Needless to say the New England Patriots have had a roller coaster ride this season. From a disappointing performance against the Jaguars in Week 2 to the Josh Gordon dilemma the Patriots season hasn’t been smooth sailing like in years past. The team finished 11-5 along with the second best record in the AFC but hasn’t looked like the same dominant team we’re accustomed to seeing. That changed quickly. When it mattered most Tom Brady and Bill Belichick once again proved their one of the elite in the conference en route to appearing in their eighth straight AFC championship game. They topped that with another impressive performance against the Kansas City Chiefs to advance to their third straight Super Bowl. With all of the obstacles the Patriots faced this season, will winning the Super Bowl this season against the Los Angeles Rams be Brady’s biggest accomplishment yet?
Lack of weapons
The Patriots certainly have talent on the offensive side of the ball but don’t have the personnel that ultimately works with every team. Julian Edelman is still playing dominant playoff football along with James White, but other than those two options, there’s still not as much to work with. Rob Gronkowski is still in the mix, but he hasn’t been playing at a high level this season. The Patriots’ offense silenced critics with their play on Sunday against the Chiefs playing as a more balanced offense but playing against a much tougher Rams defense could create some problems.
Facing an elite defense
Facing one of the toughest defenses Brady has faced to date, it’ll be quite a challenge for the Patriots to move the ball down the field with two talented corners in Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib on the outside. With the creativity of Josh McDaniels, the Patriots can still find some openings in the defense, but it’ll be much tougher. Gronkowski made some big plays down the stretch against the Chiefs, but with a defense that likes to play man-to-man, the Patriots will be forced to win one-one-one matchups against a physical secondary. Luckily for Brady, the offensive line has played outstanding this postseason protecting him, which will prove to be vital in limiting the Rams’ dominant defensive line led by Aaron Donald. Should Brady continue this success we could be looking at another impressive playoff performance in Brady’s ability to make the most out of his lack of weapons.
Relying on the run
In years’ past, we’ve been used to seeing the Patriots pass the ball the majority of the time. That trend seems to have come to an end this year, as the Patriots’ offense has been more reliant on the run than previous years. In this year’s postseason, rookie Sony Michel has carried the ball for 53 times for 242 yards and five touchdowns, which is not characteristic of a typical Patriots offense. With that kind of production, Brady has thrown the ball much less which changes the way the team runs their offense.
With a stout defensive line the Patriots are playing against it will be interesting to see how much success the team will have running the ball. Should Michel and White have struggles getting anything going, Brady will once again need to make adjustments with limited weapons.
This isn’t to say that the Patriots can’t get it done against an elite Rams defense. However, it may be a much tougher situation than Brady’s seen before. But then again it’s hard to bet against one of the greatest quarterbacks and coaches of all time. He’s had success in the past against elite defenses and came out victorious. Against this young Rams team, a sixth Lombardi trophy headed to New England certainly isn’t out of the question.