Behind Enemy Lines: Part 2

To find out the latest on this week's opponents, the New England Patriots, we checked in with Patriots Insider's Jon Scott. Part 2 focuses on the New England defense and Sunday's game at Gillette Stadium.

Q. We talked in part 1 about Wes Welker; how about Junior Seau? Has he been a factor for the Pats defense and do you think he'll be back next season?

Jon Scott: Interestingly, Belichick talked about Seau in depth this week. The real key for Seau is that his enthusiasm and his amazing physical condition have him playing some of the best football I've seen him play. The guy has lost a step with age, no doubt, but he's playing at such a high level, it's hard to knock him at all.

I've spent a good deal of time watching the Patriots games on tape. When Seau is in there, he's as good as anyone they have on the team. He's extremely quick on catching on to the play call and getting into the right position.

I'm not sure he'll be back. If they win the Super Bowl, I think you may see him want to ride off into the sunset a winner. But there's no doubt the guy can play for at least another season.

Q. The Patriots looked very beatable in the games against Philadelphia and Baltimore; do you buy the notion that maybe the team peaked too early?

Jon Scott: Peaked? No. Have other teams figured out how to do a better job defending them with each game that passes? Yes. The more film you have on the Patriots with more different types of defenders and defensive schemes, the better idea you'll have on how to defend them when you see them. I think Miami has a lot of examples to learn from if they want to. The issue for the Dolphins is, do they have the personnel with the ability to stop what's happening on the field? Even when the Dolphins knew how to cover the play schematically, the Patriots players found ways to win the one-on-one battles. I do not believe it's peaking. I think it's defensive coordinators having more time and examples to game plan for.

Q. Why do you think it seems that the Pats get a vast majority of close calls, one perfect recent example being Jabar Gaffney's non- catch at Baltimore that was ruled a touchdown when he clearly juggled the ball in the end zone before getting both feet down?

Jon Scott: I think you see it like you want to see it. I can certainly see how the Patriots got some questionable calls. But when I watched, and watched, and watched that Gaffney catch again, I was honestly hard-pressed to decide for certain one way or another if it was a non-catch. His fingers never came off the ball, and you can see it from the live action angle, not the slow mo they kept showing with him facing you. The official explanation was that because his fingers never came off the ball it was ruled a catch correctly.

I think a better example of what you're saying was the catch Gaffney made as he was falling out of bounds in the back of the end zone at the end of the first half against Philadelphia. That play should have been reviewed and probably overturned.

The thing with Baltimore's game was that many calls weren't made against the Ravens that could have been. That last drive was certainly fodder for controversy. Check out the Ed Reed interception that turned into a fumble just before the half. Watch that play on tape and tell me Welker isn't hit too early, forcing him to spin, and only get one hand on the pass, tip it, and have it land in Reed's hands on the ricochet. Welker was held, if not interfered with. That didn't go New England's way and was a huge play in the game, but you didn't hear much about it because CBS didn't zoom in on Welker. The Pats were lucky because Kevin Faulk stripped Reed as he tackled him, and Baltimore lost the ball.

Do teams get favorable calls? I believe so. Have the Patriots received more than they've had called against them? You could make a case for that. I don't think it's a vast majority, though.

Q. How difficult do you think it will be for the Pats to get up for the Mighty Mammals?

Jon Scott: LOL. Not sure I think they want to "get up for" the mighty mammals. I do think they want to win. The players have been talking about how important it is to go out and play hard. Belichick had the team practice in pads two days in a row outside. It's unusual. You can tell he's trying to keep the team focused.

How many other teams go through that type of routine –- as if they were winless rookies who had no clue? Probably not many. Certainly not many in the same position as this team (undefeated). I think competitive nature will take over and they'll play hard. I think they'd be too embarrassed to lose to Miami when all the other stuff (records, undefeated season, Don Shula's comments about the asterisk) impacts the game.

Q. Can you see any way possible for this game to be close, let alone for the Dolphins to pull off an upset?

Jon Scott: I think The Dolphins are much better than their record. I think Cam Cameron made some huge rookie head coach mistakes this year, and put the team in a hole. The QB swapping killed the Dolphins. Some of the injuries have really hurt the team. Overall, though, if Miami can win against Baltimore, then on any given Sunday, I think they can beat New England.

When the Patriots are 20-plus-point favorites, I think it really incites the other team. I expect a hard-fought game by the Dolphins, and if they can catch a break or two to keep it close in the first half, then I think they have a good shot to keep it that way throughout the game. I'm not so sure the defense can stop Tom Brady and crew when the game's on the line. So unless Miami is up by two scores in the fourth quarter, I just don't see them winning. I don't think they have the ability to come from behind to win against this Patriots club.

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