Found January 11, 2013 on
Boston Sports Then & Now:
Gronkowski & Hernandez need to have big games on Sunday
Three more days. Three more days until we get a taste of what the 2012 New England Patriots will accomplish in the 2013 postseason. While the first-round bye has provided the Pats some much needed rest, it’s time to get back on the field and crush some skulls at 4:30 on CBS. Belichick was quoted Wednesday stating; “You don’t win a war by digging a foxhole and sitting in it. You need to attack.”
With Brady at the helm and a healthy Gronkowski on deck, the Texans are poised for a long night. If Tom takes home the bacon, he will become the NFL’s all-time quarterback leader for playoff victories with 17. Endurance and consistency on Sunday will play an integral role in deciding the victor in this Divisional Round matchup. The Patriots jumped out to an early 21-0 lead at half time in Week 14, but powered through the third and fourth quarters to drop a total of 42 points on Houston.
The majority of analysts in the media give the nod to Matt Schaub as the deciding factor for Houston and they couldn’t be more accurate. There is no doubt Brady and Schaub are in different classes of quarterbacking, however; the Texan QB has a better running back in Arian Foster. If the galloping beast finds early success, play-action could be deadly for the Patriots. There are a myriad of variables that come into play when analyzing a matchup. Take a look at these three keys to victory for the Patriots to move on to the AFC Championship:
1) Protect Tom Brady: New England held J.J. Watt and the Houston defense to just one sack in Week 14. In fact, it came in the third quarter when the Patriots were up 28-7. The offensive line started the season with injuries galore and some glaring holes to patch up. In Week 2, the Cardinals sacked Tom four times in the upset loss at home. Baltimore knocked down Brady eight times in Week 3, two of which were sacks. The offensive line began to come together slowly but surely and only gave up one sack in the Seahawk loss. Week 15 was a rough one against the 49ers, TB12 was sacked three times over the course of the epic comeback attempt.
Case and point, Brady has been sacked in every loss this season. If these statistics aren’t telling, I’m not sure what else is. One positive is the health of Logan Mankins. After discovering he played in last year’s playoffs with a torn ACL, the Patriots have the Pro Bowl mauler back to full health this January. While Brady may be the best pocket passer in the game, his mobility is limited. New England will find success through the air if Brady can stand tall between the hash marks.
2) Protect the Football: Aside from the 31-30 loss in Baltimore, the Patriots have also committed a turnover in every game in which they have been defeated. Brady threw two uncharacteristic interceptions in both the Seahawk and 49er losses, ouch. He has 8 on the year, down from 12 last year but up from 4 two years ago. Ridley has fumbled the rock 4 times in 2012, losing 2 of them to the opposition. Taking care of the pigskin is a must on Sunday.
Although the Patriots lead the league in turnover differential with an astonishing +25, this area of the game is crucial. In my preview yesterday, the Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead fumbles are analyzed critically. The latter occurred when the game was out of hand; however, Ridley fumbled on the Patriots’ opening drive and it should have been a turnover if it weren’t for a muffed recovery. The thing about having a seasoned veteran like Brady quarterbacking the squad is this, he isn’t afraid to take a sack in order to sacrifice a bad throw. Eliminating turnovers and forcing the Texans into a few will prove to be the deciding factor on Sunday.
3) Protect this House: A collapse against the Texans would put Brady and Belichick at a measly 7-7 in the playoffs since the 2007 18-1 season. It won’t happen on Sunday. The Patriots are too powerful offensively with our versatile tight ends and the best slot receiver in the game. That combination has been deadly all season but keep in mind that Gronkowski and Hernandez have only been on the field together for less than half of it.
Mirroring Week 14 is ideal and that starts with getting out to an early lead. Assuming the Patriots defer, the defense will get the first crack at setting the tone on Sunday. The blizting schemes Belichick has drawn up have been somewhat effective in 2012, 37 sacks on the season is good for 8th in the AFC and 15th in the NFL. The Patriots had 40 last year; however, New England lost Andre Carter and Mark Anderson. In my opinion, it’s all about how this game starts. The game is 60 minutes but the first 15 could make or break the Texans.
