Tag Archives: New England Patriots

Is Jonas Gray the Real Deal? Probably Not.

Being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, and being featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in the same week means you’re having an amazing week. That’s the kind of week Patriots Running Back Jonas Gray is having. But can Gray keep doing what he did against Indianapolis last week?

Jonas Gray

A month after being on the practice squad, Gray rushed for 199 201 yards, and 4 touchdowns for the Patriots against the Indianapolis Colts. Gray and the Patriots absolutely dominated the line, and Gray made it look extremely easy to run through the Colts defense. He was simply unstoppable.

It’s seemed like forever since the Patriots had a decent running game, and in their defense, they haven’t needed much run support since they have Tom Brady throwing the football. Although it seems like forever ago since the Patriots had a running back that could run, the team has seen other players do similar things.

Just last season, LaGarrette Blount had an amazing week against the Buffalo Bills in week 17 in rainy Foxboro. After that one game, Patriots fan had thought they finally found a running back that was dependable. Blount had 2 touchdowns on 189 rushing yards, and accumulated 145 yards on 2 kick returns in the game. In fact just like Gray, he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated that following week.

2 weeks later in the playoffs against the Colts he ran for another 166 yards and 4 touchdowns. 2 games in a row he seemed unstoppable. But now if we compare that to what Jonas Gray did last week maybe we can take into consideration that Bill Belichick knows how to game plan against the Colts and knew exactly how to get a running back through the line and down the field. It was the same team in which Blount rushed for 4 touchdowns.

The very next week in the AFC Championship game, he had just 6 yards on 5 carries. 6. Yards. Blount is now unemployed after being released by the Steelers this week.

In a September game against the Bills in 2012, Brandon Bolden had 137 rushing yards and 1 touchdown in a Patriots blowout, and although he’s a still a member of the Patriots, he hasn’t come close to reaching that mark again, and it would be surprising to see him do it again.

Just like every other Patriots fan, I hope Jonas Gray is the real deal. I would love to see him be a major factor for the Patriots down the stretch, but there’s no way we can call him the rushing savior. It was one game, against a team that Belichick and his staff knew how to run against.

This week the Patriots take on the Detroit Lions who are one of the best defenses in all of the NFL. The defense is only averaging giving up 15 points per game, and they’ve only allowed one team to rush for more than 100 yards total against them, which were the Jets in week 4. If Gray can get 40 yards against this defense it could be considered a success, but let’s not expect too much from him.

Come playoff time, we might forget Jonas Gray is even on this team.

Lucky number 6 or will Luck end the Patriots hot streak? New England Patriots vs Indianapolis Colts

Many people associate the “Lucky number” phrase with the number 7 or the movies Lucky Number Slevin and Ocean’s Seven but did you know that the number 6 is auspicious in matters with love and relationships in Chinese culture? There was also a fragrance for men made by fashion designer Liz Claiborne called Lucky Number Six and the Patriots will be hoping for their sixth consecutive victory when they face off against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts tonight.

patriots

Out with the old and in with the new is an expression that billions across the globe know very well but in the National Football League that saying doesn’t always ring true. Tom Brady has continued to defy the odds in his career and he has done that more than ever since the defeat to Kansas City back in week 4. He and the Patriots continued their fantastic streak last week when they blew out the Denver Broncos 43-21.

The Broncos are in the eyes of many the best team in the AFC if not in football but with the New England victory last week it caused many to rethink their opinions and once again the win gave Terrific Tom some more pulling power in the Brady-Manning debate as he extended his winning record over his long term record to 11-5. After trailing a close first quarter 7-3 the Patriots battled back to completely smash Denver in the second quarter scoring 24 consecutive points.

From then on out the Patriots were in cruise control with Brady, making his 200th career start with the win giving him his 155th win (the most of any QB ever), completing 33 of his 55 attempted passes with Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski hauling in 9 receptions each for a combined 194 yards. Those two were Brady’s main targets as the Patriots offense continues to up the gears week by week; Gronk was the standout player though as he decimated the Broncos defense and made one of the most spectacular catches of the season.

