OFFENSIVE LINE- At the moment there are twelve offensive lineman listed on the Patriots' unofficial depth chart. Three of them (Brown, Strange, and Onwenu) are on this week's injury report with various illnesses and ailments. Since the line was so unsettled last year and during the pre-season, I'm just hoping for less pre-snap penalties and unnecessary holding penalties. Additionally, while you can't plan for them, I hope to avoid seeing our lineman injure each other or any of the other offensive players.
TOUCHDOWNS- Scoring offensive touchdowns has not come easy the past few seasons. As the field has gotten smaller, we've had a real tough time making any sort of positive plays. Last season we were last in the NFL with red zone touchdowns (success rate of 42.22%). With the additions of Zeke, Juju, and Gesicki, and having Bill O'Brien calling the shots, I know we will be better. Since we were in the top ten during the 2021 season without many notable players, I think we will be walking away with 7 points instead of 3 more often than not.
QUARTERBACK PLAY- As mentioned previously, I have a gut feeling that today's game will be finished up by Bailey Zappe. One of the things I find that Mac is not good at is feeling the pocket break down. While I feel like that is more of an instinctual characteristic, it could be from lack of experience while in college. When in Alabama Mac played from a clean pocket with wide open wide receivers. That is not what he's been getting in his first two NFL seasons. Hopefully, it can be learned and Mac has it figured out this year. So, while I think Mac will look pretty good in today's game, I have an odd feeling that he is going to get hurt with significant time left in the game.
DEFENSE- They just need to stay healthy and not get caught trying to be a hero or chasing individual accolades. If they stay confident and don't get too cocky they will be the reason the team returns to the playoffs. A point of emphasis I think they should have is forcing receivers out of bound on sideline catches. Way too often they get caught trying to play the ball and end up giving up a first down as their opponent does an amazing tightrope act or toe tap to keep the drive alive.
HALFTIME- What does Robert Kraft have up his sleeve? Are they going to retire his number? Does Gillette Stadium become The House that Tom Built"? Does the field get named after him. Is there a statue of Brady in the new light house? I'm rooting for Tom flying from the top of the light house to the 50 yard line with Bon Jovi blaring.
PREDICTIONS- The Patriots win the game. Mac throws for under 200 yards (Draft Kings jinx). The Patriots win the turnover battle 3-1. There is one horrible call that can't get overturned either because it's one of those "can't be reviewed" plays or they don't have the camera angle needed.