The Patriots have some shiny new pieces that they will get to debut tonight. Among them is former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis who should if healthy adequately replace Aqib Talib in the secondary if not be an upgrade over him. The Patriots will also be trotting out new receiver Brandon Lafell tonight. Alas we will have wait to see what sort of chemistry Lafell and Tom Brady have developed, because according to bleacher reports Ryan Mallet will be getting the start tonight. Therefore only one of two questions can be answered tonight about this Patriots team. The question that we may find an answer to tonight is Did the Patriots do enough to significantly upgrade their defense from last year?
The Redskins are unveiling a whole new offense that will be put to the test tonight, under new Head Coach Jay Gruden. Some important questions the Redskins are going to try and answer is firstly is How well has third year quarterback RGIII picked up the new offense and will he bounce back showing the promise of his rookie season or will his sophomore slump continue? Secondly what kind of chemistry do RGIII and DeSean Jackson have? If they develop a good working relationship this passing offense is decidedly more dangerous than it was last year.
Offensively the Patriots last season completed 60.5% of their passes with a TD/INT differential of 2.2 they had a YAC average of 5.5 while their offensive line gave up on average 3 sacks a game and on the ground they averaged 4.39 yards a carry. The Redskins offensively completed 58.1% of their passes with a TD/INT differential of 0.2 they compiled a 5.2 YAC average while their offensive line gave up on average 2.7 sacks a game and on the ground they averaged 4.8 yards a carry. Ryan Mallet is being given a chance to shine for New England tonight he is untested and untried but according to reports has the potential to start here is his chance to live up to the hype. Backing Mallet up will be rookie Jimmy Garoppolo. On the other side while RGII probably will not get much playing time his backup is Kirk Cousins although the Redskins are bringing a new offense into battle for the first time tonight I think the Redskins have the better quarterback tandem in this game. Edge:Redskins
Defensively the Patriots last season allowed opponents to complete 57% of their passes posting TD/INT differential of 1.3 allowing receivers to compile a 5.3 YAC average and allowed runners to average 4.45 yards a carry. The Redskins defensively allowed their opponents to complete 65.6% of their passes posting a 2.5 TD/INT differential allowing receivers to compile a 6.1 YAC average and allowing runners to average 4 yards a carry. Clash of defensive titans this is not, with that said Revis is not going to play enough to make a real impact. Despite the fact the Redskins are more than likely to win the turnover battle, the fact that the Redskins allowed 8.6% more passes to be completed than the Patriots leads me to think the Redskins have the weaker of the two defenses. Edge:Patriots
The Key Matchup will be Ryan Mallet versus the Redskins secondary. Mallet is going to have a chance to show whether he can be a valuable trade piece for a team who can use a starting quarterback or possibly replace Tom Brady in a couple of years as the starting quarterback for the Patriots.
With all the upgrades that Patriots have made on defense, and their upgrade of their receiving corps, the fact that Tom Brady isn’t going to be playing tonight will work against the Patriots. I don’t think the inexperience of Mallet and Garoppolo overcomes the experience RGIII and Cousins.
Final Score: Redskins 21 Patriots 17