Now the Patriots walk in to Lucas Oil Stadium tonight to take on the epitome of “the new” type of NFL quarterback in the shape of Andrew Luck and his Indianapolis Colts with huge playoff implications. With seedings, home field advantage and a potential bye week at stake on the line it makes tonight’s game an intriguing contest as with New England at 7-2 and the Colts at 6-3 a win for either team would put them in prime position for one of the two byes on offer going in to the postseason.

With both teams coming off a bye week giving them an extra weeks preparation ahead of tonight’s crucial game you can expect it to be a fantastic affair. The Luck led Colts have been high flying this season. After starting the season 0-2 the Colts went on a five game winning streak of their own before losing a crazy game to Pittsburgh 51-34 on the road but bounced back at MetLife Stadium when they convincingly defeated the Giants 40-24.

Since Luck came in to the league the Colts are 17-4 at home including their amazing comeback against the Chiefs in the wildcard round of last seasons playoffs. Tom Brady and co are use to overcoming obstacles and Indianapolis are slight favourites ahead of tonight’s matchup in what many are anticipating to be a close one. In the two previous encounters between Brady and Luck the Patriots have blown out the Colts 43-22 in last years playoff game and 59-24 in Luck’s rookie season back in 2012.

Both of these teams have come a long way since last years playoff game and both are very improved in various departments which is what makes, in my opinion, tonight one of the games of the season especially with all that is at stake. If the Patriots get the victory tonight it’ll give them a huge boost in terms of going on to clinch the 1st seed as well as home field advantage for the postseason which is what they will want to keep away from Denver so that they can guarantee that the road to Super Bowl 49 goes through Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots and Broncos had an arms race this past offseason to improve their rosters in hope of ensuring a trip to Arizona next February but the Colts are the dark horses in the conference especially as Andrew Luck is the best young quarterback we have ever seen just because of the impact he has had on the NFL in his first 2 and a half years and the talent he has displayed. When the Colts last faced New England they had no running game with only Donald Brown, now a Charger, playing and lacked any offensive weapons due to injuries.

Since then Colts legend Reggie Wayne has returned to action, TY Hilton has broken out to improve his game and become an established wideout in the league who provides a down field threat along with tight end Dwayne Allen who provides a nice balance to Luck’s friend from Stanford Coby Fleener. Add that with Hakeem Nicks, who despite not having a good year so far is a good player, along with rookie receiver Donte Moncrief and a one to punch of Bradshaw and Richardson in the backfield and it is clear to see why this Colts offense is on pace to potentially break records in 2014.

With that being said they are facing a Patriots defense tonight which under the guidance of defensive mastermind Bill Belichick has the potential to stop any offense in the league and did stop what many feels to be the best last week when they made Peyton Manning’s Broncos look ordinary. Despite having Chandler Jones absent due to injury the brilliance of New England’s secondary has given the front seven opportunities to be creative in getting to the quarterback and stopping the run which has helped the likes of Jamie Collins, Hightower and Rob Ninkovich as we saw last week with the latter’s interception against Peyton.

With Revis and Browner playing man coverage on the outside they can stop near enough any receivers in the league. Revis’ skill set is amazing for a corner and with one of the best safeties in the league in the form of Devin McCourty just behind him it allows for not only Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia to be creative with defensive play-calling but it also benefits the strengths of the two corners as it allows them to be aggressive. This also allows Patrick Chung and, when he gets on the field, Kyle Arrington to be effective in the secondary and break up plays.

When I previewed the Patriots and Broncos game I said it would come down to who wins the battle between the Denver offense vs the Pats D. With the latter winning it ensured that New England held on to their healthy lead which gave their offense the opportunities they needed to score more points to finish their opponent off and I would say that the same applies tonight if not more with the Pats being on the road. The offense will have to deal with crowd noise etc and while we know Tom Brady is one of the best QB’s of all-time in road games you need your defense to come up big and make stops in order to take some of the pressure off of your offense as well as give it opportunities.

If this happens I expect the Patriots to have the tools to defeat the Colts. Indianapolis’ defense played lights out during their 5 game winning streak but were brought back down to earth against the Steelers after their star cornerback Vontae Davis was knocked out the game. Davis is one of the better players in the league at the corner position but depsite is talents this Colts defense usually struggles against tight ends and when you considering that the Patriots have the best tight end in the league in Rob Gronkowski, 8 touchdowns this season, you would say that the Patriots have a critical advantage which could make the difference needed in a game that is anticipated to be so close.

