Clashing with the Titans!

This Sunday, the Patriots head down to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans (4-4) in a rematch of last year’s AFC divisional round game. The Pats enter this contest at 7-2, with hopes of keeping pace with the conference-leading Chiefs.

Here are some things to consider entering this Week 10 matchup.

1. The offense faces a tough matchup in Tennessee

The Patriots’ offense has really found its rhythm in recent weeks, as they’ve figured out a way to shuffle their personnel in order to make up for injuries (specifically Rob Gronkowski and Sony Michel). Tom Brady has been able to rely on the duo of Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon to move the ball down the field and the running back combination of James White and Cordarrelle Patterson has proven to be extremely potent for the team.

This week’s matchup will be challenging as they take on the NFL’s top scoring defense in the Titans, who have a swarming defensive line and a great group of linebackers. For the Pats to be successful, they will need to target the Titans’ susceptible secondary.

pats titans preview
(Matthew J. Lee/Boston Globe)

2. Will the Pats’ defense continue to succeed?

The Patriots’ defense appeared to turn a corner during last week’s victory against the Packers, as they got after Aaron Rodgers and limited Green Bay to 17 points. One of the key factors in the victory was the pass rush’s ability to keep Rodgers in the pocket, with Trey Flowers and Adrian Clayborn leading the way. That will be essential to replicate this week as they face off with the mobile Marcus Mariota, who is coming off a performance in Dallas where he was able to dissect the Cowboys’ defense with his ability to run for first downs. The Pats will also need to fortify the line of scrimmage to combat the efficient combination of Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry.

Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty have also been essential cogs in the secondary’s revitalization over the last few weeks, and if they continue to play well on Sunday, the Pats will have a good chance of emerging victorious in Nashville.

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(Adam Richins/ Boston Sports Journal)

3. Facing off against ex-Patriots

The Pats will be taking on familiar faces this Sunday when they head to Tennessee. As mentioned earlier, Dion Lewis has become an essential part of the Titans’ offense, after 3 seasons with the Patriots. Lewis is not missed in New England, because James White has emerged into a true #1 back for Josh McDaniels’ offense.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Titans feature 2 ex-Patriot cornerbacks in Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan. Ryan left the Patriots following their victory in Super Bowl LI, while Butler left following the loss in Super Bowl LII. Ryan was a great contributor for the Pats, but was replaced during the 2017 off-season with the signing of Stephon Gilmore. Butler’s departure from New England was much more controversial due to him being benched during Super Bowl LII, which made several pundits question how the Pats’ secondary function without him. Bill Belichick’s decision to move on from Butler has appeared to be wise so far, as Butler has given up 7 touchdowns in 8 games.

The Titans are coached by Mike Vrabel who was a linebacker on the Patriots for 8 seasons, and won 3 Super Bowls with the team. This will be the first time Bill Belichick coaches against a former player.

butler lewis .jpg
(Photo via Getty Images)

Injury Report:

Patriots

  • Trent Brown (illness) – Questionable
  • *Rob Gronkowski (ankle/knee) – Out
  • Dont’a Hightower (knee) – Questionable
  • Jacob Hollister (hamstring) – Questionable
  • Shaq Mason (calf) – Questionable
  • **Sony Michel (knee) – Will play

Titans

  • Jack Conklin (concussion) – Out
  • Dane Cruikshank (knee) – Questionable
  • Taywan Taylor (foot) – Questionable
  • Derrick Morgan (shoulder) – Questionable
  • Tajae Sharpe (ankle) – Questionable
  • Bennie Logan (knee) – Questionable

Prediction: Patriots 28, Titans 17

Here are my picks for the rest of the NFL’s Week 10 contests (excluding Thursday Night Football)

Last week: 8-4

Saints at Bengals: Saints

Falcons at Browns: Falcons

Lions at Bears: Bears

Cardinals at Chiefs: Chiefs

Redskins at Buccaneers: Buccaneers

Bills at Jets: Jets

Jaguars at Colts: Colts

Chargers at Raiders: Chargers

Seahawks at Rams: Rams

Dolphins at Packers: Packers

Cowboys at Eagles: Eagles

Giants at 49ers: 49ers

* and ** – Updated on game day based on information released by the Patriots

The Pats blow past the Packers on Sunday Night Football!

