Today we will delve into some crucial Wide Receiver and Cornerback matchups that the Patriots will have this year and will need to overcome.
With the new addition of many crucial receivers on the team (Montgomery, Thornton, Parker, etc.), the Patriots receiver room is larger than usual. However, Belichick has made it clear that he intends Devante Parker to be WR one and will be the main target for Mac.
With Parker’s impressive training camp debut and catches, he looks to be a threat to defenses this year and build chemistry with Mac. However, the road will be tough for him and even some other receivers, as they face lockdown corners around the league.
Patriots Vs Indy: Gilmore Vs. Parker
The Colts have made some crucial off-season moves, picking up Matt Ryan and extending some players, but the most interesting was Stephane Gilmore. Gilmore will likely be their primary lockdown cornerback and will assumably be on Parker during the game.
Gilmore has an all-star career as it is, as, in his ten-year career, he has 427 tackles and 27 interceptions. Although he didn’t play much with the Panthers due to injury, he looks to be crucial on a team that needs his defensive leadership.
In their most recent game together in 2020, Parker had the upper hand with eight catches and 137 yards guarded by Gilmore. However, things could be different as both have new coaches and are in a new environment, but it will still be a good matchup.
Dolphins Vs Patriots: Howard Vs. Parker
There’s no question that Miami has one of the most elite defenses in the league, and that’s thanks to their cornerbacks. Xavien Howard was a crucial player for Miami, as he had a phenomenal last two seasons interceptions-wise.
Howard will most likely take the role of guarding his former teammate, Parker, and both have seen each other’s weaknesses. This will also be the first time they officially play against each other, although it has been shown that Howard has locked down Parker in camp during previous seasons.
In Howard’s six seasons, he put up 241 tackles and 27 interceptions and even managed to get 10 in his 2020 season. Xavien Howard is a huge threat, and Parker must be able to win that matchup considering the Patriots’ defense has to worry about Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
Dolphins Vs Patriots Part Two: Jones Vs. Meyers
While Parker is trying to battle Xavien Howard, that must mean other receivers can be open, right? Not exactly. It’s clear that Jakobi Meyers will be WR two and will come up and fill the role when Parker can’t. However, Miami got its weapons.
Byron Jones is another elite cornerback, as in seven seasons, he has 444 tackles and four interceptions. Although his interception numbers aren’t the greatest, he’s still very elite, ensuring very few yards after the catch.
Jakobi Meyers is still very young, and he has a lot to prove against Jones, and we may need him to step up when Parker is on lockdown. Especially since the Patriots play the Dolphins twice this season, they must win at least one of these matchups.
Packers Vs Patriots: Alexander Vs. Parker
Green Bay and the Patriots may be one of the year’s most anticipated games, as it’s an old rivalry due to Brady. However, a crucial matchup maybe with a cornerback many people don’t talk about too often but is still a threat.
Jaire Alexander has played four seasons with Green Bay, with 188 tackles and five interceptions. Unfortunately, he will be trying to lock down Parker in that game, and he is coming off an abysmal season with only 13 tackles, so he’s out for a good revenge season.
Alexander has also been praised for having a great training camp debut, as many have said Green Bay has a solid cornerback trio. However, the Green Bay game is a crucial game to win as the Patriots have a lot of challenging games this season and need their offense to come up to battle Rodgers.
Ravens Vs Patriots: Humphrey Vs. Parker
Although some of the Ravens’ defense is injured, such as Marcus Peters, another corner must step up.
Marlon Humphrey is a solid starting role at the cornerback position, as in five seasons, he has 276 tackles and nine interceptions. It’s worth mentioning that these numbers were put up when he was CB two, which is a crazy stat for defenses.
This game is crucial for both sides, and both Parker and Humphrey have something to prove on the field so this matchup may be a little fired up.
As mentioned before, the Patriots will be going against many good defenses riddled with defensive talent. This is why these receivers must win these matchups since the offense may not be in good shape if they don’t.
The Patriots were ranked in the top ten most challenging schedules in the NFL this year, so the road ahead may not be pretty. However, in Mac’s second year, he must have some targets to rely on and targets that can come up big against cornerback threats—looking forward to seeing the action!
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