemed fitting this week with so many contributors leading to the win.

The Patriots are yet to give up a touchdown this season allowing a total of three points in two games.  Despite several instances of superb individual play, this feat is not possible without consistent play across the board and buying into the “do your job” mentality.  The Patriots only conceded 184 yards of offense, 11 first downs, and 2 of 15 third down conversions on Sunday.  Furthermore, the team was able to produce seven sacks and four interceptions.  Coming off of back to back dominating performances, the defense appears to already be in mid-season form.

While the offense produced plenty of scoring, two defensive touchdowns in the second half contributed to the Patriot’s point total.  The first came early in the 4th quarter immediately following the Dolphins crossing the 50 yard line.  On a 3rd&2 situation, Stephon Gilmore made a perfect read on the play cutting in front of wide receiver DeVante Parker to make an interception and score.  The second came on the very next drive and in a very different fashion.  Running back Kalen Ballage appeared to have a catch, but ended up bobbling and mishandling the football to the benefit of linebacker Jamie Collins.  Collins took advantage of the situation by extending his left arm for the interception and bringing it into his body.  In addition to taking this interception for a touchdown, he added a second pick on the final play Sunday.

Stephon Gilmore & Jamie Collins:

Although both Collins and Gilmore had strong performances on Sunday, the two players enter the 2019 season under entirely different circumstances.  After a career year, Gilmore enters his third season as a Patriot with a solidified role as the number one corner back.  Additionally, Gilmore is highly praised and recognized as one of the best corners in the game.  The value and productivity of Gilmore was specifically advertised this year by his peers on the top 100 players list produced by the NFL Network.  Gilmore ranked as the best corner back on the list at the #22 overall spot.

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Collins begins a second stint with the Patriots after a trade to the Cleveland Browns during the 2016 season.  The timing of the trade came as a surprise to many with Collins coming off of a Pro-Bowl season and appearing to be in his prime.  However, rumors later circulated that Collins was expecting a contract extension similar to the amount of linebacker Von Miller.  As a member of the Browns, Collins had some great individual performances.  Nevertheless, struggles to stay on the field and produce consistently led to his release.  He now enters this season on a one-year deal as he attempts to re-establish himself as a key contributor on an elite defense.

Week 3:

New England will face off with another AFC East opponent this week – the New York Jets.  The match-up will mark the second home game of the season as the Patriots look to improve to 3-0.  Much like last week, the Patriots are favored by more than two scores, with a current spread of 22 points.

While the Patriots being a favorite will not come as a surprise, the expected margin has only increased.  First, sidelined by mononucleosis, franchise quarterback Sam Darnold will not play.  Next, back-up quarterback, Trevor Siemian, experienced a gruesome ankle injury on Monday Night Football.  This combined with the disparity in season expectations and roster talent should result in a Patriots win this weekend.  Regardless, we know the standard that Bill Belichick sets for his team – one that demands week over week improvements.  That will not change this week when Luke Falk makes his first career start for the New York Jets.

A full game breakdown for week 2 can be viewed here.

-Drew Deen (@DrewDeen) provides DFS premium content, co-hosts the Garage Guys Fantasy Sports Podcast, and covers the Patriots for Full Press Coverage.

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