The Patriots will face a stiff test in Week 2, as they head to Seattle to take on Russell Wilson and the Seahawks (1-0) on Sunday Night Football. This game will help serve as a barometer of how good the Patriots truly are, as the Seahawks are considered to be one of the best teams in the NFC.
Here are some things to consider entering this Week 2 contest.
1. Can the Pats stop Russ from cooking?
“Let Russ cook” has been a enduring phrase amongst Seahawks’ fans on Twitter who believed that the team had hamstrung their star quarterback by overly relying on their rushing game in certain situations. Pete Carroll appeared to listen last week, as Russell Wilson dissected the Falcons for 4 touchdowns on a day where he completed 31 of 35 passes. The Patriots had some success causing problems for Ryan Fitzpatrick last week, as they forced 3 interceptions, but Wilson will be much more difficult to defend. He remains one of the NFL’s best deep ball throwers, and it’s impossible to understate his ability to extend plays with his legs. Luckily, New England fields one of the NFL’s best secondaries, so it’ll be interesting to see how they match up against a talented receiving corps, that includes Tyler Lockett & DK Metcalf. I’d expect Stephon Gilmore to be matched up one-on-one with Metcalf, with a combination of Jonathan Jones and a safety on Lockett (due to his immense speed).
In addition to Wilson & their receivers, Seattle also has two good running backs in Chris Carson & Carlos Hyde. Due to the Patriots’ inability to stop the run in recent years, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the Seahawks choose to punish them on the ground. Wilson is also a threat as a runner, which may necessitate the usage of a QB spy to monitor him at the line of scrimmage.
All in all, this game will show us how cohesive Bill Belichick’s defense is, as they will have little margin for error against such a talented offense.
2. What will Cam & the offense look like?
Last week’s win against Miami was a masterpiece on the ground, as the Patriots compiled 217 rushing yards, due to a game plan that seemed to be designed to take advantage of the Dolphins’ lack of depth at linebacker. This week might look a bit different, as the Seahawks have the NFL’s top middle linebacker in Bobby Wagner, who forms a formidable duo with fellow linebacker KJ Wright. Seattle also features one of the NFL’s best safeties in Jamal Adams, who is very familiar to the Patriots, due to his years with the New York Jets. I’d expect Josh McDaniels to design a run-first game plan once again, but it remains to be seen if Sony Michel & the other running backs will be successful.
One would think that Cam Newton will need to use his arm more tomorrow, as we can’t expect him to rush the ball 15 times on a weekly basis. Newton did look sharp throwing the ball against Miami, but he’ll definitely need to be better this week, as the Patriots cannot afford to play from behind. The Seahawks primarily play zone coverage, which may open up opportunities for receivers such as Julian Edelman to find holes in certain areas of the zone. New England will still likely have issues getting the ball down the field, but they’ll need their young receiving corps to step up and give Newton a chance. I’m still intrigued by the speedster Damiere Byrd, who led the receivers in snaps last week, and appeared to be open down the field on more than one occasion (which is notable due to the strength of the Dolphins’ secondary). If Newton could connect with his former Carolina teammate over the top, it would help add a new level to the Patriots’ offense.
I think that the Patriots will look different than they did last week, but with this being Cam Newton’s second game under center, it’s quite hard to forecast how Josh McDaniels will decide to attack Seattle.
- Adam Butler (shoulder) – Questionable
- Brandon Copeland (knee) – Questionable
- Julian Edelman (knee) – Questionable
- N’Keal Harry (shoulder) – Questionable
- Dalton Keene (neck) – Questionable
- Matthew Slater (knee) – Questionable
- Josh Uche (ankle) – Out
- Phillip Dorsett (foot) – Questionable
- Cedric Ogbuehi (pectoral) – Doubtful
- Rasheem Green (neck) – Doubtful
1. RIP Jeannette Belichick
Bill Belichick’s mother, Jeannette, passed away this past week at the age of 98. At a press conference on Wednesday, Belichick mentioned that he spent a lot of time watching football with her as a child, and that she was able to speak 7 languages. Hopefully the Patriots canget a win in her memory!
2. Shades of XLIX?
This game is being billed as a rematch of 2015’s legendary Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona, but these teams have changed a great deal over the past six years. Prominent figures from that game such as Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Malcolm Butler, Richard Sherman, & Earl Thomas have all changed teams, with others such as Marshawn Lynch, Kam Chancellor, and Darrelle Revis having retired as well.
Other than their head coaches, here are the players that remain from that eventful game.
- Julian Edelman
- Matthew Slater
- Devin McCourty
- James White
- Russell Wilson
- Bobby Wagner
- KJ Wright
- Luke Willson
- Bruce Irvin
Prediction: Seahawks 24, Patriots 17
Here are my picks for the rest of the NFL’s Week 2 contests.
Last week: 10-5
Giants at Bears: Giants
Rams at Eagles: Rams
Falcons at Cowboys: Cowboys
Panthers at Buccaneers: Buccaneers
49ers at Jets: 49ers
Broncos at Steelers: Steelers
Jaguars at Titans: Titans
Lions at Packers: Packers
Bills at Dolphins: Bills
Vikings at Colts: Vikings
Washington at Cardinals: Cardinals
Ravens at Texans: Ravens
Chiefs at Chargers: Chiefs
Saints at Raiders: Saints