Offensively you can expect the Patriots to spread the ball round like they’ve done in the past 5 games to Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen, Julian Edeleman and even Tim Wright who I think will be used a lot more tonight considering the Colt’s vulnerability to tight ends. In the big moments though it will be Gronk who is thrown to and if the Colts don’t come up with a game plan to try and limit him especially in the red zone then I think the Patriots will pick off any weaknesses this Indie D has and will punish them.

One thing’s for sure and that is that tonight’s matchup is a mouthwatering encounter with both QB’s at the top of their respective games. Tom Brady has rediscovered his hall of fame form following a run of 5 games which has seen him throw 18 touchdowns to just one interception with a completion percentage of over 70% meaning he is now 5th with 22 touchdowns on the year to just 3 interceptions (tied with Aaaron Rodgers for the lowest among starters). The Patriots winning run also means that Brady now has a passer rating of 103.5 which also ranks 5th. His opposite number Luck ranks 2nd in touchdowns with 26 TD’s and leads in terms of passing yardage with 3,085 yards. Despite the fact that Luck thrown more passes than other QB in the league it is a testament to his abilities that he has managed to keep his completion percentage at 63.6%

So with everything being weighed up now we just have to wait a few hours to see who wins when the best of the old guard takes on the best of the new guard in the third dual between Tom Brady’s Patriots and Andrew Luck’s Colts. A Patriots win means they will take control of the AFC following Denver’s defeat to St. Louis earlier on today which is exactly what they need as they have two tough tests against the Lions and Packers coming up. New England would be a game ahead of the Broncos and two games ahead of the Colts with the head to head over both so tonight’s game is huge but will their Luck run out when they go in to the Dome tonight?

Historically the Patriots are 9-2 in their last eleven post-bye games. Bill Belichick with an extra week of preparation is a recipe for disaster for any opposing team as he will have planned everything to the exact final details along with the fact that quarterback Tom Brady’s record when playing inside a dome is 10-2 record, 26 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions I will go with a New England victory.

Prediction: Patriots 35-27 Colts

Bold Prediction: With the Colts down by a point 28-27 Andrew Luck looks to seal off a memorable 4th quarter comeback victory but a tipped play by Jamie Collins give Brandon Browner a ‘lucky’ pick 6 to gain some personal redemption after TY Hilton embarrassed him when the Colts faced the Seahawks. The return goes all the way in to the Colts end zone to put the Pats up by 8 and seal the game for New England as the Colts have just 10 seconds remaining and no timeouts!

Celtics Tweets of Interest: C’s Inconsistent Play Continues

celticsThe Boston Celtics followed up their best win of the season to this point with back-to-back home losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Such is the fate of a young team who cannot play consistently from quarter to quarter.

On November 8th, the Celtics traveled to Chicago on the second night of a back-to-back and held onto a 106-101 over the Bulls. Both teams were without their star point guards. The Celtics’ Rajon Rondo had to get a screw removed from his surgically repaired left hand. Meanwhile, the Bulls’ Derrick Rose sat out with a sore hamstring that has forced him to miss several games early in the season.

In the 109-94 loss to the Thunder, the Celtics jumped out to an 18-3 advantage over a shorthanded Thunder squad. Reggie Jackson and Anthony Morrow (both players scored 28 points) led the Thunder backcourt in a second-half comeback to wipe out the Celtics. The Thunder shot 14-of-19 from the field in the fourth quarter. This was the most frustrating loss of the season because the Thunder have been reeling without Kevin Durant (fractured foot) and Russell Westbrook (broken hand). After a strong first quarter by the Celtics, their play fell off and they failed to show much effort in the second half.

The Celtics fell to the Cavaliers with another poor fourth quarter performance. The Celtics held a 19-point lead in the third quarter, but the Cavaliers were 13-of-17 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Kyrie Irving nailed three straight three-pointers to cut the Celtics’ lead to 10 and LeBron James posted 40 points to give the Cavaliers a 122-121 victory. The Celtics had a chance to win the game on their final possession, but Rondo was unable to get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.

The Celtics are 3-5 and the schedule does not get any easier. Their next game is at home on Monday against the Phoenix Suns, who just missed the playoffs last year in the stacked Western Conference.