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The Patriots had a complete team effort last night, as they beat the Green Bay Packers (3-4-1) 31-17 to improve to 7-2 on the season. This performance by the Pats is heavily encouraging as they enter the second half of the season.

Here are some takeaways from yesterday’s game.

1. The offensive’s creativity led them to victory

The Patriots played last night without two of their most important offensive contributors in Rob Gronkowski and Sony Michel, so Josh McDaniels had to be creative for the Patriots to have success against a tough Green Bay defense. The Patriots started out the game with a laser-quick pace as they went no-huddle on their opening drive which spanned 59 yards and resulted in a James White touchdown. Things looked dire in the second quarter when White went down with what appeared to be a knee injury, but the creativity of the Pats helped them weather through the rest of the half without their top running back. Similarly to last week’s win at Buffalo, the Pats used Cordarrelle Patterson as a running back, and Patterson did not disappoint, as he totaled 61 yards and 1 touchdown off of 11 carries. 

Tom Brady was not at his best for a majority of the game, but he did make throws when it counted. Brady finished yesterday’s game with 294 passing yards and 1 touchdown. A trick play in the fourth quarter helped the Pats gain a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish, as Brady tossed the ball to Edelman, who proceeded to loft it to White, which resulted in a 37-yard catch and run that brought the ball into the red zone and eventually gave the Pats a 24-17 lead. Josh Gordon delivered the dagger with a 55 yard touchdown that capped off his best performance as a Patriot (5 receptions for 130 yards), even though he dealt with a dislocated finger. White (6 receptions for 72 yards) and Edelman (6 receptions for 71 yards) were also important cogs in the passing game.

Continuing to play like this will be huge for the Patriots as the season progresses.

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(Mathew J. Lee/ Boston Globe)

2. The defense came to play last night

The defense had arguably their best performance of the season last night as they held Aaron Rodgers and his offense to just 17 points. The Pats were able to get after Rodgers and keep him in the pocket, as they sacked him 1 time (to go along with 6 QB hits). Rodgers did not have one of his typically remarkable performances, as he did look confused/indecisive at times (due to the Pats’ pressure and coverage schemes), and he finished with 259 yards and 2 touchdowns. Other than an outstanding performance for receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, the Pats were mostly able to eliminate Green Bay’s weapons, as Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham were not very involved throughout the game. Stephon Gilmore had a great game matched up against Adams, as he only allowed 2 catches for 15 yards, which continued his great stretch of performances since the Pats’ Week 3 loss at Detroit.

The play of the game arguably came during the first play of the fourth quarter when the game was tied at 17 and it appeared as if Green Bay was going to take the lead. Lawrence Guy forced Aaron Jones to fumble and the Pats recovered, which resulted in them scoring a touchdown. On the next Green Bay drive, the Pats forced the Packers to turnover on downs, and essentially sealed the deal.

Giving up only 17 points to a potent offense and coming up clutch in the fourth quarter is huge for the Pats’ defense as they enter the latter half of the season.

aaron jones fumble.jpg
(Nancy Lane/ Boston Herald)

Statistical Leaders

Patriots

  • Passing: Tom Brady – 22/35 for 294 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Rushing: Cordarrelle Patterson – 11 carries for 61 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Receiving: Josh Gordon – 5 catches for 130 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Defensive: Kyle Van Noy – 9 tackles

Packers

  • Passing: Aaron Rodgers – 24/43 for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns
  • Rushing: Aaron Jones – 14 carries for 76 yards
  • Receiving: Marquez Valdes-Scantling – 3 catches for 101 yards
  • Defensive: Antonio Morrison – 8 tackles

Bonus: The Pats wore their gorgeous Color Rush alternates for the second and final time this season.

