Jan 7, 2013|
In this edition of the It Is What It Is Cast, Chris Price and Mike Petraglia preview the Patriots-Texans divisional playoff contest. The guys talk about why this game won't be similar to the game between the two squads back in December. They also take a look at some of the changes between the two teams since that game, and check out some of the other playoff action in the NFL.
Transcript - will not be 100% accurate
Are you ready for some football football. Is what it means can. -- -- -- He is what you need is -- Christopher price. All told WEEI. All right everyone welcome back to the it is what it is cast this week we are joined by Mike to try to talk featured playoff like -- you -- I'm doing very well Chris certainly an interesting weekend of playoff football that just past and looking forward to what. You know a lot of people consider the best weekend of football in the National Football League in that is divisional playoff round football so it should be interest in setup. He should be a lot of fun this week and it really should not not just the patriots matchup but but all across the board what you said it is one of the greatest weekends a year. If you're pro football -- bullets start out and let's focus on the patriots first of all I wanna get your take on where they are right now going into their divisional playoff gave. This weakened against the -- First of all I think they're very well rested her a lot more rested obviously than they would've been had they not gotten by. In week seventeen I think that was crucial. To the hopes and the aspirations of Super Bowl aspirations. Of this patriots team. They were very banged up obviously going in they're still going to be a little sore but I think that week off. The ice tub that a lot of players talked about this week. You know this past week. A lot of them got that ice -- treatment they got their massages. They got their bodies possibly is ready is there ever going to be for a playoff weekend game coming up. The idea is of course no one's going to be a 100% right out now everyone's banged up it's been a long season is going to be bumps and bruises I'm fascinated to see. We're Rob Gronkowski is I -- every level of health say you know. -- at least I know was important for him to get snaps in their regular season finale just to -- legs back underneath him get hit. You know delivery -- as well. But I just wanna see going back to watch the film is look like he was favoring your mortal and look like you're protecting your motive and I don't know if that was just natural or if that's something were going to see for the rest of the year. You know we said that we referenced that in our video right after the game that and -- you mentioned that he looked a little tentative I went back looked at the film. And in the 2425 snaps he played he did look a little tired of the thing I wrote and the thing that concerns me the most about Rob Gronkowski. Going in to this game against the Houston Texans is his ability to stay in and block. Because you and I both know he is one of their two or three best run blockers and pass protectors that they have. On that offensive unit and if he cannot stand and block and and used his upper body the way he normally uses that that is really gonna hurt the patriots. I think when you look at this game and Belichick has talked about it Brady talked about it DNC earlier in the week that. There's not a lot to you can bring forward from that game from that December game -- to apply to this game you know it is it's a totally different game. In an -- though that it just blown smoke in a part of it -- always -- is what it is in the others did their gonna give you -- of the the party line and all that but I think the biggest difference here. When you look at personnel when you talk about the difference in personal -- Houston has had some changes you know Graham and and in Brooks reed but gronkowski is the biggest guy who missed that team right who has the potential to impact this game. Well now. I'm going to play devil's advocate. You and I both know. That if you beat a team 4214. And it wasn't a fluke forty tail -- it was. Really about weapons and the Texans will be the first to tell you that Andre Johnson and his biggest game in franchise history. I'd gladly tell you that and did tell us that after that Monday night game if you -- the patriots. And you executed -- game plan that well especially on the offensive side of the ball against guys like JJ watt and Brooks reed. Wouldn't you try to do essentially the same thing again I yeah yeah certainly your going to tweak the game plan. -- referenced that in his Sunday conference call with reporters after they knew that they were playing the Texans. With the Texans winning Saturday night. Think they know. What works against this Texans a line and against the Texans team and I think they're gonna try to execute many of the same things fundamentally that they did before. Certainly the play action worked brilliantly well. Having Steven Ridley. Have a big role in this game if he holds on the football of course will be a big factor in this game those are the kind of things I think you look for in the patriots game plan to stay the same. There are going to be two weeks with Rob Gronkowski returning the the ability. For the short and intermediate passing game to evolve a little bit more than it did and that Monday night game and I think obviously that helps the patriots. But this Texans team. Obviously is gonna have a point to prove that knocked in -- played nearly as poorly at the line of scrimmage can imagine as they did in that game especially on the defense side of the ball. Already out of the gate in real bearing debt that's what hurt them the patriots exe cute very well in the first quarter. In the dude would be needed to do both offensively defensively but he also made it to take a veritable lot of -- dinners well earlier. And you and I both know the single biggest play at a Monday night game was match job over the middle getting intercepted by -- according when they Texans were driving right down the field. Left and right. And running left and right with their structure runs and about to tie the game at 77 and match job throws in the double coverage over the middle because he didn't -- -- according. Playing safety at that -- -- -- in the great read on it and a ball hawking read any cuts frightened front. And that changed to mean the whole tempo. And and structure. And really the layout landscape