The Patriots are averaging 133 yards per game on 33 carries. Their per carry average isn’t spectacular, but it’s pretty good (3.9 yards per carry) and if you’re getting four yards a play, for thirty three plays, that’s the kind of success that can carry an offense by itself. As scary as Tom Brady is in close and late situations, the Patriots offensive success rests mainly on the shoulders of Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney.
Not what you want to see on Monday
And so the Vikings are going to see Brady hand the ball off to Dillon and Maroney on at least half of the Patriots’ plays. If they can limit them to three yards a carry, like they’ve been able to do so far, they’ll have success. The Vikings secondary can shut down the Patriots’ passing game in third and long situations. They aren’t, however, going to have much success in short yardage situations, especially considering that Brady is accurate, has a good arm and likes to go to his tight end. It’s harder to cover a tight end in ambiguous situations, because the linebackers will have to play the run first, giving Watson an all important step or two on the coverage. And Watson has shown he knows how to exploit that advantage.
I’m probably preaching to the choir here (how’s that for a cliché?) but I don’t think I can emphasize enough how crucial it will be to stop the Patriots’ rushing game, nor how hard it's going to be. Dillon and Maroney are both number one backs, and they are comfortable sharing carries. If they wear down the Vikings’ defense, it’s going to open things up for Brady and the game is going to get ugly. If Big Pat and crew can stop them like they did