Super Bowl 52 was the most prolific offensive game in NFL history with 1,151 total yards and countless records broken. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels were spectacular; both designed creative schemes and were able to repeatedly create favorable matchups for their respective offenses. Let’s take a look at how the offenses were able to score at will:
The Eagles used running back motion, the wheel route, and the mesh concept repeatedly to take advantage of the Patriots decision to predominantly play man to man coverage. The Patriots were weak against pass catching running backs all year, particularly wheel routes. In the AFC Championship, Jacksonville missed their opportunity multiple times to hit an open running back against a linebacker or peeling defensive end; but the Eagles cashed in.
2nd Quarter, 1:46, 3rd & 3 on Phi 37 (Phi 15 NE 12)
Late in the first half, the Eagles make a huge play using both the mesh concept and the wheel route. Defensively, the Patriots are in Cover 1:
With Tom Brady suspended for the first four games of the season, all eyes are on Jimmy Garoppolo. In the preseason, demonstrating traits of a successful QB is far more important than wins, losses, or statistics. This article analyzes Garoppolo’s second preseason game. My breakdown from the first preseason game on his accuracy, progression, pocket presence, and decision making can be found here.
Garoppolo was once again up and down with accuracy. On a 3rd and 2 on the first drive of the game, Aaron Dobson is open for a first down on a quick out route, but Garoppolo misses behind him.
Like the NFC Championship, the AFC Championship features a regular season rematch, with the Colts visiting the Patriots. The Patriots won the regular season game 42-20, but the Colts now have a different set of key players. New England will have to deal with a whole host of new players and schemes:
WHEN THE COLTS HAVE THE BALL
The Colts are almost a new team on the offensive side of the ball; since the 42-20 loss to New England, Boom Herron (#36) has replaced Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw at Running Back, Donte Moncrief (#10) has emerged as a go to Wide Receiver, Tight End Dwayne Allen (#83) is healthy, and future Hall of Fame WR Reggie Wayne (#87) has become severely hampered with a torn triceps and hobbled groin. Additionally, the Colts have swapped and replaced two new offensive lineman into the mix.
The Colts did an excellent job last week of protecting Andrew Luck against Von Miller and Demarcus Ware, while the Patriots pass rush was abysmal against the Ravens, recording 0 sacks on 45 pass attempts. The Colts do not have a strong running game, so look for them to spread it out in Empty formations and use QB Andrew Luck as a run threat. Continue reading →
Week 13 features a cross-conference matchup between the two hottest teams in the NFL, the Packers v. Patriots. Let’s take a further look at what to expect in this potential Superbowl 49 showdown:
WHEN GREEN BAY HAS THE BALL
In their last two games against some of the NFL’s most prolific passing offenses (Colts & Broncos), the Patriots shut down the opponent’s run game early and forced obvious passing situations with New England in the lead during the 2nd half. (Broncos under 40 yards rushing, Colts under 20 yards rushing). This plays right into Belichick’s hands, as he wants to primarily stay in either Nickel, Dime, Big Nickel (3 S), or Penny (4 CB 1 S) personnel. Expect New England to be in some kind of sub-package (More than 4 DB’s) for most of the game. With that, Green Bay should try to establish some kind of run game in the 1st half to make the Patriots Safeties downhill players. However, Vince Wilfork and recent acquisition Alan Branch have done a good job against the run, and the Packers have had struggles of their own in the run game. While Eddie Lacy was able to seal the game late last week, Minnesota was able to effectively stop the run in the 1st half multiple times with Nickel Personnel (2 LB 5 DB), even when Green Bay played with a Tight End or Fullback (seen below). Overall, the success or failure of the Packers run game will likely be essential for how the Patriots use their defensive personnel.