"Nach einer enttäuschenden Saison können die Patriots das Ruder herumreißen", German for: After a disappointing season can the Patriots turn it around? The answer is yes. New England faces 3 teams in a row with a record of .500 or below (Colts, Giants, Chargers). Picking up a win Sunday against the 4-5 Indianapolis Colts could get this team trending in the right direction. Here are three reasons why the Patriots stand a chance in their highly anticipated Germany contest.
1. Return to International Dominance
The New England Patriots have an impressive history outside of the United States. On international ground, they have a flawless record (3-0). All these wins came in dominant fashion as well. They have a jaw dropping point differential of 113-22 (+91). In 2009, the Patriots went head-to-head with the Buccaneers in London and won 35-7. Three years later, they played in London again against the Rams and blew them out even worse, 45-7. They didn't play internationally for another 5 years, but in 2017 they faced off against the Raiders and handled them with ease, 33-8. I know this year's Patriots team is a whole lot different than the Brady-led teams, but Bill Belichick needs to save his job. To do so, he needs to at least beat teams with subpar records. The team hasn't given up this year though which is a good sign. They are playing with pride, but just haven't been able to execute the plays in the fourth quarter to secure the wins they'd like. They have been in so many close games this year, it is going to eventually pay off.
2. Run the dang ball!
New England ranks 28th in the league in rushing yards per game (86.9). This is one of the main reasons why their offense is struggling this year. In 2021 they averaged 124.4 rushing yards per game, and last year they averaged 106.6. Running the ball and playing good defense has been their identity for years. Luckily, they can get back on track this Sunday, and set the tone for weeks to come. The Indianapolis Colts rank 24th in rushing yards allowed per game (125.6), and in their last 3 games, have given up the 2nd most rushing yards (149.7). This is great news for Rhamondre Stevenson. He is coming off his best game of the year against Washington where he posted a stat line of 9 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown. If Stevenson had that type of production with only 9 carries, he should look to repeat those numbers in Frankfurt. The game plan should be to run the ball as much as they can until this poor rush defense of the Colts can stop them.
3. Stop the dang run!
If the Patriots want to have a chance in this game, they need to stop the run. The duo of Johnathan Taylor and Zack Moss has been the backbone of the Colts offense. Without a smooth run game, Gardner Minshew is going to be dealt with the task of throwing the ball a lot. Minshew has been a very good backup this year, but Bill Belichick typically takes advantage of backup quarterbacks throughout his legendary career. The Colts were on a 3-game losing streak before picking up a win against the Panthers last week. During that streak Minshew had thrown the ball 55, 23, and 41 times. Therefore, the Patriots need to force him throw the ball a ton. In Both games that the Patriots won this year, they limited the Jets to 22 carries for 38 rushing yards (1.7 ypc), and the Bills to 24 carries for 81 rushing yards (3.4 ypc). Holding this dynamic duo in the Indianapolis backfield is going to be tough, but if they want to win, that is going to be the key thing they need to prevent.