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(Charles Krupa/ AP)

What’s next?: The Pats head down to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans (3-4) in a rematch of last year’s divisional playoff game won by the Patriots. Tennessee features ex-Patriots such as Malcolm Butler, Dion Lewis, and Logan Ryan.

 

 

 

 

Monday Night in Buffalo!

The Pats travel to Buffalo this week to take on their rival, the Buffalo Bills (2-5) on Monday Night Football, with hopes of improving to 6-2 on the season. The rivalry has been rather lopsided in favor of the Pats over the last two decades… Will Monday Night be more of the same?

Here are a few things to consider entering this Week 8 matchup.

1. Will the offense continue to shine?

 The Patriots offense has been otherworldly over the last 4 weeks, as they have averaged nearly 40 points per game, while moving the ball down the field with ease. They face a perplexing opponent in the Buffalo defense, which has had its moments throughout the season. For example, they were able to shut down the potent Vikings offense, along with the brash Titans running game, while being dissected by teams like the Colts and Chargers. The Pats will be without standout rookie RB Sony Michel who suffered a knee injury during last week’s win at Chicago, and may or may not have Rob Gronkowski in the lineup, due to ankle and knee injuries. 

If Gronk sits this week, expect the Pats to rely on what worked last week in Chicago, which was using James White and Julian Edelman across the middle, while stretching the field with Josh Gordon and Chris Hogan. They probably won’t be in a shootout this week due to injuries in Buffalo’s offense, but expect the Pats to put up a lot of points.

brady v bills preview w8.jpg
(Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

 

2. Will the defense finally have a consistent outing?

 The Pats defense’s struggles over the last few weeks has been well-documented, as they have not been consistent in stopping either the run or the pass. They have been able to create turnovers (6 interceptions in the last 3 games), but at the same time, it’s hard to deny that they are extremely porous in the secondary, which makes them heavily susceptible to big plays down the field. They also suffer from an inability to stop the run consistently, as evidenced by Mitch Trubisky’s 81 rushing yards last week. 

Luckily enough for the Pats, they’re facing a Bills team that is without their top quarterback and running back (Josh Allen and LeSean McCoy, respectively), which may make it easier for them to earn a victory. The usually inept Colts defense was able to hold the Bills to 5 points last week with Derek Anderson at QB, which is an encouraging sign for the Pats defense. 

bills pats w8 previ.jpg
(Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

 

Injury Report:

Patriots

  • Sony Michel (knee) – Out
  • Eric Rowe (groin) – Doubtful
  • Brian Schwenke (foot) – Doubtful
  • Trent Brown (ankle) – Questionable
  • Marcus Cannon (concussion) – Questionable
  • Josh Gordon (hamstring) – Questionable
  • Geneo Grissom (ankle) – Questionable
  • Rob Gronkowski (ankle/back) – Questionable
  • Dont’a Hightower (knee) – Questionable
  • Jacob Hollister (hamstring) – Questionable
  • John Simon (shoulder) – Questionable
  • Deatrich Wise (ankle/knee) – Questionable

Bills

  • Josh Allen (elbow) – Out
  • Taiwan Jones (neck) – Doubtful
  • Trent Murphy (knee) – Doubtful
  • LeSean McCoy (concussion) – Doubtful
  • Derek Anderson (back/calf) – Questionable
  • Chris Ivory (hamstring) – Questionable

 

Prediction: Patriots 28, Bills 10

Here are my predictions for the rest of the NFL’s Week 8 contests.

Last week: 12-2

Dolphins at Texans: Texans

Eagles at Jaguars: Eagles

Broncos at Chiefs: Chiefs

Browns at Steelers: Steelers

Redskins at Giants: Redskins

Seahawks at Lions: Lions

Buccaneers at Bengals: Bengals

Jets at Bears: Bears

Ravens at Panthers: Panthers

Colts at Raiders: Colts

49ers at Cardinals: Cardinals

Packers at Rams: Rams

Saints at Vikings: Vikings

 

The Pats tame the Bears in thrilling game at Soldier Field!

