ESPN The Magazine


The Seahawks’ defensive speed, the Falcons’ schemes, the Steelers’ loaded offense: The Pats are great but not invulnerable. Here’s how contenders might attack them.

Bill Belichick had barely lowered the Lombardi trophy before he began reloading. A new receiver (Brandin Cooks), a new cornerback (Stephon Gilmore) and re-signed linebacker Dont’a Hightower help make the Pats prohibitive favorites, with a 32 percent chance to win the Super Bowl, according to FPI. It’s not just the personnel moves that make New England so dominant, though. It’s the playcalling. Here are four schemes that show why this team looks unstoppable.

A five-receiver play becomes a one-on-one win

This scheme allows the Patriots to carve out space for Brandin Cooks underneath, with Chris Hogan

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