The Patriots are poised to make a run in the playoffs this year once again, this time at full health. I predict a 31-21 victory for New England on Sunday.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Denver, New England and Green Bay each have a future Hall of Fame Quarterback on their roster. This weekend is going to have some great QB play.
The Wildcard round brought us some pretty bad games. The marque quarterbacks were on a bye so this week should be a lot better.
Here are the quarterbacks and how they stack-up
1) Manning - Peyton Manning is the MVP...
The Texans were embarrassed by the Patriots on MNF, will the same this happen this weekend?
The Wildcard games disappointed for one reason, quarterback play. That will not be a problem this weekend. The marquee quarterbacks are off their bye weeks and are ready to lead their teams onto the field.
Here is a look at the games and my selection of the winners.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Tom Brady tops the Fantasy PPR 2013 NFL Divisional Playoff Quarterback Rankings.
For those of you who are hardcore fantasy football players, the season is not yet over, in fact it is far from over as we enter the Divisional Round of the 2013 NFL Playoffs. Things really heat up this week in the fantasy football playoff challenges as week reach the second week of the playoffs and...
Each week The Kommish will look at the various matchups across the league and come up with a recommendation for “Start of the Week”. Since The Kommish is a fantasy genius (not really) you should take this as the surest thing possible in a given week. I don’t think “surest” is a word, but this Start of the [...]The post Divisional Round Start of the Week – Tom Brady...
Hot News for QB Tom Brady
Two years ago, this was the scene in Foxboro after a Patriots playoff loss at home
The New England Patriots seem to be in the driver seat entering their first game of the 2013 NFL playoffs. Just over a month ago, the New England Patriots played a regular season game against their opponent, the Houston Texans and won the game 42-14. In that game, the Texans were exposed against the...
Here are the fantasy football quarterback rankings for the divisional round of the 2013 NFL playoffs.
1. Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
Andy Dalton was kept in check against the Texans in wildcard weekend, but Brady is a different animal. Though Tom Brady and company won’t be as deadly as the 42-14 blowout in Week 14 where Tom Terrific tossed four touchdowns with 296 yards...
Expect Houston Texan's defensive coordinator Wade Phillips to get creative with blitzes against Tom Brady on Sunday. Phillips is known for being an aggressive defensive mind who likes to get pressure on the opposition's quarterback. Logan Mankins knows more than anyone that the offensive line needs to stay sharp in order to protect Brady.“He’s an aggressive coach, he...
If we’ve learned anything about Richard Sherman this year, it’s that he likes to run his mouth a lot. Whether he’s chirping at Tom Brady or Calvin Johnson, he’s always talking. This was even more evident when he was mic’d up for their playoff game against the Redskins. I wonder what it was that set Redskins LT Trent Williams off, because it’s not like Sherman said...
And away we go! The weekend we all have waited for has finally arrived and now it’s time to put all the cards on the table as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, not only go ‘all in’ but also raise the stakes in the upcoming losers walk playoff battle with the Matt Schaub led Houston Texans.
With the upcoming Texans-Patriots game, people have wondered whether the Patriots...
With a win today, Tom Brady passes Joe Montana for most playoff wins by a quarterback
Houston Texans at New England Patriots
How things can change after one game. The Ravens double over time win against Peyton Manning and the Broncos makes the winner of this game the top seed in the AFC. Either way the AFC championship should be a solid game, even though it will not have the...
Can you win the Super Bowl without a top 6 or 7 quarterback? It’s a debate that’s been transpiring on local sports radio for about a year now. The question has played out to perfection in the Divisional Round of the playoffs this year. With the rule changes in the NFL catering to offenses I was inclined to take the better QB in every game. Having the franchise QB means...
Divisional Round of the AFC Playoffs. The Houston Texans head back to Foxboro, MA for the second meeting versus the New England Patriots in 5 weeks after the initial 2012 meeting in week 14. What have the Texans learned, what new wrinkles will we see from Belichick, Brady and crew, and who will show up who may not have been so influential in the game’s outcome in December.