Welcome back to The Morpheus report for week three of the NFL season. I am starting off by taking a look at some of last week's games.
This contest was hyped up all of last week. Unfortunately for the San Diego Chargers the game was not as advertised. Instead of a closely played game, the New England Patriots dominated from the start and never looked back as they coasted to an easy 38-14 victory.
Tom Brady and Randy Moss continued to look as if they had been playing together for years as Brady tossed two touchdown passes to Moss. For the season Randy Moss has caught 3 touchdown passes. Last season Moss caught 3 touchdown passes for the entire year. Wes Welker continued his good play by catching 8 passes for 91 yards for an average of 11.4 yards per catch. As much as the New England Patriots needed Moss to be a big play deep threat receiver, they needed Welker as well. The Patriots offense is predicated on having a smaller quick slot receiver, the same spot where Deon Branch use to play and Troy Brown before him. Last year the Patriots were missing that part of the offense, and it showed.
The defense for the New England Patriots is not taking a back seat to the New England offense. The Patriots defense has been great and last week this was evident as they held last years MVP and NFL leading rusher LaDainian Tomlinson to only 43 rushing yards on 18 carries. New England has the number one ranked rushing defense in the National Football League having only allowed 112 rushing yards all season. That's a 2.9 yards per carry average with teams rushing the ball 19.5 times a game.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New Orleans Saints 31 to 14. The Saints (0-2) were embarrassed for the second consecutive week and have been outscored 72-24 after having one of the NFL's most explosive offenses and reaching the NFC championship game last season. New Orleans did not score their first offensive touchdown of the season until late in the third quarter. The Saints, one of the NFC favorites this year, stand at 0-2 with a struggling offense and a defense that looks to be the Achilles heel most people thought it would be by surrendering at least 31 points each game this season. The Saints rank 26 in the NFL on total defense this year. With the Saint's not able to stop anyone on defense, their only hope is to find that offensive magic of last year to make their opponent a one dimensional team.
Can the Patriots dominating ways continue?
This week the winless Buffalo Bills march into Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Patriots. At first glance this game appears to be a lopsided match up for the Patriots. The Bills are ranked 21st in the NFL on defense while The Patriots are ranked second in the NFL in offense. Buffalo allowed 177.5 rushing yards a game and allows 267.5 passing yards a game while Buffalo's offense averages 6.5 points a game. Judging by the numbers this game will be a blow out. The game has to be played on the field. One need only to look back last week at the Cleveland Browns verses Cincinnati Bengals game to see what on paper was an offensive mismatch in favor of Cincinnati was not how the actual game play out as the Browns scored 51 points for the game.
I'm not saying that Buffalo will be this week's Cleveland. New England has one of the NFL's best defenses while defense is Cincinnati's weak spot. The only way for the Patriots to lose this game is by beating themselves, or by being overconfident. I don't see that happening in either case. This is an AFC East divisional game. The Patriots are the only team in the division with a win and hold a 2 game lead on everyone in the division. Patriots coach Bill Belichick whose one game at a time attitude and his desire to get the best game each and every time the Patriots hit the playing field will not allow that to happen. The Patriots know with the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets playing each other, a win over Buffalo will give them a two game lead on one AFC East team and a three game lead on everyone else. With Rodney Harrison out serving game 3 of his 4 game suspension and Richard Seymour out at least for the first 6 games of the year, every win they can manage without their defensive leaders, is a bonus.
The key to the game for Buffalo is to somehow keep the potent Patriots offense off of the field. The Bills longest pass play of the year is only 20 yards and with teams being unable to run against the Patriots the odds that Buffalo can keep the Patriots offense off the field are not good. Expect to see the Patriots lean on their running game a little more this game to set up the passing game. On defense Buffalo has not had a lot of time to throw the ball this year and with the Patriots solid front 7, this trend will continue. Don't be surprised if the Patriots top the 40-point mark.
My prediction: New England 41 Buffalo 13.
See you all next week.