Pat's Notebook: Answering Questions
Last week wasn’t what anybody expected. After being declared the heavy favorites, the Patriots lost to the Kansas City Chiefs last week. All 19-0, perfect season talk is now dead. They won’t win every game, but they’ll put the loss behind them and look ahead to the upcoming game in New Orleans against the Saints.
Led by Drew Brees, the Saints always put out a strong offense. They lost Brandin Cooks, but added Adrian Peterson in their attempts to compete with the reigning NFC champion Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South. New Orleans lost their season opener to the Minnesota Vikings last week, and will also be looking to turn their young season around in week two.
With a full ten days off between games, New England has had/will have plenty of time to prepare for Sunday. But what needs the most concentration?
Here are some questions for the upcoming game:
How will Rob Gronkowski play?
During the first game, he looked slow. It's no secret that Gronk has had trouble staying on the field in the past, and it looked as if either the age or all of those injuries had finally caught up to him. I'm not going to hold the dropped ball in the end zone against him, it would have been an outstanding catch, however his statistics weren't at the level you'd expect from a player of his caliber. The Chiefs are better defensively than the Saints. I do expect, Rob Gronkowski to surpass his two catches and thirty-three yards from a week ago, but do not expect him to have the game of the century.
How will the defense play?
When a team allows over 40 points and over 500 yards, can you really pin that on one guy? The defense looked awful. Entering the season, I was a huge fan of the defensive unit. I believed the cornerback tandem would prove to be too much for the Chiefs, limiting the receivers, causing increased pressure on the quarterback. I couldn't have been more wrong. To top that off, Dont’a Hightower hasn't practiced as of writing this, raising another red flag. I think the secondary will be fixed with all of the time off, but Coby Fleener will be able to expose the middle of the field if Kyle Van Noy takes over in Hightower’s potential absence. We are talking about a future hall of fame quarterback in Drew Brees leading the Saints. I think they'll be better, but will have trouble completely shutting the Saints down.
3. What's the offensive game plan if Danny Amendola doesn't pass the concussion protocol?
For the most part in his Patriot career, Danny Amendola has been a disappointment. With Julian Edelman going down, Amendola needed to step up. And he did, having one hundred receiving yards in the season opener before leaving the game early with a head injury. Cooks and Gronk will still be on the field as options for Brady, and Chris Hogan has the ability to step up if called upon. Bill Belichick doesn't make moves without purpose, and now that he's had more time to learn the playbook, we could see Phillip Dorsett make a major impact on the playing field. As with replacing Edelman, the Patriots have a next man up mentality that will not leave them short handed in the absence of Amendola.
Prediction: Patriots 30- Saints 20
Tyler's record so far: 0-1
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