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CHI 10 7 7 7 31

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7 14 10 7 38

The Patriots outlasted the Chicago Bears (3-3) in a back-and-forth game at Soldier Field, with a 38-31 victory that improved them to 5-2 on the season. Playing without key contributors on offense and an inconsistent defense, the Pats relied on special teams to pull out their first road victory of the year.

Here are some takeaways from today’s game.

1. The offense was brilliant once again without key playmakers

The Pats took on the Bears without Rob Gronkowski, who didn’t make the trip to Chicago due to back and ankle injuries. They started the game hot, as they dissected the vaunted Bears defense en route to a Julian Edelman touchdown on their opening drive. However, things went downhill from there, as their third drive resulted in Sony Michel suffering a knee injury (which did not look good) and a fumble that helped Chicago take a 17-7 lead. The Patriots displayed their mental fortitude as they were able to bounce back and regain the lead in the second quarter. Tom Brady was his usual self, as he threw for over 270 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with an interception. James White and Kenjon Barner served as a serviceable running back duo, as they helped spread the field for the Patriots. Without Gronk in the lineup, the Pats relied on their trio of receivers in Julian Edelman (5 catches for 36 yards and 1 touchdown), Josh Gordon (4 catches for 100 yards), and Chris Hogan (6 catches for 63 yards). The offensive line performed well against the talented Chicago pass rush, as Brady was only sacked 1 time, and was not touched much throughout the game.

 Sony Michel’s injury is concerning for the rest of the season, as he had proved himself to be a valuable contributor, and the combination of Michel and White was extremely potent for Josh McDaniels’ offense. There hasn’t been any word on the severity of his injury, but let’s hope that he isn’t out for an extended period of time. I also believe that the Patriots shouldn’t rush Rob Gronkowski back into the lineup, as I think that it’s important to allow him to recover and stay healthy as the season progresses.  

White v bears w7.jpg
(Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

2. The defense had another up-and-down performance

Following their dreadful performance against the Chiefs, it was interesting to see how the Pats’ defense would rebound against Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offense, and the best word to describe their performance is inconsistent. Early on in the game, they were able to shut down Chicago’s passing game, but they could not contain Trubisky outside of the pocket, as he frequently scampered for first downs off of big gains. Trubisky had a 8-yard touchdown run, and also had a 39-yard run during which he maneuvered around hapless Patriots’ defenders. Despite their inability to stop Trubisky from running the ball, the Pats were able to make life hard for his receivers, as only Trey Burton (9 receptions for 126 yards and 1 touchdown) and Tarik Cohen (8 catches for 69 yards and 1 touchdown) had great performances. Another area of concern for the Pats was their number of penalties (4 penalties for 29 yards), which helped to extend drives for Chicago. 

The Pats were able to make up for their early miscues, as they forced Trubisky into 2 second half interceptions and most of Chicago’s fourth quarter yardage came in garbage time. Today’s game ended in thrilling fashion, as the Bears’ Hail Mary attempt resulted in Kevin White being tackled at the one-yard line, due to a wall of defenders led by Duron Harmon.

pats bears hial mary
(Photo by John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

3. Special Teams came up big!

The Patriots’ special teams did not start very well today, as Cordarrelle Patterson fumbled a kickoff which gave the Bears fantastic field position and led to them snatching the lead. Patterson was able to recover from his miscue, as he returned a second quarter kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown, as he outmaneuvered the Bears’ kickoff unit and helped the Patriots trim their deficit to 17-14. In the third quarter, Dont’a Hightower blocked a punt, which led to a touchdown by Kyle Van Noy which gave the Patriots a lead that they would never relinquish. Interestingly enough, this was the first game in Patriots’ history that featured the men in blue score on a blocked punt and a kickoff. It’s always heartening to see special teams step up when the team requires a spark in order to emerge victorious. 

patterson kickoff w7
(Photo by Barry Chin/ Boston Globe)

Statistical Leaders:

Patriots

  • Passing: Tom Brady – 25/36 for 277 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception
  • Rushing: James White – 11 carries for 40 yards
  • Receiving: Josh Gordon – 4 catches for 100 yards 
  • Defensive: Patrick Chung – 6 tackles

Bears

  • Passing: Mitch Trubisky – 26/50 for 333 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions
  • Rushing: Mitch Trubisky – 6 carries for 81 yards, and 1 touchdown
  • Receiving: Trey Burton – 9 catches for 126 yards, and 1 touchdown
  • Defensive: Danny Trevathan – 10 tackles

 

What’s next?: The Pats head to Buffalo to take on their rival, the Buffalo Bills (2-5) on Monday Night Football.  

 

 

The Pats overcome a sloppy second half to put away the Colts!

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Yesterday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts (1-4) was truly a tale of two halves, as the Patriots started blistering hot in the first half, but made a series of mental mistakes in the second half that enabled Andrew Luck and the Colts to get back in the game. Thankfully, Bill Belichick’s team was able to get their act together, and close out Indy with a final score of 38-24 in order to improve to 3-2 on the season.

Here are some takeaways from last night’s victory.

1. TB12 and the offense will only continue to get better

The major headline leading into yesterday’s game was the return of Julian Edelman from his 4 game suspension. #11 did not miss a beat, as he caught the game’s first pass, and also had 2 other receptions on the Patriots’ first drive which spanned 6 minutes and put the Patriots up early. Edelman had 7 receptions for 57 yards, which may not look very special, but it’s hard to deny the impact his presence had on the rest of the offense.

Tom Brady had a pretty good game last night, as he completed 34 of 44 passes for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns, to go along with 2 interceptions ( more on those later). Brady was surgically efficient right from the get-go, and his successful night can be attributed to the offensive line’s remarkable performance, as he was rarely touched or disturbed throughout the game. Last night’s performance for the GOAT can also be described as record breaking, as he completed a touchdown to a record 71st different receiver, and also reached 500 touchdowns on his career (only Peyton Manning and Brett Favre have more).

Brady also had solid contributions from his other pass-catchers, including James White (10 receptions for 77 yards and 1 touchdown) and Rob Gronkowski (6 receptions for 75 yards), who enabled the Patriots to stretch the field with ease. Josh Gordon certainly frustrated both fantasy owners and Brady in the first half, but he proved his worth in the second half with 2 catches for 50 yards, including a 34 yard jaw-dropping touchdown under double coverage in the fourth quarter which helped put the game away. It’s important to note that Gordon is dealing with a nagging hamstring injury and is still getting acclimated with the Patriots’ system. Hence, Brady having the confidence to fling a deep ball to Gordon speaks volumes about the work he has put in and makes us optimistic about his future with the team.

Sony Michel had another solid performance on the ground, as he had 18 carries for 98 yards and a game-sealing 34-yard touchdown. Michel has clearly improved as the season has progressed, and his elusiveness and decision-making make him a threat to be wary of for opposing defenses.

At the same time, yesterday’s game was not without blunders for the Brady Bunch. As mentioned earlier, #12 had 2 interceptions which cannot be completely pinned on him. The first interception went through the hands of Chris Hogan and right into the hands of a Colts defender, while the second one was caused by a defender smashing Gronk, which tipped the ball to another Colts defender. These two plays occurred in the red zone, when the Pats were driving and threatening to extend their lead over Indy. As a result, instead of going up 31-10 and finishing the game, they gave the Colts new life and only a 7 point deficit.

Another thing to pay attention to is Gronk’s lingering ankle injury, as he was noticably limping throughout the game. Gronk’s health will be vital for the Patriots to have a chance at another Super Bowl run.

There were enough bright spots in yesterday’s game to be highly optimistic about the performance of the offense for the rest of the season.