that came that one play if match job stays away from mistakes like that. The Texans will make this -- I don't think there's any question about that I the other adjustment I would really look for the Texans to make. Is get -- Foster more involved. In the flat I parked on this during the game I couldn't believe how the Texans were just. It seemed like they were putting -- Foster are out there and just saying -- go final holes do that against patriots. You need to do with the Texans do very well against teams that struggle literally on defense is which is the patriots weakness on defense left and right east and west. On and I think you you look for the Arian Foster and the Texans to a lot more of that in this game on Sunday than they did on the bonded so much of what. Beat Q&A talk about the Texans are so -- to what they do offensively is predicated on them playing with the lead. Yet in it's so important and you know we talked about how beating get off to a good start the first Cameron took bad penalties into negative yardage which put him in bad situations. But he they did he fumbled the ball once they've been through interception the first quarter in -- -- behind fourteen to nothing at the end of the first quarter grew twenty to nothing at one point the third quarter. And were never -- it. I think Houston has a chance in this game. If they can withstand that early burst from the -- to -- if they -- Match that intensity if they can match that level of intensity -- not get blown off the ball in the first couple of quarters of -- penguin New England. Because it. Again there at their best when their running the ball. Because that allows them to operate our play action in that really is one of their strengths and eating contest -- when we saw that first -- we talked about the sort of falls under with Matt Chatham. Really. Sharp had to be something that he wasn't. You know would be spread it out they had to throw the ball -- that's not their gain. Here's the other thing that I took from Washington Texans and scouting them against the angles on Saturday night. How many times that they settle for field goals in the red -- the exact yet that's a great point. Cannot do that that's a -- Tom Brady and the patriots you have to know there should drive the and they absolutely know that if they knew that the angles. Could not punch it in -- that Andy Dalton was off that the Bengals offense didn't scare them one iota. But -- against it and therefore they settled I think for field goals. Against the patriots they know especially on the road at Gillette Stadium again they know those have to be touchdowns if they're gonna have any chance. Of of winning this football game on Sunday afternoon. This is a broad brush philosophy puts so much of what the teachers have been able to do when they've been successful. Is to be able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball they've been able to get great performances this year out of Vince Wilfork. Rob Ninkovich. Chandler Jones at times similarly offensive side of the ball when they've been at their best. The offensive line is done while they had a six game stretch where they only allowed three sacks in the middle of the year including the -- it's against a Houston. You often to once struggled toward the end of the year. I don't know if it's a problem. But I think that's something needs to be tightened up between now in that -- me if the patriots are going to be able to play America's. Between now making but it if they're gonna -- deep into January that's something you need to address and room. I'll tell you what that that the answer to that -- play action if -- that concerned. About your offensive line and they don't to a hot obviously and they never do play action out of the empty -- which is one of Brady's favorite formations. But if you ever -- in there. And you specially if you keep Rob Gronkowski. Back for protection as well play action could. Open up being the holes and that Texans defense and I think that's what you look for the patriots to do in this game if like you said they're very concerned about the pass rush. And their offensive line's ability. To protect late in the season. What we talked about that that the patriots and -- we talked with the Texans I'm sorry their ability to operate on play action of one of the things that's made this New England offense really special this year. Is their ability to to have balance in we've CNET at a Wrigley fumbles aside he's had a fantastic season for a temporary short 300. You would have been the first got to hit 300 -- since Corey -- back in her first feature from elected researchers and Cory -- back in 2004. They've been able to bring a real balance to that and I think that's the thing that figures into this is well I think if you get the running game going. You get those -- pressures on their heels a little bit you get them yet and whether to play action would you run the ball you present a different option to them if you really changes the game. I I think so press and the other thing I would mention is over gonna hear a lot this week already have. About the patriots being motivated. Think there's a 24 players 23 players and -- Syria on that 2010 team that blew -- the jets on Monday night and then you know. Didn't show up in the divisional gaming and and lost the divisional game to the jets we're gonna hear a lot of comparisons this week to that. I don't think it is it really has won impact on this game whatsoever I -- two different teams two different. Our philosophies in terms of of the offensive approach the defense of -- I don't think it's gonna matter that much I think what really what this game's gonna come down to as the patriots taking care of the ball. Getting a lead. -- use that in making the Texans. Play out of their comfort zone and making putting the game and match on stance if you do that -- you're gonna win the game. I think the key thing here too when you bring it up you bring up agree poignant effective. A lot of people are pointing toward that jet -- That 2010 where where the jets were able to come in here and knock them off the divisional round I think it's two different incidentally to -- I think it's two different input did you look at their jets steam and as much. Kind of good natured -- as we do on the jets that was a good jets -- there was a break into jets deal -- time it was also mentally tough jets team. He was in the midst of back to back trips to be FC championship game. It was a veteran team was