January 2011. The New York Jets traveled to Foxboro to face the red-hot New England Patriots in a divisional round playoff game. Just a month earlier the Patriots had beaten the Jets on that same field 45-3. However, the playoff matchup was a vastly different story. The Jets physically and mentally beat New England en route to a 28-21 victory that wasn’t as close as the score would indicate.
The Jets confused the Patriots, beat them physically, and forced them into uncharacteristic mistakes. Since that day, the two franchises have gone in opposite directions with the Jets losing the AFC Championship game and missing the playoffs the next three seasons while the Patriots went to three straight AFC Championship games and one Super Bowl. Continue reading Patriots and Jets: Two Teams Heading in Oppositte Directions »
Tags: Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis, Jets, Patriots, Rex Ryan, Tom Brady
Just two games remain in the season. Still, though, several teams remain alive. Even in the NFC, with the way so many of the best teams are playing, one loss means the difference between #2 and #6. In the AFC, the strong North Division, Johnny Football excepted of course, is threatening to put three teams in the postseason, though plenty of other teams a game behind are looming. The AFC has locked up three division winners, while only one playoff spot is clinched in the NFC so far. With so much to decide, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, December 16: Continue reading If the Playoffs Started Today – NFL Week 15 »
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, NFL Playoffs, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks
It never gets old winning the AFC East. At the start of every year, we have to listen to all the “experts” talk about how the Bills, Dolphins, and Jets are all primed to challenge the Patriots for the division crown. Granted the Bills actually have an impressive defense, and if they only had a legitimate quarterback they might pose a challenge int he future. But every year in December it’s the Patriots who sit atop the AFC East and remind everyone that it is still their division to lose. This of course is just the first goal of every year for them. The ultimate is still winning the fourth Lombardi Trophy in February.
- I’ve compared this team to the 2003 team on a couple of occasions, and Sunday’s win was very reminiscent of their 31-0 win over the Bills in week 17 of that season. As you may remember the Bills embarrassed the Patriots in week one by the same 31-0 score. It came after Belichick cut long time captain Lawyer Milloy and the critics hounded Belichick for the way he coached his team. Similarly this year the Dolphins made it look easy in an upset win during week one of the season. Then the Dolphins did what the rest of the AFC East does when they beat the Patriots, they opened their mouths
. The Patriots used the remarks as bulletin board material, and they clearly didn’t quit in the second half as they outscored the Dolphins 27-0. Sunday was a friendly reminder that if anyone is trying to unseat the Patriots they’ll have to pry it from Brady and Belichick’s cold, lifeless fingers.
Continue reading Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East »
Tags: Alan Branch, Bill Belichick, Brandon Browner, Bryan Stork, Cameron Flemming, Chandler Jones, Damien William, Dan Connolly, Dolphins, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jonas Gray, Julian Edelman, Marcus Cannon, Nate Solder, Patriots, Rob Gronkowski, ryan wendell, Sealver Siliga, Sebastian Vollmer, Stephen Gostkowski, Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork
One of the biggest stories following the Patriots 23-14 win in San Diego was a second half hit delivered by cornerback Brandon Browner. On the play, Browner delivered a jarring hit on Chargers’ tight end Ladarius Green forcing the ball to pop up in the air. Patriots’ safety Devin McCourty caught the ball out of the air and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown in what looked to be a game changing play. However, on the play a flag was thrown for a helmet to helmet hit on Browner, negating the interception and touchdown plus giving the Chargers a 15 yard gain due to the penalty.
Upon review of the hit, Browner led with his shoulder and there was no helmet t helmet contact. It was a textbook hit, exactly how the NFL teaches defenders to hit. This led many observers to believe that this was a “reputation call” on Browner because he has accumulated a high number of penalties in his career. It also begs the question: why aren’t these calls reviewable? Continue reading Brandon Browner Hit Calls League Review Rules Into Question »
Tags: Brandon Browner, Chargers, Devin McCourty, Ladarius Green, Patriots
Just three games remain in the season. No one clear contender has emerged, and the AFC Wildcard hunt could especially turn upside down in the next three weeks. The AFC South will now mathematically be won by a team that finishes .500 or worse. Despite leading the NFC, questions remain about Arizona’s ability to compete with the best in their current state. The Rams, with two straight shutouts, are poised to be a really big spoiler. With December football set to be as great as always, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Wednesday, December 10: Continue reading If the Playoffs Started Today – NFL Week 14 »
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, NFL Playoffs, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks
Sunday night wasn’t pretty by any means, but games in December and January usually aren’t. Both the Patriots and Chargers needed the victory but each had their own reasons. The Patriots needed the win to keep pace in the AFC and hold onto the number one seed. The Chargers, on the other hand, needed the win to keep their playoff hopes alive against the competitive AFC field. With the offense not exactly looking sharp, the defense rose to the occasion on the road. Strong play all around defensively kept the Patriots in it long enough for Tom Brady and the offense to finally put it together. The end result was a bounce back win on the road, against a tough, playoff-caliber team.
- “Next man up,” has always been the Patriots philosophy, but no more so than the last two seasons. We all remember how decimated the team was with injuries last season, only to still make it to the AFC championship game. This year, they again lost Jerod Mayo for the season, and Sunday night saw Dont’a Hightower on the inactive list. Hightower had stepped up in a major way becoming the signal caller on the defense in Mayo’s absence. He along side Jamie Collins had successfully held down the linebacker positions. Without Hightower, a drop off in production could have been expected. Instead Jamie Collins played his best game as a pro. Continue reading Notes and Observations Week 14: Patriots Grind Out a Tough 23-14 Win Over Chargers »
Tags: Brandon Bolden, Brandon Browner, Devin McCourty, Patriots, Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers, Tom Brady