Tag Archives: New Orleans Saints

Patriots Schedule Released; Complete 2017 Patriots Preview

The Patriots schedule has been released for the 2017 regular season and the Super Bowl champs will take on the Kansas City Chiefs to start off the season. Let’s take a look at the rest of the schedule and see what we could prepare for from the reigning Super Bowl champs this season.

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The Pats will raise banner number five against the Chiefs on Thursday Night September 7th and can fully expect the Patriots and the Gillette Stadium crowd to be as fired up as ever and come out with a win over the Chiefs. The Patriots will follow up by traveling down to New Orleans to take on Brandin Cooks now former team the Saints. As of now the Saints have only taken a step backwards with trading Cooks to New England and still has a lackluster defense that the Patriots offense should carve up. There’s still some chance that cornerback Malcolm Butler could be traded to the Saints before next week’s NFL Draft and even so I would fully expect the Patriots to come out with a win against the Saints.

Pats Chiefs LA Times

The Patriots will then travel back to Foxboro for back to back home games with the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers. New England has had Houston’s number over the past several years and it hasn’t been close. The Patriots will come out and win this game easily. Carolina suffered a Super Bowl hangover last season following their embarrassing loss to the Denver Broncos and had a down season. Carolina struggled on both sides of the ball last season following the departure of cornerback Josh Norman and average play by quarterback Cam Newton. Carolina was fairly quiet this offseason, even trading defensive end Kony Ealy to the patriots for relatively nothing. New cornerback Stephon Gilmore’s big frame and physical style of play should be a good matchup against Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and the Patriots should come out this game with a win.

The Patriots then travel down to Tampa Bay for a Thursday Night matchup against the Buccaneers. This could be a game the Patriots struggle in for a few different reasons and one that may be overlooked by some. Thursday Night games are always tough with it being a short week, especially for the away teams who have to travel. The Buccaneers also made a big signing this offseason in wide receiver DeSean Jackson who should pair up nicely with one of the best wide receivers in the league in Mike Evans and give quarterback Jameis Winston another deep threat.  This could give New England’s defense some problems trying to cover the two wide receivers all game. Tampa Bay’s defense though still isn’t very good and shouldn’t be able to stop the Patriots high powered offense. This should be a very good, close game and give the Patriots their first real test early on in the season.

Mike Evans yahoo

The Patriots then travel to New York to take on the Jets. With how good this Patriots team should be and how bad the Jets are going to be the Pats could drop 50 on the Jets and win this game easily.

Then the matchup were all going to be waiting for, the Super Bowl rematch. The Patriots will take on the Atlanta Falcons as a rematch of the greatest Super Bowl of all-time. I don’t see the Pats losing 28-3 at one point but do expect a truly great game as both teams have only gotten better since the end of the season. This could be a potential game the Patriots could lose going up against another great team in the Falcons, but with it being at Gillette and what the atmosphere is going to be like the Patriots should win this game.

Edelman catch nydailynews

The Patriots will stay at home for a matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. Whenever I watched the Chargers last year my respect for Phillip Rivers only got higher as he made that Chargers team average with not much around him. Should be a fairly easy win for the Patriots heading into the bye week.

Following the bye week things will get interesting as the Patriots will travel to Denver to take on the Broncos and then Mexico City to take on the Raiders. These will both be tough games for the Pats traveling to the west coast. While Denver isn’t quite the team they were a few years ago they always play the patriots well, and the Patriots always struggle in Denver. Last year Marcus Cannon was the complete opposite of what he was again Denver in the AFC Championship game from the year before when Von Miller kept blowing by him like he was a revolving door. With a new coach in Vance Joseph and no more Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator the Patriots should be able to pull out a win in Denver where they tend to struggle. The Patriots then head down to Mexico City to take on the Raiders in what could be an AFC Championship game preview. The Raiders are one of the best young teams in the league with a great young quarterback in Derek Carr, who I love as a player. The Raiders have a great offensive line and two very good receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree and could be getting Marshawn Lynch to come out of retirement to handle the teams running back duties. Oakland’s defense was average last year even with the great play of Khalil Mack. The Raiders will have to look to address their secondary in the draft to get better. The Patriots offense shouldn’t have too much of a problem against this Raiders defense and should be a great game. Due to the travel and tough competition the Patriots going 1-1 in this stretch isn’t out of the question.

Brady spike proplayerinsiders

The Patriots will then head back home for a game against the Miami Dolphins, who made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2008. The Dolphins have a pretty good, young talented roster with wide receivers Davante Parker and Jarvis Landry, who said the Dolphins would sweep the Patriots, and running back Jay Ajayi who had a big emergence in the second half of the season last year. Should be a good, tough AFC East matchup that I expect the Patriots to win at home.

