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linchao Mar 13 '19
If you shut off your television after the New England Patriots defeated the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon Drew Bledsoe Jersey , I wouldn’t blame you, but you would have missed out on three important AFC games that all went in the Patriots favor.Here’s a quick rundown, based on least-to-most important.3. Chargers 45 - Cardinals 10Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers made his case for MVP consideration completing 28 of 29 passes, including his first 25 passes, as Los Angeles rolled over the hapless Arizona squad. The Chargers are now 8-3, in firm control of a playoff spot, and one game behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West. The Chiefs already beat the Chargers in the season opener, but Los Angeles has a chance to even the score in week 15. The longer the Chiefs have to look over their shoulder at the Chargers, the less rest the Chiefs will have heading into the postseason and the greater the chance that Kansas City could lose their grip on the division and have to play during wild card weekend.Kansas City is on their bye right now, but they play at home against the Ravens and Chargers before going on the road to face the Seahawks. This stretch is book-ended by games against the Oakland Raiders. The Patriots need the Chiefs to drop one or two of these games.2. Broncos 24 - Steelers 17The Broncos intercepted Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone to hold on to their slim victory and sent the Steelers record down to 7-3-1. The Steelers were lucky to score on a trick field goal and on a 97-yard catch-and-run and it seems like Pittsburgh’s still liable to play down to their level of competition.The Steelers host the Chargers next, go on the road against the Raiders, and then host the Patriots. They finish the season on the road against the Saints and then hosting the Bengals.Pittsburgh’s tie likely means that tiebreakers won’t come into play, but when you look at their schedule, a 10-5-1 record would be a good finish.Basically, what I’m considering is whether the Patriots can reach 11 wins Montee Ball Color Rush Jersey , with one of those coming against the Steelers. If so, New England should be able to snag a first round bye.1. Colts 27 - Dolphins 24Adam Vinatieri always delivers.The last-second victory by the Colts handed the Miami Dolphins their sixth loss in their past eight games and gave the Patriots absolute control over the AFC East. As Bill Belichick always says, winning the division is the first major milestone each year and the Dolphins loss helps in a major way. If New England can beat the Minnesota Vikings next week and the Dolphins in week 14, the Patriots will clinch the division title for the 10th straight year and 15th out of the past 16 years.The only way the Patriots week can improve is if the Tennessee Titans upset the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football. But even if the Texans win- and push the Steelers down to fourth place in the AFC- the Patriots hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with Houston and the Texans’ upcoming games against the Browns and Colts no longer look like gimmes.The Patriots are back in second-place in the AFC and should be in strong position to secure yet another consecutive first round bye. Mama was right. Patience is a virtue. Not only was patience an effective game plan vs. the Vikings on Sunday, but it works as a rule in general for Pats fans, NFL talking heads, and the sports writers who cover the team.Everyone doing their own version of Trent Dilfer’s “They’re not good anymore” and pushing the panic button at 1-2 — back in September! — would do well to heed Mom’s advice in the future.Those who patiently decided to wait out the dire reports of imminent doom at Gillette are being vindicated. Whatever tension there may have been between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were worked out privately or shelved.It neither caused the team to spectacularly implode (the media’s hoped-for response) nor fade into mediocrity.Turns out all the attention was focused on the wrong locker room, the wrong quarterback and the wrong head coach.The unrest was going on for real in Green Bay, with all the power plays, firings and implosions the media kept threatening would happen in Foxborough. Not so fast. Remember Mama’s advice.This week the Patriots head to Miami for what Tedy Bruschi used to call a “hat and t-shirt” game. With a win, the AFC East division title can be wrapped up and brought back as a souvenir. The Dolphins are only one game behind the Ravens and still alive for a playoff spot, so the Pats can’t let up on the gas.They won’t.It’s December, Pats win by 14. GO PATS!Around the AFC East:(9-3) New England Patriots at (6-6) Miami Dolphins(4-8) Buffalo Bills vs. (3-9) New York JetsAFC Matchups:(10-2) Kansas City Chiefs vs. (7-5) Baltimore Ravens(9-3) Houston Texans vs. (6-6) Indianapolis Colts(7-4-1) Pittsburgh Steelers at (2-10) Oakland Raiders(9-3) Los Angeles Chargers vs. (5-7) Cincinnati Bengals(6-6) Tennessee Titans vs. (4-8) Jacksonville Jaguars(6-6) Denver Broncos at (2-10) San Francisco 49ers(4-7-1) Cleveland Browns vs. (6-6) Carolina Panthers*********************************************************2nd - Expert Consensus (Bleacher Report): There are a couple of constants about the New England Patriots late in the season. The first is they don’t lose much. The second is that even when they do, it certainly isn’t at Gillette Stadium. Sure enough, both were on display in Week 13 https://www.patriotsfanstore.com/Malcom-Brown-Jersey , as the Patriots dominated the second half to pull away from the Minnesota Vikings and inch closer to winning their umpteenth straight AFC East title. The game was classic Patriots—methodical, efficient offense and an opportunistic, bend-but-don’t-break defense. Death by a thousand cuts. To Gagnon, the Patriots are doing what they always do—peaking at the right time: “New England