The Patriots face off against the Indianapolis Colts in Germany on Sunday morning. The Colts will be a tough match up, despite their 4-5 record. On paper, they are the more talented team especially at the offensive skill positions.
Here are three things the Patriots need to do on offense and three things they need to do on defense in order to win this game.
1. Simplify the passing game: I know I say something similar to this every week but given how inconsistent the Patriots passing game has been this season, they need to keep it simple. Indianapolis will play a lot of Cover 2 and Quarters coverage. The Patriots need to attack them with diverse concepts that can exploit soft zone areas. A concept like this could be effective because it is two coverage beaters in one.
2. Run off-tackle and outside: The Colts are stout inside. DeForest Buckner is one of the best three technique defensive tackles in the NFL. If the Patriots are going to have any success running the football in this game, it is going to have to be in C gap and D gap. Attack the lighter ends and EDGE players they have and force them to have to adjust.
3. Compress and motion: The Patriots do not have a lot of speed. They need to compress formations and create space for their skill players. With the Colts playing so much two-high coverage wise, the Patriots could really take advantage of the flat and outside areas of the field.
Motion could also force the Colts out of their two high shell and more into Cover 1 and Cover 3 which defensive coordinator Gus Bradley would prefer to play but doesn’t have the talent to play.
1. Eight man box: With Taylor back, the Colts ground game is back to being potent and a focal point of the offense. The Patriots will have to play a lot of eight man boxes on first down and short yardage situations because the Colts will pound the ball. They are patient with the run game.
2. Play 3 Safeties: The Patriots will play a lot of three safety looks today because they want to be able to support the run but also match up in the back end, especially in the red zone where they will need to double in certain situations. Three safety coverages give Bill Belichick and the defensive staff a lot of flexibility scheme wise.
3. Double Pittman in the red zone: The Colts passing game is dangerous because it comes off their running game. Indianapolis likes to throw the ball vertically, especially inside the 30. The primary target is wide receiver Michael Pittman who is 6-4 225 pounds and a match up problem. The Patriots will bracket him in certain formations in the red zone. They have to because if they don’t, they will struggle to match up with their lack of size on the outside at corner.