All season retentive, the Patriots have struggled in the first quarter of games. This is evidenced in their average of merely 5.1 points in the first base quarter across the season. To put that in position, the Patriots scored an median of 32.1 points per game in the unconstipated season. They averaged 27 points combined in the moment, third and fourth quarters. The Patriots ‘ opponents received 15 of 16 open kickoffs during the regular season. The merely time the Patriots received to open the game was against the Buffalo Bills. They scored 14 points in the first quarter, and set themselves up with an early 21-point lead. The game against the Broncos was over before Tim Tebow even had the testis. Tom Brady marched the Patriots offense down the discipline in five plays that ate equitable 1:51 off the clock. In strikingly similar fashion, the Patriots scored 14 points in the first quarter. All temper long, fans have wondered about the slow starts, and receiving the ball may be the fasten. By the numbers, the argument is convincing enough. But receiving the ball to start the game plays into the strength of the team :
- The best unit, the offense, starts the game on the field. This allows the Patriots to dictate the tempo and send the message that the opponent must score touchdowns to keep up.
- Likewise, the defense plays better with a lead. Handing them an early lead allows them to play loose and play to win instead of not to lose.
The advantage that deferring creates has been evidenced time and time again ; if the umbrage does come out flat, which it has at times this season, they have an opportunity to string together two scores while the adversary is left watching on the sidelines.
It then becomes a question of whether to risk that caution for the sake of dictating the tempo. Of run, it ‘s hard to count on an discourtesy scoring a touchdown on the opening drive, and the Patriots may not have that kind of success coming out of the gate against a dominant allele defensive team like the Ravens. Belichick on Monday told WEEI.com ‘s The Big Show, “ You never truly could go into a game saying, ‘We ‘re going to get 14 points in two minutes without a employee turnover. ‘ Sometimes it barely happens that way, but it ‘s hard to count on that. When you play a good complementary color crippled like that—good defense, flying turnover, change of possession, umbrage takes advantage of the good field position, pump it in there—good things are going to happen. ” But if the Patriots are able to set the tempo early, they wo n’t have to worry about any of that. They have n’t had to worry about it either time they ‘ve received the ball to start the half. And if they ‘re able to score promptly, they can besides force the testis into the probationary hands of quarterback Joe Flacco, which is favorable alternatively of having to worry about a arduous drug of running back Ray Rice. And on that note, is n’t it worth the risk ? The Ravens would have a big opportunity to take the herd out of the game with a solid, successful opening drive while besides setting their own tempo. The strength of the Patriots is the crime, and it barely makes sense to start the bet on with your best unit on the field, even if that means the Ravens fielding their own best unit to start the game.
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Ray Lewis pointed out that the Patriots sent a message to the pillow of the league with their dominant 45-10 acquire over the Broncos. The Patriots can use their first possession to send a message to the Ravens : score touchdowns or lose. Erik Frenz is the co-host of the PatsPropaganda and Frenz podcast. Follow Erik on Twitter .