Here are the notable tweets from this week:

The country celebrated Veterans’ Day on Tuesday. Rondo sent this tweet in support of the United States’ military who protect Americans and the world everyday.

ESPN had another great documentary on Randy Moss on Tuesday. The documentary depicted Moss’ upbringing in Rand, West Virginia. Moss reached stardom at Marshall University as a wide receiver, but he dealt with off-field problems throughout his college and early NFL career. The 6-foot-4-inch wide receiver is considered one of the best players of all-time. He broke Jerry Rice’s single-season record for touchdown catches (23) in 2007 with the New England Patriots. Celtics guard Marcus Thornton was one of the viewers for this special on Moss.

Broncos vs Patriots: Manning vs Brady XVI

Tomorrow sees the 16th installment in the legendary rivalry between two of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game and as always there are high stakes when Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos go head to head against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

With the Patriots on a four game winning streak they have been resurgent after a slow start to the 2014 season but now find themselves at 6-2 after a 2-2 start and with a chance to place themselves in the first seed position for the playoffs if they manage to defeat Denver tomorrow. The Broncos are also on a 4 game winning streak so they will walk in to Gillette Stadium full of confidence especially having beaten the Patriots when the two teams last met in last seasons AFC Championship game.

That victory in January avenged the demons of a 34-31 comeback victory by Brady’s Patriots earlier in that season when New England rallied from a 24-0 halftime deficit to knock off the Broncos in their own back yard but with Denver’s 26-16 postseason victory a couple of months after that encounter just mentioned Manning tied his head to head postseason record against Brady to 2-2 all-time.

Unfortunately for Peyton history does suggest that the Patriots could well come out as the victors tomorrow with Brady holding a 10-5 all-time winning record over his old foe. With New England’s huge 51-23 win over Chicago last Sunday this team is slowly moving through the gears week by week and finding ways to win after winning a narrow one against the Jets 27-25 the week before and knocking off the Bills in their own backyard 37-22.

With a bye week next week for the Patriots a win tomorrow against Denver would set them up perfectly for their remaining 7 games and allow them to focus on their tough tasks ahead as they go in search of claiming home field advantage for the playoffs; something that would definitely benefit the Patriots if they have to play the Broncos in the postseason as taking Peyton Manning out of Mile High stadium would work huge favours for New England.

The most intriguing aspect of tomorrow’s matchup is the improved fortunes of both of these teams defenses and that is what makes this game a lot more interesting in comparison to the other meetings we’ve seen between these two teams in recent years. The Patriots may be without their best pass rusher in Chandler Jones but have made two additions at linebacker before the trade deadline this past Tuesday to cover for the season ending injury to Jerod Mayo and also possess the number one pass defense in the league.

Manning vs Brady Round 16

That will be put to the test by what many considering to be the most devastating offense in the NFL and one that has added a versatile running back to its armory in recent weeks to go along with the ridiculously effective passing game that Manning has going on in Denver. Peyton is tied with Andrew Luck for the most touchdowns in the league with 22 but has to just 3 interceptions to the third years 9. Manning’s efficiency will be vital to any success the Broncos want to have tomorrow especially going up against a Bill Belichick defense that thrives on forcing turnovers.

The Patriots are tied for 7th in the league with 10 forced fumbles and have recovered 8 which leaves them tied for 2nd in that category. They are also tied 8th in interceptions with 8 and 9th in sacks with 21 so you can tell that the Pats defense has been playing at a very high level. Star cornerback Darrelle Revis is back to his superstar best challenging receivers at the line of scrimmage and has locked down star studded wideouts such as AJ Green and Brandon Marshall along with rookie sensation Sammy Watkins in the first half of this season.

Add Revis to a secondary that includes the likes of Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan along with the return of Brandon Browner who made a massive personal improvement last week against the Bears following his debut against the Jets and it is clear to see this team has talent. That is not even including the players at the front of the D such as Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Rob Ninkovich and Vince Wilfork who are all key contributors to the success of this unit.

They in particular will need to step up in Chandler Jones’ absence who is arguably the Patriots best all round defensive player. As for the Broncos defense well they aren’t exactly slouches themselves after adding the likes of DeMarcus Ware, TJ Ward and Aqib Talib who left the Patriots for Denver this past offseason. Denver’s defense ranks high in key categories too; 6th in sacks with 23, 13th in interceptions with 7 but they are a lowly 31st in forced fumbles with 3 and just one recovery.

