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Prime Time Patriots

Monday Night Football!

The New England Patriots travel to Arrowhead Stadium tonight for the season lone appearance on Monday Night Football. This is one of 4 straight games against AFC opposition with the Patriots welcoming the Bengals to Gillette Stadium for Sunday Night Football before facing divisional rivals Buffalo and the New York Jets.

After starting the season with a lacklustre performance against Miami the Patriots have bounced back to win their last two games with a convincing 30-7 victory versus the Vikings and a hard fought victory against Oakland last week 16-9. While the 2014 edition of the New England offense is going through some teething problems the defense has looked steady often producing good play and signs of potential to be one of the best in the league.

They rank 1st in the NFL with the fewest yard against them over the first 3 weeks of the season giving up just 818 yards and 3rd in points against with just 49 given up leaving them just behind Arizona on 45 and Cincinnati with 33. Success at forcing turnovers has also been impressive in the opening weeks of the 2014 campaign for New England, something Bill Belichick’s defense have always been known for, with the team having racked up 6 interceptions already on the year which is tied for 2nd in the league. As well as these stats they have forced 3 fumbles so far recovering 2 and have sacked opposing quarterbacks 7 times.
The Chiefs didn’t start 2014 too well themselves going down heavily against the Titans 26-10 before almost taking the Broncos to overtime in week 2 when they narrowly lost 24-17. Last week was much better for Andy Reid’s team as they dismantled the Dolphins 34-15 to chalk up their first win of the year. Kansas City will be the hardest opposition that the Patriots have faced so far this year especially as Arrowhead stadium can often conjure up quite an atmosphere. Tonight they’re attempting to regain the crown they once had as “The loudest stadium in the world” so Tom Brady and co could be in for a tough task.

While tonight’s matchup could be rather tough for New England especially as they’ve had early season offensive woes so far this year it has to be said that typically on Monday Night Football Tom Brady excels in front of the prime time cameras; his MNF record is 13-5. Brady has thrown three or more touchdowns in a Monday Night game nine times, including four four-touchdown performances. He has also thrown four touchdowns in three of his last four Monday Night games. It’s also worth noting that Brady is tied with Steve Young for third place with 42 touchdown passes on Monday Night Football, behind Brett Favre (69) and Dan Marino (74). Steve Young threw 42 touchdown passes in 25 Monday night games, while Brady has 42 touchdowns in just 18 games!

 

Last week was Brady’s 150th career regular-season victory as a starting quarterback.

With Rob Gronkowski’s snap count growing as the season has begun it’s only a matter of time before the Brady-Gronk partnership lights up and tonight could be that night. There have been struggles on the offensive line but every team has its own individual chinks in their armour to deal with especially during the early stages of the season. Julian Edelman, Shane Vereen along with Stevan Ridley offer the Patriots versatility in the offense and either of the two could have a big game tonight as New England will look to take advantage of a Kansas City secondary that has looked sloppy at times during the early stages of the 2014 season.

Spare a thought for Danny Amendola as he is struggling performance wise while Aaron Dobson is still recovering from injury, as for Brandon LaFell well he saw some more targets from Brady last week and either him or Kenbrell Thompkins will be looking to build up some rapport with Brady tonight also watch out for Timothy Wright who seems to be growing in to the system week by week following his trade to the Patriots from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier on in the season.

As mentioned before New England’s defense has been playing well so far this season and will have to be at their best tonight when they go up against the likes of Alex Smith, Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles. The likes of Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins continue to made big stride week by week and these 3 young defensive players are becoming big time assets to the Patriots along with the likes of Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork. The secondary has been progressing well as Darelle Revis settles in along with Devin McCourty who always seems to perform at a high level and I personally can’t wait to see Brandon Browner make his debut for the Patriots which should be next week versus the Bengals now that he has served his four game suspension.

 

Chandler Jones is coming for you Chiefs!

 

With Tom Brady’s record on Monday Night Football and Bill Belichick revitalising his team following their week one defeat I expect the Patriots to put in their best performance of the season as despite the Chiefs ranking 7th in yards against their defense and 6th in points given up so far this season they giving up an average of 354 yards a game. Ahead of that mouthwatering encounter against the Bengals next Sunday New England will be hoping to return back to Boston with a 3-1 record and give Bill Belichick his 16th victory as the head coach of the Patriots on Monday Night Football games.

A Look Ahead: The 2014 New England Patriots

In recent years Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots have always started an NFL season as many peoples favourites following 3 Super Bowl triumphs in the Brady-Belichick era. With that being said the team haven’t lifted the Lombardi trophy since 2004 and have also fell at the final hurdle twice in 2007 and 2011. For most franchises going deep in to the postseason is still considered a successful campaign but for the Patriots it’s win the big one or bust.

