Tuesday, December 30, 2014

MusketFire: Patriots Pick Six: Leftovers From Sunday's Loss to Buffalo

Patriots Pick Six: Leftovers From Sunday's Loss to Buffalo

The New England Patriots may have lost to the Bills in the final regular season game, but there is still much to talk about with the coming Divisional Playoff Round, the performance of the offense the past few weeks, the special teams play, the improvement of the defense, as well as going-ons in the AFC East with the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Miami Dolphins.

Cover32: Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots loss to the Bills? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots loss to the Bills? | New England Patriots

The game may have been irrelevant to the standings for the New England Patriots, but they still are going to get graded! The 17-9 was ugly, but how bad was it?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Cover32: New England Patriots look to end season strong against the Buffalo Bills | New England Patriots

New England Patriots look to end season strong against the Buffalo Bills | New England Patriots

Do the New England Patriots rest their starters on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills? Do they need to establish offensive rhythm going into the playoffs? With the number one seed wrapped up, does the game even matter at all?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cover32: Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots win vs. the NY Jets? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots win vs. the NY Jets? | New England Patriots



The Patriots won a nail-biter over the Jets on Sunday, 17-16, and for the second time this year the Patriots were able to block a potential game-winning field goal attempt by Jets kicker Nick Folk. And thanks to Denver’s loss to the Bengals, the Patriots now have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.



Who do you think performed best for the Patriots on Sunday versus the Jets?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

MusketFire: Instant Analysis: New England Patriots Hold-off New York Jets 17-16

Instant Analysis: New England Patriots Hold-off New York Jets 17-16

The New England Patriots traveled to MetLife Stadium to face the New York Jets on a cold and gray December game in week sixteen. At 11-3 the Patriots were heavy favorites against the 3-11 Jets, but as always head coach Rex Ryan brought out the best of his players for a match-up against his arch rival, Bill Belichick. The Patriots had to gut out a tough win with a strong second-half as they clinched a first-round bye with a 17-16 win over the Jets.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

MusketFire: New England Patriots at New York Jets: Game Preview

New England Patriots at New York Jets: Game Preview

It is almost time for the New England Patriots and New York Jets to face off at MetLife Stadium. See what New England will have to do on both sides of the ball to beat the pesky Jets. New York played their best game of the season against New England in week seven. The Patriots have a lot of work to do on Sunday to help lock-up the top seed and home-field advantage and help continue their run to the Super Bowl.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cover32: What’s changed since the last time the New England Patriots played the NY Jets? | New England Patriots

What’s changed since the last time the New England Patriots played the NY Jets? | New England Patriots

The New York Jets faced the New England Patriots on a Thursday night in week seven and nearly pulled an epic upset. Now the Jets host New England on Sunday, but this is a totally different team from the one the Jets faced two months ago.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

MusketFire: New England Patriots: Three Keys to Victory Over Miami

New England Patriots: Three Keys to Victory Over Miami

A final look back at the Miami game tape shows three keys from Sunday that give concern and confidence going into their final two games as they push for the number one seed in the AFC.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

H4TV: Boston Red Sox Won By Losing Out on Jon Lester - The Sports Journal

Boston Red Sox Won By Losing Out on Jon Lester - The Sports Journal

After the 2014 season, the Red Sox only made enough of an offer to look interested without doing what it would take to bring Jon Lester back to Boston.



Really, Lester should be upset at himself for allowing himself to be used by the Red Sox front office. The Red Sox front office was able to let out a collective breath that Lester did not take the deal that they offered him which they never intended for him to take and was just offered to him as a public relations move to appease the fanbase, then immediately got down to doing exactly what they planned on all along: Rebuild the pitching staff with talented young hurlers who have upside. They did it, and they gave up NOTHING to get three quality starters.

Cover32: Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots win over the Dolphins? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots win over the Dolphins? | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots shook off a slow start at Gillette Stadium on Sunday to defeat the Miami Dolphins 41-13. At the half, Miami had completely outplayed the Patriots on both sides of the ball, but New England had the lead due to a big special teams play by linebacker Jamie Collins blocking a field goal attempt and cornerback Kyle Arrington doing the “scoop-and-run” to convert the block into a touchdown.