On paper despite Brady’s historical upper hand over Manning as well as the drastic improvements this Patriots offense has made week by week the Broncos offense is still edges that of New England and I feel that the outcome of this game will be decided by who wins out of the Patriots defense and Broncos offense when these two units go up against each other tomorrow.

As mentioned earlier Manning has 22 TD’s to just 3 picks and a host of weapons with the dynamic duo of Julius and Demaryius Thomas with the two having hauled in 15 of Peyton’s 22 scores this season. The other 7 are with Emmanuel Sanders who had 3 last week against the Chargers, 4 on the year, along with Jacob Tamme (2) and Wes Welker with just the one this season. Add that with running back Ronnie Hillman, he has broke on the scene in Montee Ball’s absence, who has 347 yards and 2 touchdowns in his past 4 games then you can begin to evaluate just how good this Denver offense is.

But as we know the Patriots offense is not looking too shabby either after fantastic performance after performance in October which ended with Tom Brady being announced AFC offensive Player of the month. Brady had a 129.1 passer rating, with 1,268 yards and 14 touchdowns in those 4 Patriots victories and personally I feel this has propelled him in to the MVP conversation along with Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, DeMarco Murray and JJ Watt.

Brady completed 30 of 35 passing attempts for 354 yards and 5 touchdowns last week leaving him with a quarterback rating of 148.4. Rob Gronkowski had 9 catches for 149 receiving yards and 3 TD’s and has definitely got back to his devastating best as Gronk now has 7 touchdowns this season leaving him tied for 4th. Brandon LaFell has also built up fantastic rapport with Brady and has 4 touchdowns on the year with 1 last week hauling in 124 yards in the process.

Ever since that Monday Night meltdown against the Chiefs all Brady and co have done is prove the doubters wrong. Anyone who did doubt Tom Brady’s abilities is quite frankly an idiot but he did what any fantastic player does and that was silence his critics on the field. The change in fortunes has brought a breath of fresh air along with hope in New England. Brady now has 18 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions on the year which ranks him 5th only behind Manning, Luck, Rivers and Rodgers.

Now that the Patriots have solved offensive line issues and the offense is performing at a high level you would have to say they are one of the best teams in the league due to their all round talent on defense, offense and special teams. Despite the loss of Stevan Ridley on the ground Shane Vereen has continued to be a brilliant weapon for Brady in the running and passing game and is the type of versatile player that Brady and Belichick love.

Vereen has one rushing touchdown for 281 yards giving him a 4.8 average and two receiving touchdowns for 208 yards. Jonas Gray was added to the running game fold last week and put in an impressive debut with the big bodied back racking up 98 yards off 20 carries averaging 4.9 yards a carry. If he can continue to impress he will be the Patriots’ equivalent of Denver’s Ronnie Hillman and a well welcomed running game addition to a team that possess one of the most efficient passing games in the NFL.

Gronk (7), LaFell (4), Vereen (2), Amendola (1) and Tyms (1) are the recepients of Brady’s passing scores this year but the guy who has been particularly important to the improvements of the passing game is Gronks new tight end partner Tim Wright. He possesses the other 3 Brady touchdown scores and Wright’s addition to the offense has given Brady a new tight end duo threat to trouble opposing offenses which has given Brady and the Pats offense to get all of these offensive players mentioned involved.

The rewards are key to see and after analysing both Denver and New England’s offenses tomorrows game will be a mouth watering encounter especially as we know the quality of both sides defenses as well. Personally I feel this is the most exciting regular season game since the November 7th encounter in the 2007 season when the 8-0 Patriots faced off against Manning’s 7-0 Colts. Despite the quality of both offenses both defenses can force mistakes in the opposing offenses and that is why I feel that it will be a nail biting game for fans of both teams that will end in a close one. I will go out on a limb and say that the Patriots get a repeat of that close win back in 07 and triumph over the Broncos 24-20 setting up a thrilling race for the first seed position come playoff time!

Perfect Patriots Pounce On Bengals!

