When turning on the 2019 Patriots offense and trying to find the best way to beat them, the game plan in 2019 looks a lot different than it would have in past seasons.
While the Patriots do have one of the best records in the NFL, a lot of the credit should go to the New England defense for their ability to take the football away and put up points on the score board. Through week 11, the Patriots have the 16th ranked offense in yards per game, the 24th ranked offense in yards per play, but are third in the NFL in points per game (thanks to that defense for boosting that number). When looking at the raw offensive numbers, the Patriots offense looks to be average, if not a little below average. The Patriots passing offense ranks eighth in the NFL in passing yards per game (268.9), but the Patriots rushing offense, which ranks 24th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (91.0), has really struggled to get going so far this season.
Where the Patriots are very good is using their running backs in the screen game and check down game. James White is ranked fourth in the NFL in receptions for running backs with 48, and is the second leading receiver on the Patriots. So what is the key to slowing down the Patriots offense? Putting pressure on Tom Brady is at the top of the list, but doing so without sending extra defenders is going to be key.
The Cowboys have struggled to stop the screen game so far in 2019 and they’ll face a team on Sunday who will throw the screen to James White, Rex Burkhead, and Sony Michel a ton. The combination of James White and Rex Burkhead will do more damage in the receiving game than Sony Michel, but they don’t mind getting him the football either through the air. When attempting to get pressure on Tom Brady, the Cowboys must not get too aggressive sending blitzers; that’ll be feeding right into the Patriots game plan. While blitzing Tom Brady might not be the best idea, putting pressure on Brady is and it’s something the so called “Hot Boyz” must do.
Heading into last weeks matchup against the Eagles, Tom Brady ranked 28th in yards per attempt (4.0), 27th in passer rating (47.9), a 4:3 TD:INT ratio, and is only completing 34% of his passes when under pressure. Putting pressure on Tom Brady is absolutely the key, but it can’t come at the cost of allowing New England offense to gash the Cowboys defense with the screen game.