NFL Playoffs: How to Whack the Patriots

Pro Football NYCSenior Writer IJanuary 7, 2008

"If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone."

- Michael Corleone, The Godfather, Part II

I'm assuming this axiom carries over to football.

The New England Patriots have had their way with the rest of the NFL for several years now. It's time to put an end to their reign.

Last year, the Colts' second-half rally in the AFC Championship Game was the only thing standing between the Pats and a Super Bowl win. Now, they're heavily favored to go all the way after a 16-0 regular season.

But that doesn't mean they can't be beaten.

What follows is a winning formula—drawn up by the Patriots' own head coach Bill Belichick—to take down the Patriots.

The plan was devised by Belichick when he was the Giants' defensive coordinator in 1991, to combat the mighty Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV.

The Giants won 20-19.


Step One, Offense: Move Those Chains

Run the football and burn up the clock. Use as much time as possible between plays.

This accomplishes two things: First, it keeps the Pats' offense off the field. Second, it reduces the number of overall possessions the Patriots get in the game.

Fewer possessions, fewer points.

Granted, you must still score on your possessions, but you at least lower the bar on how many points you'll need to win the ballgame.

Step Two, Defense: Turkey Shoot

Rush three men and keep eight back. Pressuring Tom Brady is a risk. If you don't sack him, he'll kill you. Save the pressure for his receivers.

The key is to not give up the big play. The defense must concede the short passes and take away the sidelines, leaving the short middle as the only open zone on the field.

When the receiver catches the ball there, he's greeted by two or more linebackers and a safety. By the third quarter, he'll be apprehensive. The defense will wear down the receivers over time, rather than the other way around.

Just like in jiujitsu and organized crime—utilize the opposition's strengths to your favor.

This strategy will most certainly knock Wes Welker out of the game—unless he has a high tolerance for pain. He's the variable Brady relies on to spread the offense.

Randy Moss will be covered deep, so he won't be able to get behind the defense. This leaves only short passes over the middle, which means the Pats will be forced to drive the ball, taking even more time off the clock.

Do this and you will give your team the best chance to survive.


Who's says it's against the rules to beat the Patriots? We have newspaper men on the payroll, don't we? I'm sure they'd love a story like this...

To you Patriot fans—it's nothing personal. It's strictly business.