The New England Patriots are widely viewed as a contender because of the presence of head coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski — three of the best ever at what they do.nfl cheap jerseys nike
But the key for the 2018 Patriots to achieve their championship hopes just might be rookie running back Sony Michel.
The first-round draft choice from Georgia, No. 31 overall, was the best player on the field in the Patriots’ 27-13 victory over the New York Jets. His 133 rushing yards were the most by a Patriots player since Jonas Gray totaled 201 in the 2014 season.
“Coach kind of gave us a challenge this week, on being able to run the football – consistently,” Michel said.
Belichick’s challenge reflected how when Michel gets going on the ground, it takes the burden off Brady, Gronkowski, receiver Julian Edelman and others in the passing game.
Simply put, he settles things down.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap
Michel’s breakthrough was among the best news for the Patriots from Sunday’s win, which wasn’t as decisive of an overall performance as they hoped to deliver coming off their bye — red-zone struggles on offense, in particular, were notable.
But proving they can successfully turn to the running game — especially as the weather in the Northeast is getting colder and adverse weather conditions are a more likely possibility — is an important ingredient for most teams with championship hopes.
“Any time you can run the ball like we did, it helps a lot of things. You have to play the run, play-action [passes], and we had some chunks [of big plays],” Brady said.
“It always opens up everything else. It keeps you out of those long-yardage situations, which we have been in the last couple weeks,” echoed Belichick.
The Patriots topped 200 yards rushing as a team to improve to 8-3, keeping pace with the AFC’s top seed, the 9-2 Chiefs. The Steelers (7-3-1) and Texans (7-3) are also in the mix.