This is at the forefront of New England’s mind especially heading in to a season where the GQ quarterback Tom Brady will be 37 come kick-off time on September 7th. You can certainly argue that the window is closing for the legendary although it has been said as well as mentioned often that Terrific Tom could play in to his 40s. Personally I would put him in a bracket along other sporting legends who’ve enjoyed success in their twilight years such as Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs and Ryan Giggs of Manchester United.

New England Patriots

So with that being said whilst looking at Brady’s career in recent years it is clear to see that he can still get it done and hasn’t deteriorated even with a receiving cast last year that including rookies along with no real superstars to throw to. A fourth Super Bowl ring would almost certainly cement Brady as the best quarterback of all-time; I mean who could argue with 4 Super Bowl wins and 6 appearances on the grandest stage of the all. If that happens this year retirement will naturally be thrown out there by the media but regardless of whether the Pats win it all this year I think Brady will play for at least another 3 seasons, including this one, as that would mean he would be 39 when the 2016 season starts and potentially could signal the end of his career.

Regardless of when Brady and Belichick leave New England one things for sure you have to say that with these two at the helm of the organisation as well as taking in to consideration that New England have added to a roster that made the AFC Championship game last year you’d definitely put the Patriots as one of the favourites to represent the AFC come Super Bowl 49 in Arizona just after the turn of the new year. They’ll have to contend with the likes of the Denver Broncos who they had an arms race with this past off-season during free-agency. A Brady vs Manning AFC Championship game is well on the cards again when you look at the rosters assembled by New England and Denver but don’t count out a young Indianapolis Colts team that is led but a superb young quarterback in Andrew Luck who just gets better and better as he prepares to enter his 3rd season in the NFL to shake things up for the old dogs in this conference.

The Pats last made the Super Bowl in 2011 and since then have also made the past 2 AFC Championship games so naturally any Patriots fan will have high hopes for New England to make it to the big game but after unfortunate injuries down the stretch in recent years and the fact that the Patriots in general have been spoilt for success over the past decade I personally am looking at the 2014 season through more objective eyes. New England’s success will come down to the young guns stepping up as this roster does have a lot of young talent; Only Vince Wilfork along with Tom Brady remain on the roster from the team’s last Super Bowl victory. You can expect even bigger things from young defensive players such as Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower who enter their third season this year as well as Jamie Collins who emerged as a gem late in the 2013 season. The secondary is looking scarily good with Devin McCourty, Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis all on the roster and all hunting out opposing offenses.

CL AND JC

Along with a revamped secondary the young Pats will have big roles to play in 2014

New England’s success will come down to the young guns stepping up as this roster does have a lot of young talent; Only Vince Wilfork along with Tom Brady remain on the roster from the team’s last Super Bowl victory. You can expect even bigger things from young defensive players such as Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower who enter their third season this year as well as Jamie Collins who emerged as a gem late in the 2013 season. The secondary is looking scarily good with Devin McCourty, Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis all on the roster and all hunting out opposing offenses.

On offense the Patriots have added Brandon LaFell to the likes of Julian Edelman as well as second year players Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins with Dobson in particular being predicted for a breakout season. It is clear to see that this offense of the Patriots has potential with Rob Gronkowski being the key player to any success that the offense looks to have with his blocking for the running game as well as drawing double coverage in the passing game being key. That’s along with the fact that when he receives the ball he is one of the best players in the league especially at getting in to the end-zone and putting points on the board.

With that being said Gronk has struggled for injuries in recent years but if he can stay healthy, especially in the playoffs, then the Patriots have a real shot to go all the way in 2014. For now though I’m sure they’ll be honing their skills and getting back to basics whilst focusing on getting their passing game back to top notch for the 2014 season. If the offense can get it going this season along with a defence that has the potential and players to create a unit that will rival the legendary defensive units from the past 3 Super Bowl winning teams then you’d say that New England has one of the most well equipped rosters in the National Football League and has all the tools to make it to Phoenix Stadium in 2015 with the franchise having a shot at winning it’s 4th NFL Championship.

Does a healthy Gronk in the postseason equal a Super Bowl victory for New England?

Does a healthy Gronk in the postseason equal a Super Bowl victory for New England?

 

Patriots Pulse: Rob Gronkowski Just Tweeting Himself Out Shirtless & Wearing Bling (PHOTO)

rob gronkowski

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski may not be ready for OTA’s, but evidently he is all about the grind. The “Gronk Grid” must mean being shirtless and wearing a blinged out doallar sign around his neck.

Looks like his teammate Chandler Jones like Gronk’s swoll…

Let’s just hope this grind translates to Gronk being ready for the season opener.

Patriots Tweets Of Interest: Former Pats Teammates Congratulate Talib On HUGE Contract


In this social media age, NEWS and ODDITIES are all around you and at your fingertips. With a tap of your smartphone, you can find out what your favorite athlete or celeb is doing and thinking. Some things make you SCRATCH your head or say HMM.

The members of the New England Patriots are no different, they are quite in tune with the Twitter Machine.

