Another goal was reached Sunday when the New England Patriots routed the terrible (3-11) Tennessee Titans 33-16 in their final regular season game at Gillette Stadium. The win brought the beat-up, battered bodies of the home team to 12-2, but, more importantly, Denver’s loss to Pittsburgh guaranteed them a first round bye. The Patriots have now earned that honor for an NFL-record six consecutive seasons.
How’s This For The Most Dominant Team In This Decade
- Second team to ever have at least 6 straight 12 win seasons
- Most seasons earning a bye since 12 team playoff format since 1990
- 5 sacks against Tennessee and at least one sack in every game in 2015
- Bill Belichick is 55-11 (.833) in December with New England, the best record in December among head coaches with one team in NFL history (min. 25 games)
- Tom Brady tied Peyton Manning for the NFL record with the most seasons with 35 TDs (4)
The Patriots wrap up the season with road games in NY against the Jets and Miami to take on the Dolphins. They need to win one of those two games to assure home field advantage up to the Super Bowl. How important is home field? Well, since 1996 the Patriots are 17-3 playing at home in the real games. ‘Nuf said?
So, Who Do You Rest & When?
With injuries piling up every week the question arises, at what point do you start resting some of the walking wounded? The answer seems simple, NOW.
We all know Tom Brady will grit it out until the end, but even with a rotation of healthy running backs (James White has really stepped up and who wasn’t impressed with Joey Iosefa, oh yeah, and now Steven Jackson), enough WRs to get by (Brandon LaFell, Keshawn Martin,
Leonard Hankerson Chris Harper) and the World’s greatest tight end (no need to name him is there?) New England should be able to win one, if not both of their remaining games.
Let Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman get as healthy as possible. Keep them on the bench until the games really matter, 4 weeks from now.
The defense continues to shine, so sitting Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung shouldn’t matter. Yes, all 3 are critical players if the team is to play in Super Bowl 50, but right now they can be replaced in the short run.
Defense Shines Again
Despite an understandable let-up in the second half the defense once again dominated. The list of players impressing grows game-to-game. This week it was Akiem Hicks turn to step up with a strip-sack (Chandler Jones featured photo) fumble recovery for a TD, a sack of his own, 4 tackles and constant pressure up the middle.
- Chandler Jones had a two-sack game, bringing his season total to 12 1/2
- New England is tied for 1st with Denver in team sacks (47)
- The Patriots are now in the Top 10 in all key defensive stats…Points (7th), Yards (6th), Passing (8th), Rushing (10th)
Next Game: 1PM Sunday vs the Jets
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