It’s Wild Card Week! In preparation for this week’s game, we reached out once again to Bruce Allen over at Patriots Daily.
Welker is the big news item this week. Give us your take on the impact to the team’s strategy. And is there any fallout directed at Belichick for playing Welker and other starters in what was a meaningless game?
Second part first…no, there hasn’t been any fallout on Belichick for playing Welker, but there was a lot of whining in the Boston media because they couldn’t understand why he alternated Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer during the game. As for what to do now that Welker is on IR…they need to turn back the clock and go to the pre-2007 offense. Randy Moss is going to see double-coverage all game long, so they need to get other guys involved. It used to be that Brady might throw to 6 or 7 different guys in the course of a game, with Moss and Welker, he’s really gotten away from that. I think you’ll see more spreading out of the passing game, and an increased focus on the running game, especially now that Fred Taylor is back.
Local news is reporting that Brady is beat up himself, but Brady is saying that he feel’s good.What do you think? And can Brady take a few hard shots this week?
Brady was clearly injured and feeling the effects of those injuries (ribs, finger, etc) 3-4 games ago. He’s looked much better in the last two, so I think he definitely feels better as well. He’ll be able to take a couple of shots, but hopefully he won’t need to. The offensive line has done a pretty good job keeping him upright this season, hopefully they can keep it going this week.
Last time these 2 teams played, the Ravens were very pass happy. Coming into this game, they have been more intent on establishing the run. Does that play into the Pats hands?
It depends on whether Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren are back in the lineup. I expect them to be, but you never know for sure. If those two are back full-time this week, I think their chances of slowing down the rushing attack of the Ravens. If rookies Ron Brace and Myron Pryor are manning the middle, then it could be a long afternoon for the Patriots. Their pass defense has improved the last few weeks since veterans Shawn Springs and James Sanders would reinserted into the starting lineup.
Other then the Welker deal, what storyline has you most concerned about this game?
The Patriots defense’s inability to make the big play when needed. For the most part, all season long they haven’t been able to slam the door on an opponent and take the game in the end. That’s kind of important if they hope to win in the postseason. But they haven’t been able to do it all season long, so why should it start now?
Do you have any reason to believe that the winner of this game can go to either Indy or Sand Diego and win in the divisional round?
Absolutely. I think either team is more than capable of advancing through the next round. San Diego has been a juggernaut, but they’re still coached by Norv Turner. Indy looked vulnerable at the end of the season, they’re going to be rusty after having almost a month off, and who knows what the mindset of that team is right now with the controversial decision by Polian. I could see Baltimore or even the Jets going into Indy and knocking them off.