The Patriots have a very young defense with much potential. Here are three games where they’ll have to be at their best.
During the off-season, the Patriots saw key losses for their defense, but they also gained some new talent for their defense. In today’s NFL, offenses are incredibly explosive and talented. Therefore, new England will need a good defense to keep the score down against the best offenses in the AFC. Here are three games where New England’s defense will need to be at its best for them to win.
Patriots Vs. Packers
The Packers’ offense will be a great test for New England. While they lost Davante Adams, it’s easier to overlook their offense. Yet, they still have one of the best quarterbacks in the game: Aaron Rodgers. New England struggled a bit against top quarterbacks in the 2021 season, and Aaron Rodgers would stretch the defense to its limits.
While the Packers may not have a number one receiver anymore, they still have good offensive pieces. Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins, and a fantastic running back duo in AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones will be difficult to stop. New England’s defense will need to be at its best against Aaron Rodgers because he can shred a poorly maintained zone and single-handedly win games for the Packers. Rodgers threw 48 touchdowns in 2020 and 37 in 2021, and only nine interceptions in two years. Though he has shortcomings in the playoffs, he was still a back-to-back MVP and arguably the best quarterback in football.
This game is especially a good test for the secondary. The Patriots saw the loss of their star cornerback J.C. Jackson. They replaced him with Jalen Mills and drafted cornerbacks like Jack and Marcus Jones in the draft. So this game is challenging yet manageable and New England gets to see how their secondary can play against an elite quarterback early in the NFL season.
Getting a pass rush would be the key to winning this game. If the Patriots can generate pressure, the Packers’ receivers won’t have much time to run their routes; they will have a tough time getting much separation against the well-coached Patriots’ defense.
Patriots Vs. Raiders
The AFC is loaded with offensive talent, and the Raiders are no exception. With Derek Carr, Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, and Daren Waller, the Raiders have one of the best offenses in the game. Slowing down the Raiders’ explosive offense would be a significant confidence boost for the Patriots.
Similarly to the Packers, this game will likely be the most significant test for the secondary. Davante Adams is the best receiver in the NFL, and the Patriots can see how their best cornerback will match up against him. Being able to slow down the passing game of the Raiders is what can win the Patriots the game. While the Raiders have a good running back in Josh Jacobs, the Raiders are a team that likes to throw the ball. The secondary being able to step up this game can be the difference between a win or a loss.
Jonathan Jones will likely be the Patriots’ best cornerback, and he may be the one who gets matched up with Adams. Davante Adams is coming off 123 receptions for a 1,553-yard year. The Patriots will need a terrific game from their defense to slow him down. If New England can limit Davante Adams, they can restrict any receiver in the NFL.
Patriots Vs. Bills
The Bills will ultimately be the biggest challenge for the Patriots, and the defense especially will need to be at their best. Josh Allen humiliated the Patriots in the Wild Card, and New England needs their revenge. Josh Allen is a top-two quarterback in the league, and while the defense will need to be at their absolute best, New England has to win this game throwing the ball. In addition, the linebackers in 2021 got torched due to lack of speed, and New England has changed their roster to where they are a much better matchup for Allen and the dynamic Bills’ offense.
No matter how good the Patriots’ defense is against the Bills, the Bills will likely be able to generate a decent amount of points. It’s up to New England and Mac Jones to counter them. If the Patriots’ passing offense can have a productive game, that will be the key to a win.
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