So who performed best for the New England Patriots in their 41-13 win over the Dolphins?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

MusketFire: The New England Patriots Domination of the AFC East Continues Unabated - The Sports Journal

The New England Patriots Domination of the AFC East Continues Unabated - The Sports Journal

What is most striking is the way all three other AFC East teams have suffered by focusing on their own short-sighted views of looking up at New England. Rather than building their teams to win the most games, they instead concentrate on following the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants game plans for success in defeating the Patriots. To that end, all three franchises have invested heavily in the down-field passing game and getting pass rushers for the defensive line.

Cover32: Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots’ win | New England Patriots

Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots’ win | New England Patriots

Who do you think performed best for the New England Patriots in their win Sunday night road win in San Diego over the Chargers?

Sunday, December 07, 2014

MusketFire: New England Patriots at San Diego Chargers: Game Preview

New England Patriots at San Diego Chargers: Game Preview

The New England Patriots spent the week in the warm weather of Southern California not on a vacation but on a business trip. At 8:30pm Eastern time tonight the Patriots get to take care of business at Qualcomm Stadium for the first time since a disappointing 26-21 loss at Lambeau Field against the Packers last week. After breakdowns on offense (punting on consecutive drives in the first and third quarter, not able to score with a first down at the twenty-yard line late in the fourth quarter) and defense (allowing Green Bay to convert ten of 17 third-downs and hold the ball for over 36 minutes of possession), the Patriots need to increase their efficiency on both sides of the ball.



The San Diego Chargers, however, are not a pushover like some of the teams New England has defeated this season. At 8-4, the Chargers have an explosive offense loaded with big-play potential and a deep defense led by two Pro Bowl level defenders in the secondary. The Chargers have suffered from injuries on both sides of the ball losing a number of key contributors. Their depth and the outstanding performance of quarterback Philip Rivers has allowed the Chargers to keep pace with the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs in a competitive AFC West...

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Cover32: Should the New England Patriots be afraid of the San Diego Chargers? | New England Patriots

Should the New England Patriots be afraid of the San Diego Chargers? | New England Patriots

What you need to know about the Patriots matching up with the Chargers on offense and defense:  The Chargers boast quarterback Philip Rivers, who is inexplicably one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the NFL. While Rivers has not had consistent post-season success that is necessary to be considered an elite quarterback in today’s NFL, he is still one of the top-tier gunslingers; San Diego lacks big names in the secondary, but not good players. Eric Weddle is arguably the most complete safety in football and cornerback Brandon Flowers has blossomed into a number one cornerback since coming to San Diego from Kansas City.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

MusketFire: Patriots Pick Six: Leftovers from Sunday's Loss to Green Bay

Patriots Pick Six: Leftovers from Sunday's Loss to Green Bay

The New England Patriots fell just short in their comeback bid against Green Bay on their Sunday afternoon loss 26-21 at Lambeau Field. While the Patriots may be “On to San Diego” another viewing (or three) at the game film reveals there are some issues creeping in on the periphery that the Patriots need to address in the coming weeks. With this trip to San Diego and then a final tour of their divisional opponents with Buffalo and Miami coming to Gillette Stadium and a trip to Jersey to face the Jets, the Patriots still control their own destiny in their quest for the number one seed in the AFC and home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the playoffs.



Here are six leftovers from the loss on Sunday that the Patriots will need to clear up in the next few weeks:

H4TV: New England Patriots Loss to Green Bay a “Reality Slap” to Team - The Sports Journal

New England Patriots Loss to Green Bay a “Reality Slap” to Team - The Sports Journal

Take heed, New England Patriots fans: the loss to Green Bay on the frozen tundra of historic Lambeau Field on a chilly Sunday afternoon was not a “good loss” or a “character-building loss”, but hopefully will be a long-necessary wake-up call to a team that has been getting away with sloppy play. In fact, it may be just the “reality slap” this team needed after their ridiculous run of victories over some high-quality opponents over the prior seven games which covered their blemishes. The Patriots now have a team ready to look at the mistakes that have been covered up over the past two months and that extra bit of motivation to improve on both sides of the football to push them through December and into the playoffs.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

MusketFire: Final Thoughts on New England Patriots & Green Bay Packers

Final Thoughts on New England Patriots & Green Bay Packers

The New England Patriots end a week of hype about their match-up with the top team in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers. With storylines such as the first ever match-up between quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers there has been plenty written about this game. With game time fast approaching, here are a final few thoughts on the Patriots and Packers epic match-up at Lambeau Field focusing on how New England will likely attack the Packers defense, how the Patriots secondary will cover the dynamic duo of Green Bay receivers, and how the Packers expect to rush Brady and cover Rob Gronkowski.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

