Thursday, December 12, 2013
Here's a couple of things for you to think about while waiting for Sunday and the Pats game against the unbeaten New Orleans Saints:
1. Rob Gronkowski is still listed as QUESTIONABLE for the game and we really don't know if he will play. The Boston Herald's Jeff Howe has a story Saturday saying he probably won't: ( http://bit.ly/1frpgIC). But we probably won't know until the Inactive list is released.
2. The Patriots have to find a way to contain Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, who already has six touchdowns and is averaging 16 yards on his 36 catches. Expect cornerback Aqib Talib, New England's best pass defender, to cover him some of the time.
3. The Patriots have only lost one October game at Gillette Stadium since 2003, that being a 41-17 thumping to San Diego on Oct. 2, 2005. What does that mean? Likely nothing, but it's worth mentioning.
4. If the Patriots can get their running game untracked, they'll keep this one close. The Saints give up an average 5.4 yards per rush. If the Pats can do that, this might be one worth remembering. Tom Brady was asked, by me actually, if controlling the clock was going to be important against the Saints high-powered offense. New England always tried to do this against Peyton Manning and the Colts.
His response? "I think we'll try to put together any drive at this point to score points. Long, short, it doesn't matter. We've got to score touchdowns. This defense really forces you into some long drives. I don't think they've given up many big plays this year. They have played from the lead a bunch, which is why they probably have a lot of sacks, interceptions and have been ahead in a lot of those games. We've got to try and score quick;ly, methodically, whatever it takes because they have a really good offense, they have a good team, they play well on special teams. We are going to have to play a very well-rounded game.''
That's all for now. We'll talk Sunday.
Mike Lowe has covered the New England Patriots since 1999 for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and has had a nice view of their emergence as one of the NFL’s premier franchises.
He’s been at the paper since 1982 and has covered everything from a Little League World Series to the Summer Olympics. He is married to Tracie and they have three children and two grandchildren.
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeLowePPH.