*Each week, we watch as much Game Rewind as possible. And it's still not enough. On Fridays, we'll share a few things we learned and apply to the upcoming weekend's biggest matchups. *
The template to bother New England's offense isn't that complicated. It's just difficult to execute: Create pressure with your front four and have physical cornerbacks that can harass the Patriots' receivers in man coverage.
Cortland Finnegan is one of the premier cornerbacks in football, especially in the slot. He's the rare player who could give Wes Welker problems for 60 minutes. Rookie Janoris Jenkins started the season well, but he has given up more plays in recent weeks. Look for the Patriots to test him. No defense completely stops the Patriots, but the Rams have the ingredients to slow them down.
There isn't a worse secondary in football going after contested passes than the Patriots. Bradford needs to be aggressive giving his receivers such as Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens a chance to make plays. Bradford has a great arm, but his accuracy can be erratic. He still seems to process things slowly. Givens has a 50-plus-yard gain in four consecutive weeks.
Dallas really dialed back its offense last week against the Carolina Panthers. With DeMarco Murray out and Felix Jones hurting, that approach doesn't make sense against the Giants. Yes, Tony Romo had a bad second half against the Chicago Bears earlier this season. But he has played very well otherwise. He's the best part of the Cowboys' offense, and they need to let him be aggressive. When forced to throw -- like against the Baltimore Ravens -- he has stepped up.
JPP is one of those players we appreciate a lot more with Coaches Film. He hasn't racked up sacks this year, but he's an absolute terror blowing up running plays. The Cowboys have struggled to run the ball. Third-stringer Phillip Tanner can be tough to tackle, but he's unlikely to see many holes in this game. Don't be surprised to see a lot of negative-yardage plays. JPP versus Dallas' Tyron Smith should be a great matchup when they line up across from each other.
» The New Orleans Saints have won two consecutive games, but their defense isn't any better. They still have the worst pass rush in football. That should lead to plenty of time for Peyton Manning on Sunday, which leads to plenty of yardage. ... The Saints still haven't integrated Mark Ingram into their offense very well. They trust Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles more when the game is on the line. ... There is no one like Drew Brees when he's on a roll. It's not like Marques Colston and Lance Moore get a ton of separation. No quarterback consistently fits passes into tighter windows than Brees.
» John Skelton had one of the worst games by any quarterback all season last week for the Arizona Cardinals in Minnesota. (Although Christian Ponder wasn't much better.) Arizona's protection actually held up most of the game despite the big sack total. Skelton holds on to the ball too long. When he misses a pass -- which is often -- he misses by a lot. He almost maimed a cheerleader with one errant pass. ... With Sean Lee of the Cowboys on injured reserve, Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington should make the Pro Bowl. He combines great range and blitzing ability. ... I'm really interesting to see how LaRod Stephens-Howling follows up his breakout performance. The 5-foot-7 back can take a hit, and he showed nice moves against the Vikings.
» The Cleveland Browns played nickel defense every play against the Indianapolis Colts last week, daring them to run. That's what Andrew Luck is up against this year. ... Browns coach Pat Shurmur was right to bench running back Trent Richardson last week. Richardson took a big hit early and didn't run aggressively after that.
» The Carolina Panthers are expected to go to more of a power-running approach this week against the Chicago Bears. That's great news because the read option wasn't fooling anyone. ... Cam Newton didn't play nearly as poorly last week as all of his controversy indicated. He made a lot of big plays. Two drops on third-and-long killed him.