The Patriots then have a three game stretch of away games against Buffalo, Miami and Pittsburgh. The Patriots have tended to struggle some against Tyrod Taylor and his mobility over the past several seasons but always come out with a win. The Patriots then travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins for the second time in as many weeks. The Patriots have had a history of struggling against the Dolphins in Miami and seeing the teams in as many weeks the teams should be prepared for each other’s game plans. This game could mean more for Miami fighting for a wild card spot than it does the Patriots at this point in the season. After that the Patriots travel back up the east coast to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC Championship game rematch, where the Patriots just completely dominated the Steelers. I don’t expect the Steelers to come out as flat as they did in January and make this an actual game against the Pats. Pittsburgh has a very talented offense with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, who are some of the top guys at their positions. The past few years the Steelers have seemed to come out flat against the Pats and the Pats have gotten the better of the Steelers. Possible AFC Championship game preview in what should be a good game. The Patriots going 2-1 on a three game road stretch could definitely happen, I think that loss could come against Miami as the game could be the difference if making the playoffs or not for the Dolphins.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

The Patriots then wrap up the regular season at home with back to back games against AFC East opponents Bills and Jets. These should both be two easy wins for the Pats to finish the season off with headed into the playoffs. It wouldn’t be a surprise to me though if the Patriots rest everyone week 17 against the Jets and the Jets win and screw up their spot in the draft in classic Jets fashion.

Overall, I think the Pats will finish the regular season at 13-3 and the number one seed in the AFC. Of course I want to say 16-0 but outside of the 2007 season it just something that doesn’t happen and I would rather be realistic. I expect the Patriots to drop one of the two tough road games on the west coast against good opponents and tough places to play. The three game road stretch at the end of the season is also tough and a lot of travel which could affect the team. There will then be one game where the patriots come out flat against a team they shouldn’t, it happens every year. Ultimately the Patriots finish up as the number one seed in the AFC and Super Bowl favorites.

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New England Patriots: Preseason Win #1 Was Fun

We’ve been waiting for this ever since the Patriots lost to Denver in the Post-Season AFC Championship game last season. And no one was disappointed in the way the 1st pre-season game started with the defense forcing 4 turnovers.

PATRIOTS 33 SAINTS 22

Although it was just the first game, there was a lot to look for in deciding just how good this season could be. Questions weren’t fully answered, but there were positive signs…and some areas of concern, based on the victory.

Jimmy G: He was OK. Not great…not terrible…not ready to fill Tom Brady’s shoes. Went 11-18 for 168 yards. After a slow start he improved as the game progressed. Critics remain unconvinced, while others see enough to be comfortable that New England will survive the 1st four games without #12.

Offensive Line: Oh- Oh, looked a lot like last year. Hopefully we’re not saying this as the real games begin. The 1st quarter in particular was a disaster, but things did get better as the game progressed.

Defense: If this was a sample of what’s to come, other teams are in for trouble. Lots of forced turnovers (4), scoring (2 TDs) and aggressive play. Was surprised to see Dont’a  Hightower & Jamie Collins play as much as they did, and both looked ready for the real games to start.

New Players:

Martellus Bennett (TE) looked like the beast we expected. He played in the 1st half and showed all the skills we thought he had, both catching the ball and blocking. Played 37 snaps (+), was thrown to 4 times with 3 catches and a key block on a big run by James White. Fans will be happy with not only his pass catching skills, but need to watch how good this big guy is while blocking for others. Can’t wait to see him and Gronkowski paired up, but probably won’t until Game 1 against Arizona. We can dream they’ll be in against the Panthers in pre-season game 3, but don’t count on it.

Gronk & Bennett

Nate Washington (WR) played, but wasn’t a factor. Doubtful to make the opening roster unless more injuries occur to existing corps of wide receivers.

Cre’Von LaBlanc (CB) –what do you mean who? had the play of the game with a great end zone interception. The undrafted free agent will have a tough time sticking, but he certainly had his time in the spotlight Thursday evening at Gillette

Cyrus Jones (CB) looked like a solid 2nd round pick (1st for the Pats), but need to see more of him to get a feel for his possible impact on this year’s team. Had a fumble recovery.

Joe Thuney (LG) has been installed at left guard and it’s looking more & more like it’s his job to lose. Although the O-Line had it’s trouble, he did not look bad in his 1st real action

Jacoby Brissett (QB) showed off his arm, but has to learn there are times you need touch and times you can’t force the play. Overall, the young man was fun to watch as he played the entire 2nd half and does show promise. (7-13, 64 yards) Not about to leapfrog Jimmy G yet!

