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Three Patriots Matchups That Will Decide The Winner In Week Nine

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

Expectations are an exciting thing. They give people hope. Unfortunately, it can be crushed easier than it was provided. The Patriots are too familiar with this feeling. The Patriots’ offense had high hopes heading into this season. After eight games, their production disappoints fans. The fabricated QB controversy did not help the matter. That was then; this is now.

New England’s Football team looks to steer the ship back on track as Indianapolis knocks on their door. Frank Reich benched Matt Ryan, slotting Sam Elingher into the starting role. Jonathan Taylor gained over 100 yards on the ground once this season. Watching these two teams punt the ball back and forth for an hour will be a blast.

Both teams have defensive weapons that give their offensive counterpart a challenge. Both offenses are so questionable that it may come down to a single defensive stop or forced turnover. There are a few guys that pop into my mind. Here are the three key matchups to keep an eye on this week.

The Defensive Lines vs. The Offensive Lines

My co-host on the Gillette Gazette Podcast, Soor Vora, says that “games are won in the trenches all the time.” Both teams have exceptional defensive lines. However, it is their offensive lines that cost them points. They cannot protect their gunslingers, leading to sacks or, even worse, turnovers.

Last week, Belichick benched Cole Strange for his abysmal performance against the Jets, and Strange was just the tip of an iceberg of Patriots’ offensive line woes. The Jets sacked Mac Jones six times! That is embarrassing. The Colts share their struggles. Quenton Nelson and Ryan Kelly anchor the line but have been off their game this season. The Commanders’ pass rush bullied them last week. See for yourself!

This is just pathetic from Quenton Nelson and Ryan Kelly. — Indy Source (@SourceIndiana) November 1, 2022

Matthew Judon, Deatrich Wise, and Devon Godchaux will feast against this pathetic protection plan. The Patriots’ defense has been dominant against the league’s top rushers. They held Nick Chubb, J.K Dobbins, and Aaron Jones to under a hundred yards. It is not looking good for the Colts, even if JT finds himself on the field.

Battle of the Former Patriots Teammates: Stephon Gilmore vs. Jakobi Meyers.

It’s not a secret that Jakobi Meyers is the most reliable receiver on the Patriots’ roster. Coming off his second game of the season with nine receptions, Meyers has taken the reigns as Mac’s primary target. His route running gets him open, but his hands make the play. This week, he is competing against his former teammate, Stephon Gilmore. 

Gilmore needs redemption after allowing Terry McLaurin to set up the eventual game-winning touchdown against him last week. He has yet to exceed his expectations, not finishing a game with over five tackles. Also, he has only four pass defenses this season. It’s going to be fun watching him line up against some of his old teammates. It’s cooking time, but for which side?

Jack Jones vs. Michael Pittman

Jack Jones proves Belichick knows when a cornerback has reached their expiration date. Fans wanted to see him resign J.C Jackson, but hindsight is 20/20. In the first half of the season, he established himself as one of the top rookies in the league. Just ask PFF.

We're now eight weeks into the season and #Patriots rookie Jack Jones still is the highest-graded corner by @PFF — Dakota Randall (@DakRandallNESN) October 31, 2022

Michael Pittman is the entire receiving core. He leads the team in targets (70), receptions (51), and receiving yards (528). The following ranked receiver, Parris Campbell, has yet to reach 280 yards receiving. His biggest weakness has been finding the endzone. He has only one touchdown in eight games.

Jack Jones has not allowed a touchdown this season and has overall been fantastic for the Patriots. The streak will not come to an end this week. The stadium might be doing the John Wall dance with him. I’m optimistic. 

Both teams need a win on Sunday. The Patriots need a win to get back on track for a playoff birth. The Colts need the win to keep Frank Reich and others off the hot seat. After that, all they can do is hope for the best.

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