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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 »

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Tom Brady and Bill Belichick celebrate their 12th division title in 14 years. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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 »

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Tom Brady

1. PATRIOTS:

MISC

* Coach went with the old reliable – grey hoodie with cut sleeves

* Speaking of old reliable – Jenny Dell in the house!

* Crowd with a sort of passive aggressive boo of Browner for all of his penalties. If someone called them on it, they could say they were booing the refs – but no doubt Browner is on notice with the fans

OFFENSE

* Again the Patriots are abusing Edelman and Gronk. On the first drive, Edelman returned the punt, caught a pass, caught another pass, ran for a first down on the fly sweep and then caught another pass (7 receptions / 88 yards / 1 TD) Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team »

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Should Colin Kaepernick be trusted in the fantasy playoffs? (Reuters)

Your league is in the semi-finals or first round of the playoffs, but there are still full slates of games to think about. Some matchups re worth the stash, but others make it easy to sit those players who have tough matchups. Here are some players you should start or sit in Week 15:

Start ‘Em

Eli Manning (vs. Washington): Manning had himself a day Week 4 against the Washington Redskins and that was on the road! The veteran has played consistently well at home and is due for a big game after several letdown performances in recent weeks. Continue reading Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15 »

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1. PATRIOTS vs. DOLPHINS PREVIEW:

* Since the first game -Dolphins 4-0 against losing teams / 2-6 against winning teams

* Tom Brady needs nine TD passes for 400

* A Dolphin – Patriots game in December reminds me of Howard Cosell announcing the death of John Lennon – 1980

* The Wildcat game in 2008 by the Dolphins in Foxboro was one of the only times I have seen a Belichick team confused

* Running QB’s do give Pats defenses trouble – Tannehill has run for 295 yards

* Mike Wallace has been targeted 102 times but only caught 57 of them

* Tight End Charles Clay scares me – 41 receptions / 2 TD Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Consider Fish Squished! »

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Jon Lester tips his caps to the fans of Boston one last time. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

There is no hiding the fact that this one stings. We had to tentatively say good-bye to the ace of the Red Sox pitching staff  in July when he was traded to the Oakland Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes. With that there was still the sliver of hope that a deal could be worked out. Even Jon Lester himself said he wouldn’t rule out a return to Boston.

“Yeah, why not? I mean this is what I know. This is what I love.” is what Lester’s response was when asked in July if he’d consider a return to Boston. Unfortunately his fate was decided back in the Spring when the Red Sox failed to sign him prior to the start of the season.  Continue reading Jon Lester: Thank You, and Farewell »

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Multiple reports are confirming that free agent pitcher Jon Lester has signed with the Chicago Cubs for six year and $155 million. Lester was the most sought after pitcher on the free agent market. In Chicago, he will reunite with Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein. Epstein was the Red Sox general manager during the majority of Lester’s tenure in Boston, including his debut with the team, battle with cancer, and 2007 World Series Championship.

The move to the Cubs stings for many across Red Sox Nation as Lester was originally willing to take a hometown discount to stay in Boston. However, the Red Sox initial offer last Spring was only four years and $70 million, well below market value. Continue reading Jon Lester Signs Six Year, $155 Million Deal with Cubs »

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