Hello Niners Nation. This is Jack'sAxe, a moderator at PatsPulpit, and I suppose I'll get started with an “Ask a thread” here so you guys can get to know our team a little better.
I could talk about the offense, but I'll just leave it at the fact that this will be the BEST offense vs. the BEST defense in the league. Matchup will be intense, and I'll leave it to you guys to ask us about our offense
Instead, I'll focus on the defense here, since many still seem to just look at the yardage stats and assume that the pats defense is horrible. Trust me, it's not.
Last week I told the Texan fans not to underestimate the pats defense. Though I did not expect them to hold the Texan's offense to 7 points (the other TD came off in legit garbage time with backups for both teams in), I was confident enough for them to slow down Arian, and make the Texans earn their yards.
Let me start at the beginning. In the first half of the season, the pats had McCourty and Arrington at CB, and Gregory was in for a couple games, and Chung got injured early as well.
QBs early in the year had nearly a perfect QB rating vs. Arrington. The problems of our pass defense the first half of the year was Arrington, and no competent safeties behind our CBs (you wonder how we gave up a lot of deep passes in the first half of this season? Lol).
The 2nd half of the year the Pats defense has so far been average, and sometimes slightly above average imo, but just slightly, and at times. And here are the reasons why:
Gregory returned healthy. He is not a GREAT safety, but he is rarely out of position. Lats game he displayed awesome tackling too.
Traded for Talib. Talib shadowed Andre one on one for most of the game, and did great. Nearly had a pick too on that play where he got injured.
Moved McCourty to Safety opposite of Gregory. With McCourty at safety, we now have a guy who our CBs can DEPEND on to cover the deep pass. He has really good range, and cover ability. And he can tackle really well.
Start Dennard, and put Arrington at slot where he belongs. Dennard has been playing really well as a rookie. He has been physical, and it's great to have a good #2 CB who sometimes performs like a #1. When Talib went out injured, Dennard took Andre one on one, and it was if Talib was never injured. Arrington is allowed to be more physical in the slot, and it's easy to see how his play has got a lot better with safeties behind him, and he is allowed to cover the short amd middle routes.
With this group, the Pats have a secondary. I can say this with an exhale of relief. Oh, and with these guys, who can cover in man coverage well, we can finally BLITZ more! Which is something we have been hoping for a while now. You saw Mayo on the blitz, and blitzing is something we did not do (for some reason) before we got Talib. Chandler Jones is now healthy, and he has been great for us as a rookie, Wilfork has been so far near-unstoppable as the NT, and Nink is silently being our dependable end.
For us, there is a lot to like about our new defense. Don't look at the numbers, because they are skewed by a different defense at the beginning of the year (also opponents play from behind a lot). They are noticeably more physical, and they are communicating a lot better than at the first half of the year.
Also, they have an insane knack of creating turnovers. We should have grabbed at least one other INT last game too.
But I know what you guys have, and for this defense finally performing at least average, I do not expect to shut you guys out. You guy shave a GREAT RB in Gore (who I am a huge fan of), an excellent OL, a QB who can run the ball as well as throw it, but I will be asking about your Wrs in your own Ask a thread (I know about Crabtree and Manningham a bit).
But I will say again, like I said the other teams: Don't underestimate the defense as if believing that they suck. They really don't. They are looking average now. lol
Here is a sweet stat:
Last 3 yrs QB rating against our defense- first 8 game avg=30th in defense
last 3 years QB rating last 8 games plus playoffs avg #2 in defense the NFL (talking about our defense here).
This will be, yet again, another great test for both of our teams. Regardless what happens, we'll both be playing for a rematch in the superbowl.
Wish the best of luck to you all, and I hope that we can learn more about our teams than perceived. I, and other pat fans, will be looking forward to answering your questions, and having a great sunday game.