always starts slow, gets hot, suffers a weird aberrational loss just before the home stretch and then becomes unbeatable. Seriously, it’s happened in each of their last three Super Bowl seasons, and it looks as though that’s happening right now. The Pats are so well-coached, they’re balanced and they’re benefiting from a lot of depth up front and at the skill positions. That keeps snap counts low, which is why they’re getting healthier just as everyone else in football is running out of gas.” Of course, the Patriots have little interest in just winning the division. Anything less than a trip to Super Bowl LIII would be considered a failure in Beantown. And that means that the next step after winning the East is sewing up one of the top two seeds in the AFC bracket and a first-round bye. The biggest obstacle to that goal comes in two weeks, when the Patriots travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers.2nd - Mark Maske (Washington Post): While Coach Bill Belichick yelled from the sideline Sunday at Vikings WR Adam Thielen, the Patriots reminded everyone that they’re still the team to beat in the AFC. They haven’t been consistently great this season, but they still have Tom Brady. No one else does, and now Shaq Mason Color Rush Jersey , the Chiefs are in flux.3rd - MMQB Staff (SI).3rd - Elliot Harrison (NFL.com): Call Sunday’s victory a gut-it-out win. The offense milled about without putting points on the board ... until it mattered. Tom Brady engineered two late scoring drives, with Josh Gordon paying off the first and fullback James Develin completing the second, while the defense battened down the hatches, closing off in the fourth quarter whatever leaks sprung early in the third. The Pats stopped Kirk Cousins on downs when the game was in doubt, then secured an interception late to preserve the two-score victory. Top moment: Brady, who reached 1,000 career rushing yards with a 5-yard scamper early, pulled a savvy self-preservation act late. Needing to kneel down at the end of the game, Brady made sure to step forward, then point to the ref as if to show he reached the line of scrimmage. Hall of Famers know their stats, apparently -- even the oddities.3rd - Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): It’s December, so here come the Patriots. The defense is improving by the week.3rd - Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): The Patriots went back to dominating at home with Tom Brady seeing things fully loaded around him for run and pass. But how about that defense coming through so big, too?3rd - Nate Davis (USA Today): Tom Brady exposed as me-first guy. See his forward-leaning kneeldown in order to protect 1,000 career rushing yards? (We kid, we kid.)4th - Experts (ESPN): We’re (almost) No. 1 in: Kickoff return average. Led by Cordarrelle Patterson LaAdrian Waddle Jersey , who has returned 19 kickoffs for 580 yards (30.5 avg.) and one touchdown, the Patriots are topped by just one other team (the Titans) in kickoff return average. Patterson’s 95-yard kickoff return for a TD against the Chiefs was one of the signature plays of the Patriots’ season, and Tom Brady has nicknamed him “The Experiment” because of all the things the team has explored with him on offense, in addition to his kickoff return expertise.4th - Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports): The Patriots have been a different team at home. They’re 6-0 at home and 3-3 on the road with three double-digit losses to questionable teams (Jaguars, Lions, Titans). Meanwhile they have four double-digit wins at home and close wins against the Texans and Chiefs, and they’re both first-place teams. What seed the Patriots end up with could determine if we’re spending another Super Bowl Sunday with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.4th - Joe Giglio (NJ.com): Don’t be surprised if the Patriots are back on the Super stage in February.4th - Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk): After making it to 1,000 career rushing yards, Tom Brady will be sending his ski boots to Canton.4th - Staff (AP Pro32).5th - Bryan Fischer (Athlon Sports): It always feels like the Patriots really start to ramp things up when the calendar turns to December and that could be the case once again after an impressive victory over the Vikings that showcased the versatility of the offense against a tough front. Congrats to Bill Belichick on his 250th win with the franchise, sure to be just one of several more in Foxborough.5th - Ryan Van Bibber (SB Nation): My favorite team is the best team. That’s a pretty good way to start the power rankings this week.I put the Patriots up there too, and it’s mostly just an appreciation for the purely transactional relationship Bill Belichick has with winning. It’s how I prefer to interact with waiters or investment advisors — just take my money and give me the most I can get for what I’m paying for. It’s not always terribly fun, but it works.5th - Russell S. Baxter (FanSided): Recap: The Patriots ... made it five in a row [vs. Vikings] with an impressive win when it came to both sides of the football. Tom Brady did throw as many TD passes (1) as INTs. But he also totaled 311 yards through the air and completed 75 percent of his tosses (24-of-32). Bill Belichick’s backfield by committee continues to get the job done as the club rolled up 160 yards on the ground, with James Develin scoring twice. And the Pats limited the Vikings to 278 total yards.Next Week: The club heads to South Florida to face the 6-6 Miami Dolphins ... [Pats are] 1-4 in its last five road games in this series dating back to 2013.Playoff hopes: The team is closing in on a 10th straight division title (extending their own NFL record), which the Patriots will have with a win over the Dolphins. That means this talented club would be in the playoffs for a 10th consecutive year – making New England the first franchise in the league to achieve that feat.Week 14 Average Rank: 3.6 (+0.7)
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