In this edition: Former teammates wish Aqib Talib all the best on his HUGE payday

 

HOPE and PRAY there are tweets that welcome Darrelle Revis to the Patriots soon…

Patriots Match-Up Mania: Tournament Time

Will Bill still smile tonight?

Will Bill still smile tonight?

Tom Brady isn’t really matched-up against Andrew Luck tonight, or is he? They’re never on the field together so they can’t block or tackle each other. However, the presence of both men under center is the decisive factor for both teams.

 

Brady is Brady. His playoff resume is well known and boasts the most playoff wins (17) ever. He’s also struggled lately in the postseason with a 5-5 mark in the last 10 games. He’s been erratic at times this season, largely because of the chaotic state of the offense around him. He’s still the essence of the New England Patriots, and the ubiquitous Patriots Way. He said while esponding to a question about facing Luck’s Colts and Luck himself:

 

My motivation is pretty simple. I just try to win, that’s what I try to do and try to be part of the reason why we’re successful. That’s part of doing my job and trying to be the best I can be for the team…To be a professional athlete and to play at this high level with this level of competition, winning is the only thing that’s important. That’s one goal and one objective that I’ve had for a  and very long time.

 

 

The media coverage of Luck makes him sound like a Brady clone. Is there a difference between the two, beyond the age and experience factors? I thought of two distinctions.

Mobility. Brady can’t move. We’ve all seen him try and we’ve seen him not scramble when he possibly could. Luck is RGIII compared to Brady. Against Kansas City, Luck displayed some elusiveness with the touchdown he scored after he recovered a fumble.

Weapons. Luck’s team might be the only team left with fewer established options than Bill Belichick’s squad. T.Y. Hilton is the target of choice for Luck and should face the Aqib Talib treatment from the Pats tonight. Julian Edelman at least has Danny Amendola running routes alongside him. And, would anyone trade LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley for Donald Brown and Trent Richardson?

 

The quarterback play is usually a huge factor in a game. Luck doesn’t have much around him to work with. BB’s defense keeps getting injured, just ask Brandon Spikes. Jamie Collins and Dane Fletcher are the next in line to do their jobs. Two other key players should be Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones who need to keep Luck in line and possibly provide a sack or two.

NFL Week 13 Preview: Patriots @ Texans

Coming off the greatast comeback in franchise history, TB12 looks to lead the Patriots into another December run before the playoffs

It’s been over a month since the Patriots have had a 1:00 game. After an emotional and exhausting 34-31 comeback OT thriller against the Broncos, New England is set up for a trap game against the 2-9 Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Just a year ago, Matt Schaub & Arian Foster traveled into Foxboro dawning letterman jackets and an 11-1 regular season record. After losing that game and their hold on 1st place in the AFC, the Pats sent them home again in the AFC Divisional round with a 41-28 defeat. Neither Foster nor Schaub will be suited up against New England this year however. Schaub injured his foot/ankle in Week 6 and is the first quarterback in NFL history to throw pick-sixes in four straight games. Rookie QB Case Keenum, University of Houston alum, has stepped in nicely for the turnover-prone Schaub. Stud Foster had season-ending microscopic lumbar discectomy surgery (back) in Week 9, leaving the banged up ribs of Ben Tate to carry the rock alongside undrafted rookie free agent Dennis Johnson.

With great preseason hype and hopes of returning to the playoffs in 2013, Houston won their first two games and lost their next nine (1-5 at home). New England’s three losses on the year have come on their last three road games (CAR, NYJ, CIN), putting them at (2-3) away from Gillette. They have not won a game on the road since September and are in jeopardy of recording their first four-game road losing streak since 2000. Despite being 1st in the NFL in opposing pass yards at 171.8 YPG, Houston has had a nightmare of a season and is in serious contention of earning the top pick in the 2014 draft. There has been some chatter about the natural grass at Reliant Stadium the past few weeks. The Houston Cougars played a game in Reliant Stadium yesterday morning and there are currently no plans to replace the grass. Hopefully there is not a repeat of 2009’s injury to Wes Welker. Much has also been discussed about how New England does not face a team with a winning record in the rest of 2013. In order to avoid falling into the trap, here are three keys to victory for the Patriots in Week 13:

1) Turnover Battle: Weird things need to happen in a game in order to achieve the greatest comeback in franchise history. Last week’s start consisted of three consecutive fumbles lost on the first three NE drives. Ridley’s mishap was followed by a Brady strip-sack and a Blount fumble which had Patriots fans holding their heads in dismay. Do not expect to see Ridley in the first half of this contest, he has continued to struggle in protecting the ball and Belichick benched him for the last three/four quarters of the epic SNF comeback. He just does not give the Patriots the best opportunity to win at this time. The combination of Blount, Bolden and Vereen remains a formidable and effective backfield with three different types of backs. Julian Edelman also fumbled twice but recovered his own mistakes.

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