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(Photo by Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

2. The defense was very inconsistent

The Pats’ defense was rock solid in the first half, as they were able to limit the Colts to 3 points, which allowed the Pats to take a 24-3 halftime lead. However, they allowed Andrew Luck and the Colts offense to find a rhythm in the second half, as Indy was able to trim their deficit to 24-17. It was disappointing to see the pass rush only sack Luck once, considering the very public struggles the Indianapolis offensive line has had over the last few seasons. Also, Devin McCourty had a dreadful game last night, as he gave up two touchdowns on man coverage.

At the same time, the secondary was opportunistic, as they were able to pick off Luck twice. Devin McCourty also made up for his blunders by ripping the ball from a Colts running back in the third quarter (following Brady’s first interception). I think it’s fair to say that the offense’s sloppy start to the second half put the defense in unfavorable circumstances. On the plus side, the Pats defense will have 10 days to regroup and study film before their big matchup with the Chiefs in Week 6.

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(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Statistical Leaders:

Patriots

Passing: Tom Brady – 34/44 for 341 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception

Rushing: Sony Michel – 18 carries for 98 yards and 1 touchdown

Receiving: James White – 10 receptions for 77 yards and 1 touchdown off of 14 targets

Defensive: Devin McCourty – 11 tackles and one forced/recovered fumble

Colts

Passing: Andrew Luck – 38/59 for 365 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions

Rushing: Nyheim Hines – 15 carries for 45 yards

Receiving: Eric Ebron – 9 receptions for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns off of 15 targets

Defensive: Lenzy Pipkins – 6 tackles

 

Bonus: Take a look at what @CaptAndrewLuck had to say about last night’s game.

What’s next?: The Pats have a big matchup against Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) which could very well help to decide home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs down the line.

The Pats get back on track by squishing the Fish!

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The Patriots squashed the rumors of their supposed demise by absolutely annihilating the Miami Dolphins 38-7 to improve to 2-2 on the season. The Pats were dominant on both sides of the ball from the get-go and never let Miami find a rhythm.

Here are some takeaways from today’s victory.

1. Michel and White lead the way!

One major criticism of the Patriots over the past three weeks was that their over-reliance on rookie RB Sony Michel had not paid dividends for the offense as it made them increasingly one dimensional. That narrative changed today, as Michel rewarded the Patriots’ faith in him with a 112 yard performance off of 25 carries. #26 showed why he deserved to be a first round draft choice as he consistently fooled Miami defenders with his shifty moves. Michel capped off his breakout game with his first NFL touchdown.

Veteran James White was also a key cog in the Pats’ victory, as he was essential in both the passing and rushing attacks. White had 8 receptions for 68 yards and a receiving touchdown and 8 carries for 44 yards  and a rushing touchdown. 

If the Patriots can have Michel and White constantly dominate on the ground, it will be hard to stop the Brady Bunch!

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(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

2. TB12 and the receivers bounce back!

Tom Brady had a vintage performance against Miami as he completed 65% of his passes for over 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brady was able to dissect the Dolphins following a shaky first quarter, and constantly led the Patriots down the field to increase their lead. 

The Patriots’ wide receivers also had a strong outing against Miami as they were able to win their individual matchups against the Dolphins’ strong secondary and get open down the field. Phillip Dorsett followed up his catch-less game against Detroit with 4 catches for 55 yards to go along with an acrobatic touchdown at the end of the second quarter.

Josh Gordon also made his debut as a Patriot today, as he was on the field for 18 of the Patriots’ 78 offensive snaps. Gordon had 2 catches for 32 yards (with both catches coming on third down), and he clearly made his presence felt whenever he was on the field. Gordon had a key block on James White’s 22-yard touchdown and also drew a defensive holding penalty. Gordon showed off his growing rapport with Brady and the rest of the offense and it’s not hard to be excited about the potential of Gordon when he’s fully acclimated with the Patriots’ offense.

However, there are still things to be concerned about for the Patriots’ offense. Tom Brady got clobbered throughout the game, and the pressure clearly impacted his decision-making at times, as evidenced by his 2 interceptions. Also, Rob Gronkowski left the game in the third quarter due to a ankle injury, which should be monitored closely leading into Week 5.

