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Patriots Embarrassed on Monday Night Football

It was nothing like Patriots fans had imagined while watching the team play on Monday night. It was something that was out of Bill Belichick’s and Tom Brady’s nightmares, as they got absolutely annihilated!!!!! It would be fair to say it was the team’s worst loss since losing 31-0 to the Bills back in 2003.

Chiefs

The 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs was a pathetic showing for everybody on the team. Bill Belichick probably came close to cutting guys in the middle of the game, and he had no problem putting starters on the bench in the 2nd half. After Logan Ryan committed a penalty as time expired in the 2nd quarter that allowed Kansas City to kick a field goal to take a 17-0 lead into the half, Belichick had words with Ryan, and didn’t see as much playing time as he used to.

In the 3rd quarter, former 1st round draft pick Nate Solder completely missed a tackle and allowed a defender to easily get to Brady and force a fumble inside the Chiefs red zone which led to another easy touchdown for the Kansas City offense. The next time the offense had the ball back, Solder found himself on the bench with Marcus Cannon in at his position.

In the first half, the Patriots only had 96 yards on offense compared to Kansas City’s 303 yards, and only had 5 first downs. They Chiefs easily ran against the Patriots, and also threw successfully against them with ease. It was the 1st time ever a team has gotten 300 yards against a Bill Belichick team in his career.

Tom Brady had shown his age this season, and this game was incredibly bad. Even with no good receivers, we all expect Brady to be at least decent enough to keep his team in the game. He couldn’t do much of anything. On a 3rd and three and with an opening to run in the 2nd quarter, he tried making a terrible pass, and the Patriots were forced to punt. If this keeps up, fans will be demanding Jimmy Garrapolo sooner rather than later.

For the positives that can be taken from this game for the Patriots: there are none. It was that bad. Nothing looked good as they made Alex Smith look like Joe Namath circa 1969. The minor positive was Jimmy Garrapolo looked pretty good, but that was also in garbage time, so in the end it doesn’t mean much. The win was the first win for Andy Reid against Belichick in his career.

Although it’s a shorter week because it was a Monday night game, this week will be a long one for the Patriots as they have a lot of work to do to prepare against the Cincinnati Bengals next week, who they lost to last season in Cincinnati. It will be interesting to see what Belichick and his coaches can do to mix things up and actually put a half decent team onto the field next week.

Patriots Defeat Raiders, Feels More Like a Loss

It took an interception by Vince Wilfork with under 2 minutes to go, to keep the double digit underdogs, Oakland Raiders, from tying, and forcing overtime against the New England Patriots. It was a 13-6 WIN, but it felt more like a loss for the now 2-1 Patriots. It’s a weird feeling for fans of a winning side, to feel like they lost. Maybe it’s only something Patriots fans feel because they’ve been so spoiled over the past 15 years, either way, it was not a good win for the Patriots.

Brady Raiders

After last week’s win in Minnesota, Tom Brady spoke out about how the Offense needed to step up, and play better together. That didn’t happen this week. In fact it seemed to be worse than it what it was last week. The offense that has been displayed through the first three weeks of the season does not look at all like a Super Bowl caliber offense.

Brady was 24 for 37 with 234 yards, and one touchdown, which was thrown to Rob Gronkowski with 4:14 left in the first half to give the Patriots a 7-3 lead. That was the only Touchdown scored all day by either side.

Although only one Touchdown was scored, the Patriots and Raiders but had good chances to find the endzone, but neither could get the job done. The best chance for the Patriots to score 7 was at the start of the 4th quarter, and the ball on the Raiders 2 yard line. Brady threw a great pass up the middle to Gronkowski, but he was unable to hang on to it. So Brady tried again, this time to Danny Amendola. Despite a dive by Amendola, he was unable to make the catch, and the Patriots had to settle for the field goal, which put them on top, 13-9.

The missed touchdown by Amendola was the only pass targeted to him all game. The common theme for Brady thus far has been avoiding Amendola like the PLAUGE!!! The only receiver Brady has trusted this year has Julian Edelman, and occasionally Gronk. Edelman once again was the top receiver in the game with 10 receptions and 84 yards. There is clearly some sort of disconnect between Brady and his receivers, and maybe JUST MAYBE Brady is responsible for a lot of the Patriots struggles. (I know, blasphemy just by suggesting Brady might be responsible.) Read more

Patriots Off-Season Match-Up Mania: Coach BB vs. GM BB

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I have no idea where Bill Belichick is going to be during the Super Bowl on Sunday. He may or may not watch the game, but I bet he’s already focused on the 2014 New England Patriots.