a battle tested team. I don't think this Houston team is like data we talked about this the past I think this Houston teams close. I think turn of the year two way I think they're going to be very good team as long as someone doesn't commit to break -- up with a you know. But it -- injury true whatever and I think that there on the right path. I think this Houston team needs to go out and get more mature in the offseason -- really focus on the drafting need to look at free agency if they go and get pencils -- Rodney Harrison type. It can take them in the eye and shake them I -- but this -- and I can say all right look. You're not a championship team yet you need to be here for your championship team and I can help bring you there. I think they'll be in good shape but I just don't think that they are quite championship ready just yet. Well and I think in the secondary is where you attack this Texans team if you get the time. You know that the reason nobody talks about the big plays that Texans you give up occasionally is because. They're very few opportunities -- quarterbacks have to sit back there and throw the ball deep because of the Texans pass rush. But if you can get some time like we said with play action or. Leaving another blocker and -- chip on nine JJ watt. And and give extra protection the plays there are deep or are they are to be made deep and intermediate and I think. You know that's what the Texans are missing I think you're right I mean I I veteran presence in that secondary to really take control. -- give me one name it all start by giving you one name but he's a renegade Wear. Someone that we may not suspect as having a big role in this game is gonna step to the -- -- is gonna perform well is gonna be a key member. You know in in you could do it on other side of the ball we talk but I would set the -- I'm gonna -- Dini would -- I think would head is a guy who didn't get a whole lot of run the first time around. But his absolute consistency is dependability. He's a guy who the patriots have turned two on several occasions this year he's the first guy since Kevin Faulk for running backs until falcon 2000 need to get forty -- at least forty carats of forty carries. I think he might have a big role when this game would have a bigger than the first of the -- -- Well I'll give you one on each side of the wall Owen Daniels I think he is a great safety valve. Or match job I think if if Poland and the patriots are a little bit susceptible to athletic. By Dan's. Especially as we said earlier in the flat trying to get him to go east and west maybe isolate. Brandon Spikes who is much improved in pass coverage. But still. Brandon Spikes a little when you watched it is inconsistent and he's much more of a run defender than he has pass defender. I think Owen Daniels as a chance to be at the safety valve if you will for match Robin could have a big game and make some very important plays in the game. On the patriots side of the ball. I still look at Brandon Lloyd and look at his explosiveness and if the patriots. Like they did a fiber called correctly against the 49ers they ran that play action and Brandon Lloyd was wide open -- As he ran a crossing route almost the post pattern. He was wide open I think a guy like Brandon Lloyd could have a huge impact. In this game if the patriots play action. On is effective and in negating the pass rush to the Texas. Gimme a final score I Marty on record justice could have video piece having the patriots win this thing 34 point one. I think it's going to be a little bit closer that -- with a garbage touchdown late l.'s all say that it's it's close until the patriots put a touchdown on the board with. Say two or three minutes left in the game to kind of pull away what you think. I it's 28 to wanting patriots when this came Texans will keep it closer I think I'm not going out on a huge win there by saying that but. I think the patriots the Texans keep a closer. A but the patriots still have too much fire power. And is patriots will make the Texans pay for getting in the red zone a couple of times and settling for field goals patriots hit at least two deep. Touchdown passes one of which to Brandon Lloyd. And I think they went twenty points or are we looking at a sense of inevitability here. Review meaning version 2.0 FC championship game I do think so I think. Peyton Manning the well rested. Well -- Denver Broncos. He'll win at home playing the a Baltimore Ravens and I just think it was a great story yesterday with Ray Lewis doing what he did on the field for the final snap in the victory formation. But I think that emotion dies away on the road and the -- inevitability that the Denver is a better team on both sides of the ball. Wins out and yet the patriots and Broncos. In Denver. You can make an analogy when you're talking about emotion and you talked about that carried over promotion on the road when we saw Indy. They you know in in in their team and came -- may be deeply very well early on. I just wonder how much of that emotion is sustainable over four quarters -- just in -- we saw that there was the case on Sunday. And I think Baltimore three lewis' last stand I think it's going to be. It's gonna give them a boost in -- gonna rally to him in Indian he's going to be you don't you don't mean his emotional centerpiece of that team right but he just don't know if that's gonna be enough to sustain it over four quarters and an -- over you know. Ironically I really think the patriots. You know and I wrote this on Friday it would have been great to see Ray Lewis come here vigilance don't implement that divisional game because the -- in so many story lines Brady and it's starting with Brady and Ray Lewis obviously they have a a high degree of respect for one another. And Purdue for interest is really debut of coaches players exactly yeah and there's so many similarities between the ravens. And the way Ozzie Newsome has built that franchise and the what the patriots have done obviously here. It would have been a great story however I mean if the upset occurs in Denver and the patriots stayed true to form and knock off the Texans. We'll get a rematch of last year's AFC championship game and -- look now that I would be great I'm -- so much privately. That's kind of what I'm rooting for -- in my heart in my. -- my brain takes over and I'm like well Denver's and I can't see Denver losing it moments situation on betrays an appreciation of my pleasure -- ticket authorities have you got.