NEWwbztv-small wbz-am-small 985-small mytv38web2
New England Patriots Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers, 7:30pm
Pregame on WBZ-TV at 7pm & 98.5 The Sports Hub at 4:30pm
What To Watch For | Socci's Notebook | Tune-In Info |

TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 8: New England Patriots At St. Louis Rams (London)

Patriots
Rams
New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
St. Louis Rams v New York Giants
Quarterback
Winner Tom Brady is not playing his best football right now. He seems uncomfortable when the Patriots get in third-down situations, and that has rarely been the case in the past. New England’s fast-paced, no-huddle attack can also lead to quick three-and-outs and the Pats may need to back off that offense. Still, when the game is on the line, it’s hard to beat Brady.
The Rams know that Sam Bradford is going to give them everything he has on an every-week basis. He’s hard working and honest and a fairly accurate passer. However, he’s not able to hold up his end when the Rams are facing a top-level quarterback by trading points. That was the case in Week Seven against Green Bay and is almost certainly the case this week against the Pats.
Offense
Winner The running game continues to pay dividends for the Patriots. Head coach Bill Belichick made a commitment to the run before the start of the season and Stevan Ridley is doing a solid job in that area. Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are both big-play makers, but Wes Welker has not been the mainstay he was in past years.
The Rams are at their best when power running back Steven Jackson is punishing the defense with his aggressive style. Chris Givens and Brandon Gibson are only average receivers, but that should be more than good enough against New England’s soft secondary.
Defense
Pass defense continues to be a rumor in New England. The Patriots allowed Mark Sanchez of the Jets to exceed the 300-yard mark, and that’s not easy to do. Jerrod Mayo and Brandon Spikes are aggressive tacklers from the linebacker positions, but the Patriots’ cornerback play is simply awful.
Winner If the Rams are going to have any chance in this game, they need defensive end Chris Long to have an explosive effort as he rushes Brady. Unless the Rams pressure Brady significantly, they will get carved up by the New England quarterback. Defensive end Robert Quinn (seven sacks) is a fine pass rusher and linebacker James Laurinaitis is solid against the run.
Special Teams
The Patriots made an explosive play on special teams when Devin McCourty returned a first-quarter kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown against the Jets. Stephen Gostkowski tied the game with a field goal in the final seconds and won in overtime with another three-pointer.
Winner Few teams have ever made the moves on special teams that the Rams did this year by turning to two rookies at both the placekicker and punter positions. They have paid off in a big way as PK Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein gives them a scoring threat on any kick of 60 yards or less. Johnny Hekker is an excellent punter averaging 49.0 yards per attempt with 17 punts placed inside the 20.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers St. Louis Rams v New York Giants

The Rams are a feisty team under Jeff Fisher, but they are much better at home.Going overseas to play the Patriots in London is an issue since New England is a veteran team that is used to playing games under the spotlight. The Patriots have too much firepower for the Rams to have a legitimate chance.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: 2013 Red Sox vs. 2014 Red Sox

    How do the 2014 Boston Red Sox stack up against the 2013 World Champs? We take a look in the newest Tape of the Tape!

  2. Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees
    Which Team Is Having A Worse Season: Red Sox Or Yankees?

    The Red Sox are the defending World Series champions, yet they’re sitting comfortably in fourth place in the division. Meanwhile, the Yankees have MLB’s highest payroll yet are still hovering around .500. With the two [...]

  3. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote) (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Warren Little)
    Tale Of The Tape: Winter Olympics In Sochi Vs. FIFA World Cup In Brazil

    With both sites having their share of issues in hosting major international sporting events, we went to the tape to decide who was the worst host of 2014.

See All Tales of the Tape
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,976 other followers