Here are five easy games the Patriots need to win to have a chance to make it into the playoffs.
Out of all of the games the Patriots play, five of them stand out. This is because the AFC has become the far superior conference compared to the NFC. New England doesn’t have the talent of the top teams in the AFC, which makes it even more vital for them to take care of business in the easier games on the schedule.
Both Patriots Vs. Jets Games
Both the games against the Jets should be easy wins for New England. The Jets’ offense, led by Zach Wilson, struggled scoring in the first quarter as they ranked 20th in points. The Jets have a very young inexperienced team. The Patriots have a massive coaching advantage considering Robert Saleh only has a year of coaching experience.
The key to this game will be the Patriots being able to generate pressure on Zach Wilson. The Jets’ offensive line is a work in progress. New Englanders should expect big games from Matt Judon and Christian Barmore. This task becomes even easier considering Mekhi Becton of the Jets will not be playing. If the Patriots can pressure Zach Wilson, there is a good possibility this game can become ugly for the Jets.
New England will have their way with the Jets running the football, which can also be another key. The Jets rank 29th in opponent rushing yards. The Patriots can control the clock for most of this game while constantly pressuring the Jets’ offense with Harris, Stevenson, and Montgomery.
Patriots At Steelers
The Steelers are a balanced team, and while they aren’t a bad team, they are one of the weaker teams the Patriots play. However, the team should be able to take care of this game. Mike Tomlin is a terrific coach, but New England has the advantage. The Steelers have a good defense, and one of the critical factors for a Patriots’ win is the offensive line. T.J. Watt is fresh off a 22.5 sack season, and limiting him is vital. Quick passes where Mac won’t have to hold onto the ball for a long time would be beneficial. Then, New England can turn the game in their favor on defense.
The Steelers have had a horrid offensive line over the last few seasons, and they are ranked 30th going into 2022 by PFF. Therefore, limiting the run game will help New England significantly. Najee Harris had a promising rookie year, but Pittsburgh is still retooling its line, so their running game isn’t as potent as it could be. Making the Steelers have to pass to win the game will force the offense to lean on Trubisky then the defense can send the pressure. Throughout his career, Trubisky has been average at best. By making the Steelers have to pass to win, the team is in an excellent position to win the game.
Patriots Vs. Lions
The Patriots need every win they can get, and they must be able to capitalize and beat the Lions. While the Lions are a good up-and-coming team, they are still one of the weaker teams in the NFL. There are multiple ways the Patriots can win this game, but one of the easiest ways they can do so is by establishing a good run game against the Lions.
The Lions allowed 135.1 rushing yards per game in 2021. This is a significant advantage for New England as they are built on running the football. With a healthy Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, the Patriots should have no trouble establishing the run game and dominating the clock. The Lions offense should be containable on defense, and Jared Goff is an average quarterback. If the Patriots’ cornerbacks can even have an average game, this game should be a win for New England.
Patriots Vs. Bears
The Bears are likely the easiest team the Patriots will be facing. The Bears have a first-time Head Coach in Matt Eberfulus. Justin Fields was underwhelming in his rookie year and now has a horrible offensive line. The key to winning this game is generating pressure on Justin Fields. Fields is a young quarterback, and Bill Belichick always dials up great game plans against young quarterbacks. Patriots pass rushers will need to contain Fields just as much as pressure him. The Bears rank as the 31st best offensive line going into 2022 and this game should be dominated by the Patriots’ edge rushers and defensive tackles.
The Bears’ defense has lost talent in the secondary; New England should have the receivers to score efficiently to outproduce Chicago. I expect Devante Parker to have a big night under the lights on Monday Night Football.
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