New England’s Player To Watch

Throughout his nine Super Bowl trips, Tom Brady‘s has always been the focal point on the New England Patriots, but on the defensive side of the ball, there are plenty of playmakers that lead to the overall success of the team. The one player that fans need to watch on Super Sunday isn’t a Pro Bowler – sorry Stephon Gilmore - but the most important player to watch is linebacker Kyle Van Noy. However, the reason he’s the most important player to to watch might be unexpected reasons.

Kyle was outstanding in the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago. He had 10 tackles (eight solo) and two sacks in the 37-31 victory but big numbers from him doesn’t always lead to success for the Patriots. He even had nine tackles (five solo) and a sack against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game two years ago but the Pats failed to win the Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles in their next game.

Not only is Van Noy the team’s leading tackler, but he is going to lead a defense that has to stop the Rams two headed rushing monster of Todd Gurley and C.J Anderson. Now that is to most interesting number to watch is his tackle total for the game.

In the five regular season losses, he has 36 combined tackles. That’s an average of just over seven tackles per game. He even had 13 combined tackles in their 24 point loss against the Tennessee Titans. However, in their 11 regular season wins, he has just 56 combined tackles. For the stat addicts like myself, that’s an average of only five and a half tackles per game.

Usually when you’re the leading tackler, you come up with big numbers in wins, but this says the balance of the defensive effort of everyone is key in the Patriots success against the Los Angeles Rams. So if the box score shows Kyle Van Noy with a lot of tackles a lot on Sunday, it might not be what the fans of the Patriots want to see.


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