Malcolm Mitchell (WR) showed the best hands of any WR on the team before (in a gruesome looking play) he extended his elbow and won’t return for at least 3-4 weeks. Look to see the 4th round draft pick on  IR, keeping him out of action for the first 8 weeks (Thanks for info from Jeff Kane).

The Good & the Bad

Good:  Jamie Collins (23 snaps +), Dont’a Hightower, who is playing with a chip on his shoulder (23 snaps +), Trey Flowers (Blossoming), James White & Tyler Gaffney (9 carries, 64 yards, 1TD)

 

8-11 Tyler Gaffney
Tyler Gaffney

Bad: Nate Solder, in his 1st game back after an injury riddled 2015, & special teams

One down, 3 to go. Here’s a little about the watch-ability of pre-season games.

Warning: Watching preseason football can be painful.

Of the four pre-season games, only one features players that will actually be on the roster when the opening bell rings. For your enjoyment, here’s a rating of preseason games:

  • 1* –  “Bubble” players are on the field, as teams don’t want to get roster players hurt
  • 2** – at least the 1st half should be of interest
  • 3*** – Close to the 1st cut, as key players are in & out of the lineup
  • 4**** – This is the only game when you see many of the regulars throughout the entire game

Game 1 vs New Orleans was **, although this year the 2nd half held interest as players that have show some skills played until the end. I believe this is the first time I have watched the entire 1st preseason game with interest.

Game 2 vs Chicago (Thursday, 8/18 8PM Home) *** More regulars playing longer period of time. A few of the walking wounded may actually see some playing time, but not much.

Game 3 vs Carolina (Friday, 8/26 7:30 Road) **** This is the closest the pre-season comes to a real game. Watch beginning to end with a sense of what the strengths & weaknesses of both teams are. Wondering how much Brady will play?

Game 4 vs NYGiants (Thursday, 9/1 7PM Road * Scratch your head while watching this one! You’re ready for the regular season and both teams are holding back and playing Plain Jane football.

It’s another year of football, and it should be outstanding in New England.

(+Snap counts courtesy of Mike Reiss, ESPN Go)

 

Week 2 recap: 5 things we learned

Week two of the NFL is in the books. This week was more shocking than others, even if it is only week two. Regardless, we learned more about who’s a contender, who’s a pretender, and even a possible MVP candidate. So, here are the five things we learned from week two of the regular season.

1) Tom Brady is the MVP frontrunner

After a stellar week one performance by Tom Brady, he put up even more video game numbers as he led the New England Patriots to a 40-32 win over the Buffalo Bills.  Brady went 38/59 for 466 yards and three touchdown passes. Also he put up history, as he is the first quarterback to throw at least 55 passes, 450 yards and three touchdowns in one game. On the season, Tom Brady has thrown for 754 yards and seven touchdown passes with no interceptions. At this rate, Brady is on pace for 6,032 yards and 56 touchdowns. Tom Brady is putting up an MVP season, and looks unstoppable

2) The Colts and Eagles are overrated 

Both the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles are overrated. They both stand at 0-2 records, and no one predicted or saw this coming. The Colts were dubbed as Super Bowl contenders and an easy pick to win it all. Well, they should not be. Their offense has not generated points or gone anywhere, and Andrew Luck is throwing interceptions like Christmas. This offense was supposed to be dominating, but after being shut down by the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, they are essentially flat. Plus, the Colts defense is terrible, and should not be a surprise after we saw Tom Brady and the Patriots carve up the Colts in the AFC Championship game 45-7. In Philadelphia, the Eagles got what they deserved. Chip Kelly was given power over his players, and traded away talent for players he wanted. Was it worth it? Sam Bradford was just preseason hype, and Demarco Murray is not running around putting up video game numbers. The O-line can not block and give Bradford time to throw or give Murray room to run. Also, their offense had eight possessions that lasted fewer than two minutes in their game against the Cowboys, that did not end up in points. The Colts and Eagles were heralded as the best and prime contenders for the Super Bowl, well now they are just exposed as overrated, and righfully so.

3) On the other hand, Don’t worry about Seattle being 0-2 

Right after I talked about two 0-2 teams being overrated, I talk about another 0-2 team. Though it is a surprise that the Seattle Seahawks are 0-2, there is good reason.  The defense is not the same without Kam Chancellor, and the offense needs to put up more points. Though it seems that the world is falling in Seattle, they shouldn’t be worried. Last season, the Seahawks started 3-3, and finished 12-4 and ended up in the Super Bowl.