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(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

3. Don’t count out the defense!

The Patriots’ defense silenced their critics with an absolutely brilliant performance against the Dolphins. It’s not hard to imagine that Bill Belichick ripped apart his defense for their evident lack of speed against the Lions, as they were swarming against Miami. One of my major questions from the preview of this game was if the Patriots would be able to contain Ryan Tannehill, Danny Amendola, Kenny Stills or Kenyan Drake, and I think it’s safe to say that the Patriots were able to do so. Tannehill only had 100 passing yards along with an interception and a fumble, Amendola had 2 catches for 21 yards, Stills had 3 catches for 40 yards, and Drake had 3 rushes for 3 yards. The return of Trey Flowers was key for the Patriots, as he helped to revitalize their pass rush. Continuing to play like this will be heavily important for the Pats, as their slate over the next 5-7 weeks will be extremely difficult.

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(Photo by Matthew J. Lee/Boston Globe)

What’s next?: The Pats have a short week as they welcome Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts (1-3) on Thursday Night Football. 

News roundup: Josh Gordon, Matt Patricia & more!

Here are some of the latest headlines in the world of the Patriots.

 

1. Boom or Bust?: The Pats add Josh Gordon

One of the major takeaways from the Pats’ debacle against the Jacksonville Jaguars was that the offense appeared to lack a true playmaker at the wide receiver position who could take pressure off of Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady. The Patriots appeared to solve that problem when they acquired the talented (but troubled) Josh Gordon from the Cleveland Browns. Gordon has suffered from substance abuse for a majority of his life, which has resulted in him missing several seasons of action following the 2013 season when he led the NFL in receiving yards (including a 151 yard game against the Patriots). When it was announced that the Browns intended to get rid of Gordon, numerous people began connecting him to the Pats and joking about his possible success in the New England system.

Many analysts and pundits also compared the acquisition of Gordon to the trade for Randy Moss in 2007, but I don’t think that that is the right comparison, as Moss was heavily disgruntled in Oakland. On the other hand, Gordon has more problems in his personal life, and needs to find a way to fight the illness of addiction. Josh Gordon has the potential to either be the next Randy Moss or the next Chad Ochocinco, as his talent is undeniable, but he has to be able to adjust to the so-called ‘Patriots Way’ as well. To sum up my thoughts on Josh Gordon’s addition to the Pats’ offense, he should be able to serve as a dynamic playmaker on the field, but it’s no guarantee that he’ll be as effective as he was in 2013.

2. R-E-L-A-X

NFL fans would recognize this subtitle as the phrase famously coined by Aaron Rodgers following the Green Bay Packers’ slow start to the 2014 season. It’s always funny to see how pundits immediately turn against the Pats when they have a brutal loss to start their season, and this season is no different, as many people have already questioned if the Pats are now in panic mode. To those who are concerned, look at the following tweet.

The Pats always seem to have a clunker in the early phases of the season, but Bill Belichick and Co. usually find a way to weather the storm and compete in the playoffs. So, R-E-L-A-X!

3. New book alleges that Brady and Belichick’s relationship is worse than originally thought

In his new book, Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time, ESPN columnist, Ian O’Connor alleges that the relationship between Brady and Belichick is actually worse than what has been previously reported. One of the key points mentioned by O’Connor is that TB12 seriously considered not coming back to the Patriots this year, as he was tired of playing for Belichick, but he did not do so due to his undying passion for the game and the fear of alienating Patriots’ fans. I personally do not buy into the idea that there is that much friction between the two most important members of the Patriots organization, but it is worth reading the ESPN article attached below.

 

4. Patrica on Belichick and the Lions

Later on this week, the Pats head to Detroit to take on the Lions, and their former defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia, who have not had the greatest start to their season. Amidst the criticism, Patricia had an interesting conversation with ESPN, where he described Belichick’s influence, and his desire to not build the Detroit version of the Patriots.

Take a look at the article attached below.