 

The Cincinnati Bengals walked in to Gillette Stadium licking their chops at the possibility of defeating the New England Patriots in their own back yard but walked out on Foxborough with the same deflated feeling that the Pats had experienced themselves last week. Defeat to the Chiefs 41-14 had raised many questions over the brightness of the future for the legendary duo of Brady and Belichick but the two executed the game plan brilliantly as they rallied to an early 14-0 first quarter lead against the Bengals.

Brady was back to his magical best completing 23 of 35 passing attempts for 2 touchdowns to Tim Wright who had a breakout night and Rob Gronkowski who looks to be back to his best which is fantastic news for the Patriots. I called for Timothy Wright’s breakout game to be last week but it came last night and whilst many have questioned the Logan Mankins trade which exposed New England’s offensive line problems after his performance last night everyone will be praising the genius of Belichick as Wright, the man who moved the other way as part of that trade with Tampa Bay, had an Aaron Hernandez type performance and had 5 receptions for 85 yards and one score.

This helped Rob Gronkowski get free and avoid double coverage throughout the game with the big man catching 6 passes from Brady including the catch which saw Brady eclipse 50,000 passing yards during his NFL career becoming only the 6th quarterback to do so; Gronk finished the night with 100 yards, one score and averaged 16.7 yards per catch. The fantastic performances by the two tight ends along with an inspired performance by the offensive line which helped Brady get his flow back in the passing game as well as also helping the team establish the running game, something New England fans have been crying out for.

The 6th QB to reach the landmark for passing yards

 

Josh McDaniels made the right play calls and used the one-two punch of Ridley and Vereen to devastating effect with the two combining on the ground for 203 rushing yards; Ridley had over 100 and got one touchdown. The effectiveness in the run game really did give the Patriots the balance they needed to win the game and is something they have been renowned for having over the years. The passing game had 8 different receivers haul in a catch from Brady with the efficient display on offense seeing them post 36 points with Stephen Gotskowski kicking all 5 of his field goals successfully.

The other touchdown was a fumble return by Kyle Arrington who had a brilliant night on the defense. The defense did what I and many people expected after last weeks humiliation if not better by bouncing back in style with Darrelle Revis having his best game in a Patriot uniform to date limiting AJ Green in the passing game. Coach Belichick gave him the freedom to match up with the receiver one on one with Revis winning the battle throughout the game; Revis also had a forced fumble on a night which saw the Patriots force 3 turnovers with Jamie Collins causing the other. The Patriots also managed to get a pass rush going which unsettled Andy Dalton at times who despite actually having a good night personally, 15/24 for two touchdowns, suffered as the rest of the team around him depleted.

The 43-17 victory is just the bounce back performance that the New England Patriots needed to silence the doubters and get their season back up and running. They now sit joint first in the AFC East with a 3-2 record ahead of two divisional games coming up against the Bills next Sunday and the New York Jets the following week on Thursday Night Football. Before the Chiefs game I sang the Patriots praises regarding their ability of performing under the lights of prime time television and while last week didn’t go too well for them they sure as hell did last night! Brady now owns a 13-8 record on Sunday Night Fooball and the Patriots are an NFL best 38-9 in the month of October since 2003 including a home record of 23-1 in that time which is very impressive.

Brady was all fired up after guiding New England to victory

Brady himself knows there’s a long way to go on the season but to beat a team that many had down as the most complete in the conference has to boost morale; this victory was New England’s 32nd straight regular season victory at home against AFC opposition. That record will definitely be put to the test in week 9 when they host Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos which comes after the two divisional matchups mentioned earlier on and just after a home encounter against the Chicago Bears. That means that 3 of the Patriots next 4 games are at Gillette Stadium which could give this team even more confidence before they head in to their bye week come week 10.

So Brady and co are back with a vengeance with the quarterback’s career record after a loss now standing at 35 wins with just 8 losses (won last 9). As well as this since 2009 in 33 games Brady is 29-4 throwing 65 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions with a QB rating of 112. Anyone who questioned the Patriots will now surely feel foolish and the team will now have their road trip to Buffalo in sight as they look to take control of the division which this win many analysts and experts will expect them to do. This may have been just one game but it showed the heart as well as the spirit that this New England team has and that is something you cannot teach and will definitely come in hand throughout the long regular season and more importantly come playoff time.