4) New Orleans is going to struggle 

The New Orleans Saints have controlled the NFC South for many years. However, this year, is not that year. After dropping losses to the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Saints sit at 0-2. Drew Brees does not look the same without Jimmy Graham, and the offense is struggling without him. What was a high flying offense putting up huge numbers, is stuck scoring only 19 points a game. Adding on, the defense has struggled in stopping teams from scoring. What makes matters worse is that Drew Brees could miss games due to a rotator cuff injury. That means that Luke McCown or rookie Garrett Grayson will have to go under center if Brees does miss games. It’s going to be a tough year for the Saints, but it could be worse.

5) Maybe Kirk Cousins is actually capable of leading the Washington offense

Who knew, Kirk Cousins could actually manage the Washington Redskins offense. In week one, he went 21/31 for 196 yards with one touchdown, but two interceptions. He pretty much led a dysfunctional Redskins team to a near win over the Miami Dolphins. Then this week, he led them to a 24-10 victory over the St. Louis Rams, as he went 23/27 for 203 yards and one touchdown. Even though the RGIII drama is still alive and well in Washington, Cousins is doing his job and trying to lead his team to victory. At 1-1, Cousins has the Redskins looking like they are contenders in the NFC East behind the 2-0 Dallas Cowboys. They could contend for the division title especially since Dallas has lost Tony Romo for at least seven games, Philadelphia is in disarray, and the Giants are busy blowing leads away. However, time will tell if Cousins will take advantage and push Washington to take the division lean, especially since everything looks to be in their favor.

 

New England Patriots: Thoughts from the Packers game and Moving Forward

Often times, we rush to conclusions after a loss and think Armageddon is coming and how this is going to be a bad year. To remember that so many people didn’t play against Green Bay, especially starters, is key. We have to take it for what it was and go forward. With New Orleans coming up, here are some things to watch for.

via boston.cbslocal.com
via boston.cbslocal.com

Jimmy Garrapolo had a decent 2nd half after he settled down and was better. I think he showed more good than bad. He wasn’t helped by his WR corps and offensive line (that in a minute), but he showed poise and made some great throws. He has a lot of work to do, but if he has to play, I’m sure McDaniels will do enough to get him ready. Seeing how he plays against an aggressive blitzing package that Rob Ryan likes to employ should see if he learned from the Packers game.

csnne.com
csnne.com

To say that Josh Boyce’s game was a nightmare is an understatement. He seemed disconnected and didn’t fight for any balls. It’s a mild surprise he hasn’t been released yet, but his deep speed might keep him around for a few more weeks. Chris Harper and Jonathan Krause were by far the most impressive WR’s in the game and along with Brandon Gibson, will be vying for that 5th WR spot on the roster behind Edelman, LaFell, Amendola and Dobson. Either way, their presense on the practice squad is almost assured.

The offensive line was a sieve, allowing 7 sacks and countless pressures. Moving Chris Barker to LT made little sense as he was consistently dominated. Like Garrapolo’s play, you can’t judge the whole line by its backups. Shaq Mason had a great block on a pull that sprung Jonas Gray’s 55 yard TD run, but he struggled in pass blocking. David Andrews was surprisingly solid at C and G and could be a keeper going forward. I remember when Ryan Wendell was stuck on the inactive list/practice squad for a few years before he was ready to contribute. Andrews could be a similar story.

Even with the injuries to Rufus Johnson and Trey Flowers being unknown at this point, their play is indicative of how the defense will be this year. They are taking a similar modus operandi of the Giants and having an incredibly aggressive pass rush to make up for an average secondary. Even though the secondary played very well at times, there is a lot of inexperience there. Knowing that Belichick and Patricia will coach them up eases the worry.

The negative of the defense was their run defense, but seeing that Branch and Siliga didn’t play in the middle might be responsible for that. But the missed tackles, especially by Cameron Gordon on the edge was frustrating. Jonathan Freeny had a rough first quarter but seemed to settle down. Seeing how well the DT’s and the LB’s hold up against the new aggressive Saints O Line and running attack could be indicative of how well the Pats can be run on. In spite of all the questions, this defense will be much more aggressive this year than last year and that could be a very good thing.

To remember that the preseason are glorified practices is very important. This is the team figuring out roster moves and experimenting with different plays on both sides of the ball. The game showed that the Pats are going to be chippy and aggressive and won’t back down from a fight. With most people signaling the end of the Pats dominance of the AFC East with the moves the Jets, Bills and Dolphins made, this shows that they aren’t going down without a fight.