Lots of time has been spent since the AFC Championship Game congratulating BB for his coaching performance with his 13-5 club. I’m not terribly focused on where to rank this season in terms of his coaching resume except to say if it was a great coaching job then it means he created a flawed team as a GM that he had to coach up.

BB has a busy winter and spring ahead of him. Some ideas:

Changes are already under way within Bill’s coaching staff. Dante Scarnecchia and Pepper Johnson, two positional staffers who toiled under Belichick seemingly forever, or, since he became the coach of the NEP, are gone. Were they problems with the team? That answer could depend on how their replacements do in 2014.

Bill might need to coach up the coaches who stayed, honestly. I’m not the only person who was puzzled by some coaching decisions during the season. The Patriots didn’t react too well to the loss of Aqib Talib in Denver two weeks ago in the 26-16 conference title game loss and in-game adjustments have always been part of the Belichick aura.

Coaches, of course, need players to coach. This team faced a consistent challenge of keeping players on the field because of injury after injury. Yes, they reached the AFC Championship game despite injuries, but would a healthier team be in New York now prepping for the Super Bowl in place of Denver. Talib is just one of several names like Vince Wilfork, Rob Gronkowski or Danny Amendola that failed to reach the end of the season intact. Long term, do the Pats need to be wary of players who can’t stay on the field? For example, does Talib deserve a big payday if he can’t finish the AFC title game every year?

Aside from injuries, the biggest issue all season was who could Brady throw to. Not signing Wes Welker and signing Amendola instead was not a success. Julian Edelman proved himself and is now on the open market. Rookies like Aaron Dobson were either unavailable or dropping passes for most of the year. Could BB be forced to choose between Edelman and Amendola?

This rumor/gossip about Larry Fitzgerald coming here seems unlikely to happen. Will the draft bring more young receivers for Tom Brady? Again, unlikely. But, draft experts expect the same. With a very young club, I’m expecting more veteran value roster moves we’ve come to expect from the Pats.

 

Patriots Match-Up Mania: Playoffs?

Tom Brady practices for the Ravens.

Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs. Are you kidding me? Playoffs? I’m just hoping we can win a game, another game.” – Jim Mora.

Certain games defy analysis of important match-ups. When the New England Patriots travel to Baltimore to meet the Ravens on Sunday, that’s the situation each team faces.



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Rivals who know each other after six battles in four seasons, only one of which was truly one-sided. It comes down to a cliche bowl: Who wants it more. The best team wins. Something like that.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are certain factors that could sway the outcome either way. Will receivers catch balls that hit their hands? Danny Amendola. Turnovers? Stevan Ridley. Stop Joe Flacco and Ray Rice? Defense.

In short, as Bill Belichick described it, it’s a big game requiring the Pats best effort of 2013:

We know this is a big challenge for us headed down there Sunday. It’s a big game for both teams and I think we’re excited to play, excited for the opportunity and the challenge and we’ll need our best football from everybody…That’s what it will take down there I’m sure. That’s what we’re gearing up for, that’s what we’ll try to be. The Ravens are a very good football team. They have a real solid organization and they’re tough. We’ll need to be at our best to beat them.

There’s a big reward awaiting the Pats if they overcome this challenge and that’s a clinched playoff spot and a fifth-straight AFC title. Just win and be in. Going into game 16 without punching a playoff ticket is a bad thing. Tom Brady, who has had a frustrating season despite 4,000+ yards passing – again – is aware of the implications. “We need it,” Brady said. “There’s no bigger game than this one for us. ”

He also made a comment that summed up the season well, too.:

It would be nice to go out there and play this team and play them well for once. We haven’t done a great job playing against them offensively.

There are certainly reasons for it, but how many times this season have they put it all together against a good team? A bad half followed by a display of offensive prowess. Good defense combined with turnovers and poor third-down execution. You’ve seen it.

Before they can worry about playoffs, they need to be playing good football.

Patriots Match-Up Mania: WWBBD?

