NFL Playoffs: Finding Flaws with the Final 12: How to Beat the New England Patriots

Dynasty. It’s a word every sports fan has heard or used before. And to be honest, it is used recklessly. The sports world is always too quick to anoint a team a “dynasty.” But when a team is a perennial favorite to win it all, it becomes safe to use the D-word. Despite the success, the New England Patriots are not invincible. The Patriots were only 12-4 (great, but not quite on par with what everyone has come to expect), and despite a revamped defense, they have allowed plenty of yards. So what will it take to eliminate the team that has frequented AFC title games and Super Bowls in the last 13 years? Pressure and Points.

The New York Giants have seemingly laid the blueprint for defeating the Patriots, defeating them to win two Super Bowls. What the Giants are capable of doing is get pressure on Brady with just a basic pass rush and score points.

There are two ways of approaching the Patriots: try to outscore them or try to slow down the offense. But the somewhat surefire way is to go for broke and implement both philosophies. The Patriots offense scored more points than any other team this season, highlighted by a near comeback win against a top five 49ers defense in week 16. Tom Brady and the offense are too dynamic to be contained very well. They present such a tough matchup for any defense that going with a game plan to stop them is incredibly difficult. So getting into a shootout is sometimes the best method of attacking. Unless teams are able to…. Get pressure on Brady.

           The Patriots have a plethora of offensive weapons, and they like to use all of them. Because there are so many options for Brady, it becomes difficult for teams to throw blitzes at him. If a team gets pressure and hits on Brady with a three or four man pass rush, it allows them to keep their defensive backs in coverage, allowing double teams or a man-zone bracket coverage on guys like Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski. If a team can hit Brady without blitzing while putting points up on the board, they should advance and knock the Patriots out of the playoffs.  

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