NFL betting lines excitement continues to build for the chances of the New England Patriots to get back into elite status as Super Bowl contenders. The Patriots did make the playoffs last year but something seemed to be missing as they were not their normal dominant selves. The final proof that something was wrong came in a blowout home playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Quarterback Tom Brady returned last year after missing the 2008 season when he was injured in the first half of the first game. Brady was efficient but not quite at the same level as he was in New England’s epic 2007 season that ended 1 game short of perfection with a Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants.
The Patriots have spent the off season and training camp tweaking the offense in the attempt to make it more diverse as it had become far too oriented towards Brady and was predictable. The Ravens demonstrated how easy it was to defend against the Pats in that playoff debacle.
In their preseason opener against the Saints the Patriots showed that the emphasis on more balance is paying off as they looked sharp in a 27-24 win.
New England was far more of a spread and pass-oriented team last year and had to be reminded the hard way that a ground game is an essential part of a playoff contender’s portfolio.
The Patriots are also preparing for a better red zone and goal line offense for the 2010 sports betting season.
“First day of pads, we went straight to goal line,” said tight end Alge Crumpler. “There are certain things we work on. There are things we’ve got to get better at, there are things we continue to work at, and when those opportunities present themselves in preseason we’ve got to take advantage of them.”
“I think it’s important for us to have balance in all situations,” said Crumpler. “I like running the football.”
The Patriots will continue to focus on an improved running game for the rest of preseason as handicappers betting NFL preseason games can expect to see plenty of double tight end sets and running backs BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Laurence Maroney, Fred Taylor, and Sammy Morris.
“Whatever coach calls upon us to do – anyone of us – we know we have to go out and execute,” said Green-Ellis, who is moving up the depth chart.