Sunday, November 6, 2011

Teams are catching on to the Anti-Patriots O forumla

Power Rankings, Week 9 Picks

This week's matchup between the Giants and Patriots revisits that infamous (to Pats fans) Superbowl back in the 2007 season. However, its also fitting this game falls the week after the Patriots offense was just dismantled by the Steelers defense. The Giants laid the groundwork of how to beat the Patriots offense, the key being to create pressure with just four rushers. It's possible that this strategy against the Patriots goes back even further, but that Super Bowl was the first and most famous example.

The Jets picked up on this under Rex Ryan and have had a great amount of success against Tom Brady, other than two losses by big deficits at Gilette Stadium, the Jets have kept every game close and been able to disrupt the precise timing of the New England offense, winning half of the matchups between the two teams including a road playoff victory last year.

The Jets weren't the only ones though, and perhaps the smartest of all of the teams was the Green Bay Packers. Without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers almost beat the Pats in Week 15 of last season. The Patriots still put up 30 points, but seven of those came from a Kyle Arrington INT return for a touchdown and seven more were set up by a famously long kickoff return by offensive lineman, Dan Connoly. As I've mentioned many times, the Patriots offense is built on precise timing, each receiver must be in a certain place at a certain time. The Packers played press man and beat up the Pats' tiny receivers, rerouting them and forcing Brady to hold the ball longer, thus allowing their minimal amount of rushers to pressure the QB, sacking Brady three times.

After the Jets beat the Patriots in the playoffs, they credited that Packers gameplan as the reason for their success. Last week, the Steelers also caught onto that strategy. However, the whole thing may have started in that Super Bowl with these Giants.

It's not so easy to put into action though, you must have the right personnel. With all of the injuries on the Giants right now, I'm not sure they can pull this off. The Patriots are a smart team as well, they know they need to come out with a more balanced attack. The antidote to this anti-Patriots formula is to make the defense pay for playing that way -- that's with Benjarvus Green-Ellis and the run game. That's how the Patriots were able to beat the Jets earlier this year, and it's what they'll have to do consistently on offense going forward.

Power Rankings
1. Green Bay Packers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. New York Giants
6. New York Jets
7. New England Patriots
8. Philadelphia Eagles
9. Dallas Cowboys
10. Houston Texans
11. Atlanta Falcons
12. San Francisco 49ers
13. Cincinnati Bengals
14. San Diego Chargers
15. Chicago Bears
16. Detroit Lions
17. Buffalo Bills
18. Kansas City Chiefs
19. Oakland Raiders
20. Carolina Panthers
21. Tennessee Titans
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
23. Minnesota Vikings
24. Washington Redskins
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
26. Seattle Seahawks
27. St. Louis Rams
28. Cleveland Browns
29. Miami Dolphins
30. Indianapolis Colts
31. Denver Broncos
32. Arizona Cardinals

Week 9 Picks (last week 7-6)
Kansas City over Miami
Dallas over Seattle
New Orleans over Tampa Bay
San Francisco over Washington
New York Jets over Buffalo
Houston over Cleveland
Atlanta over Indianapolis
Tennessee over Cincinnatti
Oakland over Denver
New England over New York Giants
Green Bay over San Diego
St. Louis over Arizona
Pittsburgh over Baltimore
Philadelphia over Chicago

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