The End Of An Era? Bengals vs Patriots

Following last Monday’s humiliation at Arrowhead Stadium the New England Patriots and Tom Brady in particular have come under a lot of criticism. Last week was one of Tom Brady’s worst ever performance in the NFL with the future hall of fame quarterback finishing the game sitting on the sidelines looking deflated and just pure angry.

But you see this is when Tom Brady always brings out his best, right in the face of adversity. We all know this fairytale story; drafted as the 199th pick in round 6 back in the 2000 draft to then go on and move up the depth chart from 4th string quarterback all the way to beating out the well established Drew Bledsoe and then go on to new unthinkable heights as Brady made a massive contribution to the Patriots dynasty that won 3 Super Bowl titles in 4 years (2001 season, 2003 and 2004)

Since then he has only furthered his legacy making two more Super Bowl’s, winning MVP awards in 2007 and 2010, most playoff wins as a quarterback with 18 playoff wins among many other records so yes the list is endless. Now I or any other NFL fanatic could sit here all day praising Tom Brady’s abilities but after last Monday’s blowout defeat to the Chiefs the question is that is there any more magic left from Tom Terrific?

Tom Terrific has it all to prove again starting with tonight

Well I say yes there is but there are definitely more concerns around this Patriot’s offense now then there have been over the past decade. 2nd year wide-out Kenbrell Thompkins was released yesterday which leaves the receiving core with Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson and Brandon LaFell along with special teams specialist Matthew Slater and undrafted free agent Brian Tyms who remains inactive.

Edelman is a fantastic receiver but when your best receiver is a former high school quarterback that says it all. Amendola was supposed to be the second coming of Amendola but the realistic scenario happened with him being a flop. Dobson has a lot of potential but injuries have haunted him over this first quarter of the season and I personally feel like LaFell is building up a good rapport with Brady albeit rather slow; he was one of if not the only positive from last week’s loss in Kansas.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski remains Brady best and most reliable weapon in this offense as he is a superstar when healthy but unfortunately he’ll take time to get back to his best. Brady is not surrounded with the weapons that Peyton Manning has right now in Denver but Colts fans from the past will say Brady had better weapons at his disposal when the two use to face of years ago. That debate is for another day but one things for sure Tom Brady is a man who is known for making average receivers look good.

Sadly for Brady you can’t do that when you have a depleted offensive line and the play-calling is terrible. Josh McDaniels was using Vereen as a 3 down back last week which was horrible as every Patriot knows his skills come off screen and trick plays. While I have criticised running back Stevan Ridley in the past there are no denying this young mans talents; he finished last season with 10 touchdowns in the regular season and 2 in the divisional round playoff win against the Colts.

The Patriots need to establish a running game to take the pressure off Brady as at the moment opposing defenses are not afraid of the passing game and a talented group like Cincinnati will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing New England tonight. Despite 9 out of 10 people ruling the Patriots out tonight I personally think they will bounce back and win tonight as the Pats defense has so much talent and will put in a much better performance than last week which will provide a platform for the rest of the team to believe again.

 

Brady may not have the weapons that everyone believes he deserves but that can’t be changed and the Patriots just need to get on with it. Once the team has a offensive line that is starting together regularly then they’ll hope that in time it will come good. Many people will be choosing the Bengals to walk in to Gillette stadium and win tonight but I remember last season when the 4-0 Patriots walked in to Paul Brown Stadium against the 2-2 Bengals with all the praise in the world being heaped on the Patriots only for them to lose 13-6 in a game which was contested in monsoon like weather.

A year later and now the tables have turned with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick saying in his press conference that “They [The Bengals] have a lot of good players. They’re well-coached. They’re tough, they’re physical, they’re explosive. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a team that’s as complete as they are.” so yes tonight will be a heavy challenge but the turnover in who is the top dogs in the NFL is what makes it so exciting to watch. That is why Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots deserve so much credit for the level of consistency they have shown for over the past 10 years. They thrive off adversity and will take it head on when it’s right in their face, some people say good things can’t last forever well I think tonight will prove otherwise and whether it’s ugly or pretty the Patriots will move on to 3-2 and leave the Bengals at 3-1 come the end of Sunday Night Football.

 

 Prediction: Bengals 24-27 Patriots

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