Rob Ninkovich


Here is the question that fans of the New England Patriots must consider with three winnable games sitting between them and the AFC’s top playoff seed: Will they run out of players?

Okay, they won’t. But, a seemingly endless spate of injuries – you all know the names – makes me wonder how Bill Belichick compensate for some obvious holes in his roster. What will BB do?

Start with the offense that has trouble starting on time lately. In the three prior games the Patriots managed to win, their opponents led by a combined 47-7 at the half. And that was with Rob Gronkowski. Last week’s comeback did come after Gronk was injured which provides some hope. But, 60 minutes of effort would be helpful.

How will the Pats react to losing Gronk again? (How does he keep getting hurt when he seems unbreakable?) First off, Matthew Mulligan isn’t the answer. He seems to be willing to step up and “replace” Gronk, but he’s an undrafted free agent from Maine. He’s not Gronk. Does he play golf?

Brady has confidence in Mulligan, sort of:

We still have confidence that we can go out and win games. You have to try to figure out what we’re going to do to still get the level of production that’s good enough to win. If you’re an eligible receiver, then you’ve got to do something with it, so we either run it better or throw it better or catch it better or run with it after the catch. It’s not going to be an excuse for us, I know that.

The players most likely to see the ball more post-Gronk are Shane Vereen and, surprisingly, Stevan Ridley. Vereen has proven to BB and, more importantly, Tom Brady, he knows what to do with the ball when he gets it. He can run, catch and score.

Ridley’s status is tenuous as depends on his fumbles. But, with a major target like Gronk gone, TB12 needs a reliable ground option to turn to. His next fumble might be his last as a Patriot.

BB needs to tighten up the defense, too. Josh Gordon abused Aqib Talib last week as Talib wasn’t 100%. BB must continue to keep shaking things up on defense to stop the opponents on offense.

BST&N’S 2013 NFL Predictions From The Playoffs To Individual Awards

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It’s almost here, but if you weren’t excited enough about the NFL returning in a couple weeks, here are a few more reasons. It’s time to make some predictions that will inevitably have clear cut outomes and boggle the minds of some while sparking some pretty intense debates. I think I have them all right, though. Here are my picks for all eight division winners, the four Wild Card teams, each conference’s championship matchup, the Super Bowl, league leaders and major award recipients.

AFC East (2): Patriots – Nine straight division titles when the team has been quarterbacked by Tom Brady? Yeah, make it 10 for New England. While they undoubtedly will be transitioning on the field this season, they are still fairly high above the other three teams in the division. Plus, their quarterback never runs into butts.

AFC North (4): Bengals – Get used to hearing “Dalton to Green” and get used to seeing the Bengals in the postseason (even if it is just for one game) for the third straight year. Cleveland will probably finish fourth.

AFC South (3): Colts – The Colts made an unbelievable turnaround in 2012 and it seems to me they are not done improving. Eleven wins last season was good, but I see them hitting at least 12 this year, including making a push to overtake the Texans late in the year with a huge win over them in Week 15.

AFC West (1): Broncos – Obviously. This one will probably be the biggest division win by any team this season. I say 14-2 for Denver with San Diego the closest to them at 7-9. Welker…and Decker…and Thomas might play a role in their success as well.

Peyton Manning wil lead the Broncos to another division title.

Peyton Manning wil lead the Broncos to another division title.

AFC Wild Card (5): Texans – Houston has three of the best players in the league in Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and J.J. Watt. The supporting cast is not bad either and Matt Schaub obviously has what it takes to lead a team to the postseason. I just think the Colts will steal the division from them sooner or later and Houston will wind up in the five-spot.

AFC Wild Card (6): Ravens – Though their defense is gong to look quite different, the Ravens should be able to get enough out of Joe Flacco to back in to the playoffs as the conference’s No.6 seed. From there, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were bounced immediately as I’m a little wary that Flacco might have nothing left to motivate him.

NFC East (3): Redskins – As long as RG’s knee can hold up for 16 games, the Redskins are poised to repeat as NFC East champs. He will be an x-factor for them this season, leading them to big wins over the Packers, Falcons and Giants and clinching this division before the final night of the season.

NFC North (4): VikingsAdrian Peterson will carry them to the division title in 2013. That’s really the only way I see that happening for the Vikes, who will have to contend with the Packers and maybe even the Lions or Bears. Green Bay finishes a very close second, but will be on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.

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