In The Red Zone – November 13

In the Red Zone

Something Has to Change

I hate beating a dead horse, playing the same tune and writing the same thing seemingly week after week, but something has to change with the defense on this team.

The acquisition of CB Aqib Talib from Tampa Bay is a start and he will help as soon as he is caught up into the system but it’s totally unfair to pin the hopes of turning the entire secondary around on Talib, especially before he even takes the field.

I am projecting him to start Sunday against Indianapolis and that may bit unfair as well.  I am unsure what his football acumen is and how he will fit in the first week or so but he can’t be any worse than what we’ve been seeing can he?

He has a reputation for being a solid corner not as string on technique as he is on natural ability.  But if he can cut down on the big plays and the awful tackling the trade will be a solid one.

The secondary misses S Patrick Chung.  While he has struggled at times this year I think he plays hurt a lot more than he or the team let on.  If Chung returns healthy you have some options with CB/S Devin McCourty.  You can play McCourty on the corner with Talib or use him as a safety.  My preference is McCourty and Talib on the corners with Steve Gregory and Chung at safety with CB Kyle Arrington playing the nickel slot he played fairly well last season.

There are seven games left this season and the Patriots have a two game division lead over Miami who they will play twice in those seven games.  They also have a division game on Thanksgiving night in New York against the Jets.  That leaves this weekends matchup with the Colts, home games against the Texans and 49ers and a road game against the pitiful Jaguars.

Corrections need to be made in these next seven weeks or this team will not survive the playoffs against better teams and quarterbacks.

News and Notes

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had his weekly day after conference call with the media on Monday.  (

QB Tom Brady had his weekly Patriots Monday call in. (WEEI)

Offensive snaps by skill players vs. Buffalo  (ESPN Boston)

Defensive snaps played vs. Bills (ESPN Boston)

Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick on LB Brandon Spikes says “I think he’s a punk, at times.” (ESPN Boston)

Five takeaways from Bills – Patriots (Boston Globe)

Patriots knew it was going to be tough (Boston Globe)

Roster moves:

  • Released LB Jeff Tarpinian.
  • CB Aqib Talib added to roster after finishing his NFL suspension.

Since 1999 the Patriots have the best record in the NFL at 153-64.

In the last ten seasons the Patriots are 36-8 in games played November 1 or later.

New England has its first 3-game winning streak of the season.

The Patriots lead the series 64-41-1.

The 64 wins are the most the Patriots have over any opponent.

New England has won 23 of the last 26 meetings.

The Patriots swept the series for the 10th time in last 13 seasons.

The Patriots are 34-19 as the home team in the series; they are 11-0 at The Razor; 17-14 in Foxboro/Sullivan/Schaefer Stadium and 6-5 in the Boston venues.

New England has won 12 consecutive home games against Buffalo.

New England is 56-15 vs. the AFC East since 2001 in the regular season.  In that time span they are 30-6 in division home games.

New England’s NFL record 17 game streak with at least 350 total yards on offense was snapped Sunday when they only got 347 total yards.

Bill Belichick is now 198-107 including playoffs in his career.

Belichick coached teams are 23-4 vs. Buffalo. Belichick was 0-1 against the Bills as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Tom Brady is 19-2 vs. the Bills in his career.  Overall including playoffs he is 146-44.

Brady has 318 TD passes in his career he is now 5th all-time.  Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton is 4th with 342.

Brady has thrown at least 1 TD pass in 41 consecutive games.

The Patriots are 86-16 when Brady throws at least 2 TD passes in a game.

WR Wes Welker now has catches in 110 consecutive games including playoffs, 93 as a Patriot.  The last time Welker did not have a catch in a game was 12/24/05 as a Dolphin.

LB Jerod Mayo now has a team high 115 tackles (68 solo) and LB Brandon Spikes is 2nd with 83 tackles (55 solo).

Spikes forced a fumble and is tied with DE Rob Ninkovich for the team lead with 4 forced fumbles.  DT Vince Wilfork and S Devin McCourty also had forced fumbles on Sunday.

Ninkovich, Wilfork and DE Jermaine Cunningham each had a sack against the Bills.  Ninkovich is now tied for the team lead in sacks with rookie DE Chandler Jones they each have 6.

McCourty also had the lone INT he is now tied with rookie S Tavon Wilson with 3 INTs each.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe made his New England debut on Sunday and was on the field for just 8 plays and was not targeted for a pass.

The Patriots sacked Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 3 times, while Brady was sacked once.

Overall as the road team in the series the Bills are 19-32.

The Bills last won in Foxboro in 1999 when they beat the Patriots, 13-10 in Week 16 behind Doug Flutie and Thurman Thomas.

Buffalo set a team record with 35 first downs on Sunday.

Buffalo head coach Chan Gailey is 1-6 vs. the Patriots in his career, 1-5 with Buffalo and 0-1 with Dallas.

Fitzpatrick is 1-5 vs. the Patriots.

Fitzpatrick had the second 300-yard game of his season on Sunday; both have been against New England.  Against the other opponents the most yardage he has thrown for is 238.

New England is PLUS 16 in turnover differential. The offense has given up 3 INT and 4 fumbles, while the defense has 10 INTs and 13 fumble recoveries. 

The Patriots are 64 for 129 (49.6%) in 3rd down efficiency and 1 for 3 (33.3%) on fourth down attempts.  Opponents are 50 for 112 (44.6%) in 3rd down efficiency and 5 for 11 (45.5%) on 4th down attempts.

New England is 28 of 43 (65.1%) in the red zone while opponents are 15 for 25 (60%) in the red zone in 2012.

In goal to go situations New England is 21 for 29 (72.4%) and opponents are 11 for 14 (78.6%).

Next Week

The Patriots host the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro MA.  Kick off is at 4:25 p.m. on CBS.  The game was flexed from it’s original 1 p.m. time slot.

Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveMichaelsII