Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about the Patriots' upcoming game in London against the Rams.
The Patriots' deficiencies are obvious, and King said the defensive secondary's problems mean the offense needs to take its game to another level.
"When I look at the Patriots right now, to me, I just see a team that is really going to have to outscore people the rest of the way," King said. "When I look at this game this week, this is not a gimme game. Because what the Rams have, the Rams have three good corners -- they've got [Cortland] Finnegan, they've got Janoris Jenkins, and then they've got a good nickel guy, Bradley Fletcher, who is playing well. They have a good pass rush. They're going to hit [Tom] Brady two or three times in this game, I guarantee you. Whether they sack him or not is another matter. But they're going to be in his face a little bit. So, to me, I think this is a little bit of a dangerous/sleeping giant game here for the Patriots.
"As far as their secondary goes, I think the thing that bothers me about looking at New England and sort of trying to project what they're going to do the rest of the year, it's so hard, because even though they've improved on the back end a little bit, they're still allowing a quarterback rating of 99 or something like that against the opposition. And keep in mind, the opposition, we're talking about Mark Sanchez, Russell Wilson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kevin Kolb, Jake Locker. They've also played Peyton Manning and [Joe] Flacco. But they haven't faced the cream of the crop right now.
"I don't think necessarily it's going to be something that will doom their season. But I do think as long as they're leaky back there and as long as that secondary is growing, I do think there's potential for them to have some long days where Tom Brady's going to have to put up 37 to win."
Sunday marks the Patriots' second appearance in London in four years. King said to expect the NFL to continue to play games across the Atlantic, as most NFL owners are looking at Europe as a potential source of revenue.
"Owners like Bob Kraft, owners like [Jacksonville's] Shad Khan, commissioners like Roger Goodell believe that at some point in the future, you're going to have to go beyond the American border with this game in order to grow it to its peak," King said.
There has been speculation that the NFL eventually will place expansion teams in Europe, but King expressed doubt, saying, "I just think the logistics of it would be exceedingly hard, and I'd be surprised if it ever does come to pass. But there are owners in the league that want to make it happen."