The New England Patriots have one of the best defenses in football this season. The Patriots are currently sixth in points against and fourth in yards against. Edge rusher Matthew Judon is a big reason for New England’s success on defense this year. When the Buffalo Bills square off against the Patriots for Thursday Night Football, the offense will have to account for Judon the whole game — all over the field. Let’s review some tape of Judon’s already fantastic season.
Judon forces QB pressure with rush up the middle
Against the Minnesota Vikings we see Judon standing up on the inside shoulder of the right guard. At the snap, Judon shows a great get-off, then rips through the guard. Judon runs up the middle in pursuit of quarterback Kirk Cousins, and forces him to move off his spot and make a throw under pressure.
Judon influences offensive play, bouncing the run inside
The ability to influence where the play goes is a massive plus for a defensive player. The Patriots line Judon up on the outside shoulder of the tight end to start the play. Judon engages the tight end as the play starts and a hole is open on offense. Judon then goes inside and closes the hole, forcing running back Dalvin Cook to go left.
Judon excels at containing a very mobile quarterback
Judon is lined up on the outside shoulder of the right tackle. At the snap, Judon follows Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields as he scrambles right. Judon keeps contain on Fields, preventing him from running upfield. This forces Fields to attempt a throw, and Judon immediately rushes in and makes the tackle.
Judon overpowers the pull blocker
Pre-snap, Judon is lined up on the left side standing up on the outside shoulder of the tackle. At the snap, the New York Jets pull their right guard to take on Judon. Judon lowers his shoulder and takes on the puller (absorbing the block). Judon then stands up in the hole so there is no space for the running back to run.
Judon’s elite shed and tackle traits on display
One of Judon’s biggest strengths is against the run. Facing the Detroit Lions, we see Judon take on tight end head-up. He then sheds the tight end’s block and makes the tackle on the running back.
The Bills will have to be very aware of where Judon is at all times when their offense is on the field. The Patriots like to move him around all over the place. He plays on both the right and left side as an edge rusher, and he will also stand up in the middle of the defense. Judon excels at quarterback contain, playing the run, and rushing the passer. He is one of the most well-rounded defensive players in the NFL.