The Patriots are on a 2-game hot streak and are looking as good as they have all season. I don’t expect any difference in their play this Thanksgiving Thursday as they face the Detroit Lions. The last time the Patriots had an “easy” matchup, they were blown away 3 weeks ago by the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are a good team and I do give them credit for the upset, but the Patriots should have beaten them and are a much better team. Much like the Browns, the Lions are talented, but they do not compare to the Patriots. With the Patriots playing hot, I do not expect a relapse of the Browns game. I actually am expecting the Patriots to blow out a team for once.
The Lions are surprisingly ranked 13th in the league in pass defense, yet are ranked 26th for their rush defense. With this in mind, the Patriots should have a similar game plan against these Lions. Run the ball and take advantage of this favorable matchup. Both Green-Ellis and Woodhead are running the ball well, and they counter each other’s running styles very well. I want to see 25-30 rushes again this week from them and I expect them to put up some good yards. Brady needs to keep doing what he has been the last 2 weeks and utilize his weapons. THROW THE BALL TO WELKER as much as he can because he is his best offensive option. His rookie TEs are playing great and so are the other WRs. Brady is great at spreading the ball around and I don’t expect any different this Thursday. Along with Brady spreading the ball out, continue to open the play book and run some different plays to keep the defense guessing. The offense has looked great the last 2 weeks and I thought they would be a wreck after losing Moss, but they have really played well together and have definitely made up for his absence.
The defense has been playing just as well as the offense if not better. This is a very young defensive squad as I have mentioned before and it usually takes at least a year or two to start working and playing in rhythm. However, this Pats defense has learned to play with one another throughout the year. They deserve a ton of credit and should definitely be looked at as a top defense in this league. As for this week’s matchup, if they want to blow out the Lions, they need to throw some mixed packages at them. The Lions ground game is 31st in the league which is just awful, plus it looks like running backs Kevin Smith and Jahvid Best will be OUT this week. That makes this aspect of the game that much worse. So, the Patriots defense should not fear the run at all. Focus on the pass game. Double-team Calvin Johnson and blitz Shaun Hill every opportunity you get. He is not known for his quick decisions and if he is forced to make some passes, I guarantee he will throw a few picks. Also, try and confuse Hill as much as possible. Lineup some different defensive coverages and shift after the snap. Make him think his WRs will be open when they actually will not. Since the defense does not have to worry much about the running game, they should be able to use these other strategies to confuse the passing offense.
I do not see the Patriots overlooking this one and I do expect a blowout. The Lions have been awful on Thanksgiving Day recently and I expect much of the same this year. I see the Patriots winning this one 38-10.
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Written by David Reid