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Sony Michel: 3 last-minute predictions for the Patriots running back

2 major X-Factors for the Patriots against the Browns in Week 8

The New England Patriots will be playing Week 8 against the Cleveland Browns as the overwhelming favorites. After all, they have one of the best QBs to ever play running the show. They also have one of the most dominant defenses in the league.

However, there’s more to the Pats than Tom Brady. Bill Belichick has built up a team that has plenty of talented players in its roster. Each and every one of these players can make moves that will take the Browns by surprise for much of the game.

Here are two players who usually don’t get the spotlight but will be impactful for the Patriots’ coming games.

Sony Michel, running back

Michel is a solid running back who provides the Pats with a reliable option on the ground in a pass-first team. He’s not the first person that comes to mind when it comes to elite running backs, but the 24-year-old is slowly coming into his own as a talented runner that can get the Patriots a lot of yards on offense.

The Georgia product has been building on his rookie campaign. He does get a lot of touches from the offense to keep things unpredictable for the opposing defense. However, he hasn’t been that effective so far as his yards per attempt has gone down from 4.5 to 3.3.

But he had a bit of a breakout game against the New York Jets, though. He finished with only 42 rushing yards, but that isn’t the focus of the New England fandom. He managed to run in three touchdowns, which gives him six on the year. That matches his rookie tally with more than half of the season to go. With his rate of productivity, there’s no question that he could finish with at least 15 rushing TDs.

He’s become an important component of the Patriots’ game plan and will be a huge threat to the Browns defense. It will be in their best interest to keep a marker on him as well.

Chase Winovich, defensive end

When analysts say that the Patriots have a wealth of talent waiting to be unleashed, they’re talking about Chase Winovich.

He’s yet to start an NFL game but is already one of the bright spots in the roster. The 24-year-old Wolverine is one of the most exciting defenders to watch among the Patriots. He’s one of the reasons why the team is 7-0 today.

He’s already made eight tackles, five QB hits, and four sacks despite only getting limited snaps. Moreover, he made a memorable play that will certainly go to the end-of-season highlight reel: he managed to catch a blocked punt and bring it into the end zone.

With the way he’s been playing, there’s no question that he’ll be getting significant snaps against the Browns.