Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Nov 2013

ESPN: Weak Points for Top Contenders

A brief look at the biggest weakness for each of the NFL's major contenders so far.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 05 Nov 2013

7 comments, Last at 07 Nov 2013, 8:04am by Lyford


by WeaponX (not verified) :: Tue, 11/05/2013 - 4:16pm

Gonna guess the Panthers Oline makes the list. Their issues really shined in the 3 losses.

by coboney :: Tue, 11/05/2013 - 8:24pm

Panthers didn't make the list.

Instead the featured teams and such are
Seahawks: Oline
49ers: Pass Rush
Saints: Run Offense
Packers: Health
Chiefs: Passing Offense
Broncos: Passing Defense
Patriots: Passing Offense
Colts: Run Defense

by Lyford :: Wed, 11/06/2013 - 7:13am

As much as Brady struggled through the first half of the season, the Patriots passing offense is pretty close to the bottom of my list of concerns about them. Passing defense and run defense both overwhelm my concerns about anything offensive.

And yes, I know how good the defense looked earlier, and how much they struggled offensively. The offense was always going to get better when Gronkowski and Amendola got healthy and one or more of the rookies developed. But they've lost Wilford, Kelly and Mayo from the middle/front of the defense, and if Talib can't play, they are very vulnerable to pretty much anything anyone wants to try...

by justanothersteve :: Wed, 11/06/2013 - 2:26pm

I didn't/can't read the article either. But I think health of the passing offense, specifically Gronk and Amendola, is probably the weak point. Both seem to have ongoing health concerns and regardless of the defense, the Pats scoring will be wildly inconsistant without those two on the field.

by PaddyPat :: Wed, 11/06/2013 - 7:42pm

Yeah, no. Lyford is completely right. The loss of Talib and now Gregory really hurts the pass defense. That ought to rebound when they recover. Dennard has been playing well. McCourty has proven to be a good safety. Arrington still has his issues, but the rookie in there is doing well for the nickel package.

The run defense is a disaster though. Wilfork, Kelly, and Mayo are gone for the year, and that leaves a gaping hole. It's going to really show up against Carolina. KC would be a bad playoff match-up. I don't think there's much they can do about that weakness.

The passing offense on the other hand has plenty of upside. Edelman, Amendola, Gronkowski, and Vereen form the nucleus of a very strong passing attack. With contributions from the rookie receivers at whatever level they can contribute, and assuming Brady's health holds up, the offense has every possibility of returning to 2012 form. They certainly looked that way against Pittsburgh. There are some concerns viz the loss of Vollmer, and Solder has been struggling at times this year, but that shouldn't keep the team from approaching top 10 as a passing attack and perhaps even doing better than that by the end of the year.

by LionInAZ :: Wed, 11/06/2013 - 9:12pm

I suspect the article was written before the injury situation was known. Blame Belichick and his insane refusal to discuss injuries.

by Lyford :: Thu, 11/07/2013 - 8:04am

The Patriots comment in the article starts with "Despite injuries to Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, the biggest Patriots weakness, statistically speaking, has been their pass offense..." It was written after the "shredding of the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday." So it's current.

And wrong.