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New England Patriots Links 12/22/10 - Full Speed On Buffalo

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Bill Belichick addresses the media Tuesday, focusing on the Buffalo Bills.

We're going full speed ahead here on Buffalo. It's been quite a while since we played them. There're a few new faces, but the big thing is, just looking at it over the last couple of months, they're really probably playing about as well as any team in the league. [It's] just good, solid football - good on offense, good on defense, good on special teams. They've got a lot of good skill players. I know they've lost a couple, but still with [Fred] Jackson and [C.J.] Spiller. They've had a couple of guys step up like [David] Nelson and they've had some big plays from their skill guys - [Steve] Johnson.

Defensively, changing from the three-four to the four-three, [they're] playing real aggressively there. [They're] a pretty good coverage team and a team that has good quickness up front, good team speed. [They're] always strong in their return game. Spiller is obviously a threat any time he touches the ball. [They have] excellent specialists and good kickers. They're doing a good job. We'll have to really put our foot on the gas here the next couple of days and catch up to them. Like I said, even though we've played them before, it's a different looking team than we played in September.

Pat Kirwan (NFL.com) Battering Brady makes sense in theory, but it's risky.

It would seem that putting pressure on Brady is important to stopping the Patriots. Obviously, sacks are a very important statistic when evaluating defenses. Every possession has about a 25 percent chance of ending up in a score, but if the defense can get a sack the probability of a score goes down to about 7 percent. Reduce the probability of scoring to single digits, and quarterbacks don't lead teams to victory. That is, unless your last name is Brady.

The Packers sacked Brady three times. When examining the impact of pressure and sacks on Brady as compared to other elite quarterbacks, the results demonstrate just how special No. 12 really is.

Clearly, sacking Brady isn't the same as getting to other quarterbacks. In fact, he has been sacked three times in each of the last three games -- all wins -- and the offense has averaged 37.3 points.

Football is like a chess match, and Brady is the master chess player. While everyone points to the Giants sacking their way to a win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, since that day, Brady is 7-1 when teams sack him three or more times.

After watching a lot of the pressure calls this year, defenses really need to think about just slowing Brady down and not risking the damage he can do. The next team that copies Capers' pressure calls will probably pay dearly.

TEAM TALK

LOCAL LINKS

  • Karen Guregian calls attention to BenJarvus Green-Ellis closing in on a thousand yard season. He has 824 yards with two regular-season games left.
  • Greg A. Bedard discusses how tough it is for opposing defenses to shut down all of Tom Brady's targets, especially with the stellar play of the rookie tight ends.
  • Mike Reiss talks about the defensive dilemma teams have against Brady.
  • Christopher Price tells us the five most important things from the Patriots on Tuesday.
  • Mark Farinella thinks the Patriots needed that Packers game to be reminded of what can go wrong before they enter the part of the season when things can't afford to go wrong.
  • Greg A. Bedard takes a closer look at two key plays from the Patriots' 31-27 victory over the Packers on Sunday night.
  • Mike Reiss reports Sam Aiken was among three players to work out for the Patriots. They have an open roster spot from the release of DL Louis Leonard.
  • Christopher Price reports that despite his knee injury, Wes Welker remains Tom Brady's favorite receiver.
  • Mike Reiss takes a look at where the Patriots rank in key statistical categories through 14 games.
  • Mike Reiss notes Pats-Packers nets the 3rd highest local ratings in franchise history.
  • Mike Reiss lists Five quick hits of note from today's conference calls with Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio and WR coach Chad O'Shea.
  • Mike Reiss answers his weekly reader mailbag. Terrific insight here as usual.
  • Karen Guregian Patriots Notebook: Bill Belichick says the holiday week can't be a distraction for the players, staff or anyone involved, with home field advantage at stake; Julian Edelman is working on catching the ball; Belichick gives high praise to Bills RB Fred Jackson; CB Tony Carter was promoted from the practice squad to add depth to the position; The departure of DL Louis Leonard suggests either Myron Pryor (back) or Mike Wright (concussion) might be ready to return.
  • ESPNBoston posts the playoff-clinching scenarios for the Patriots and the rest of the NFL.

NATIONAL NEWS

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