FirstStopFantasy: BUFFALO BILLS VS CLEVELAND BROWNS WEEK THIRTEEN GAME PREVIEW AND PREDICTION – First Stop Fantasy

BUFFALO BILLS VS CLEVELAND BROWNS WEEK THIRTEEN GAME PREVIEW AND PREDICTION – First Stop Fantasy

The Buffalo Bills returned home to Buffalo after flying out to Detroit for a “home” game where they spanked AFC East rivals the New York Jets 38-3. At 6-5 and still in the playoff hunt, the Bills welcome the AFC North’s Cleveland Browns to the snow-cleared Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday. The Cleveland Browns are in the middle of the logjam in the AFC North with Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the Browns all 7-4 and the Cincinnati Bengals just a half-game ahead of the trio at 7-3-1. With both teams on the fringes of the playoffs, the implications of this game could be a key to which team ultimately rewards their fans with a playoff game in January.

FirstStopFantasy: Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills Week Thirteen Game Preview and Prediction – First Stop Fantasy

Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills Week Thirteen Game Preview and Prediction – First Stop Fantasy

The Cleveland Browns are in the middle of the logjam in the AFC North with Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the Browns all 7-4 and the Cincinnati Bengals just a half-game ahead of the trio at 7-3-1. The Buffalo Bills returned home to Buffalo after flying out to Detroit for a “home” game where they spanked AFC East rivals the New York Jets 38-3. At 6-5 and still in the playoff hunt, the Bills welcome the AFC North’s Cleveland Browns to the snow-cleared Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday. With both teams on the fringes of the playoffs, the implications of this game could be a key to which team ultimately rewards their fans with a playoff game in January.

MusketFire: New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers: Game Preview

New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers: Game Preview

The New England Patriots have what may be their toughest match-up this week as they visit the historic grounds of Lambeau Field and take to the frozen tundra in an attempt to extend their seven game winning streak. The Packers are on a streak of their own having won three straight and seven of eight. Now, entering their week thirteen showdown, the Patriots are at the top of the NFL averaging 32.5 points per game while the Packers are right behind them averaging 32.2 points per game.



Who do you think is going to win on Sunday afternoon? Will it be  a blowout, or is it going to be a close game? Who do you see as the difference-maker on the field?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Cover32: New England Patriots moves continue to pay dividends | New England Patriots

New England Patriots moves continue to pay dividends | New England Patriots

The Patriots' strong off-season and the recent additions of Blount, Casillas, Branch and Ayers have given the Patriots the depth to weather injuries to key contributors. This mid-year roster tweaking for the Patriots has allowed the Patriots to keep winning after turning around the season in week five. The question now is whether New England is able to continue their run versus the best of the NFC. Rather than taking a step back, amazingly the mid-season acquisitions have allowed the team to take a step forward and continue to overpower their strong opponents.



Who do you think has been the biggest off-season acquisition? Who has been the biggest in-season pick-up? Do they have the depth to make it through the playoffs?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

H4TV: Boston Red Sox Busy Off-season is Just Warming Up - The Sports Journal

Boston Red Sox Busy Off-season is Just Warming Up - The Sports Journal

The Boston Red Sox are having a Happy Thanksgiving having already brought in free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval and shortstop Hanley Ramirez, but there are still free agent moves and trades to make. Time to take stock of the surplus and the hard decisions the Sox need to make still.

What do you think the Red Sox still have to do to get back to the Playoffs in 2015?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cover32: Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots win over the Lions? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots win over the Lions? | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots continued their winning ways on Sunday afternoon as they defeated the Detroit Lions 34-9 at Gillette Stadium. The Grades are out for the Patriots Passing and Rushing Offense and Passing and Rushing Defense.



What do you think was the most impressive part of the Patriots win over the Lions?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

MusketFire.com: New England Patriots Soundly Defeat Detroit Lions

New England Patriots Soundly Defeat Detroit Lions

The Patriots passing offense controlled the game throughout and the defense kept the Lions out of the end-zone. It was a penalty-filled game, but the Patriots had more than enough in the tank to wear down the Lions defense and the defense shutdown two dynamic receivers to allow the Patriots to beat the Lions 34-9.

MusketFire: New England Patriots vs Detroit Lions: Game Preview & Prediction

New England Patriots vs Detroit Lions: Game Preview & Prediction

The AFC East leading New England Patriots face-off against the NFC Central leading Detroit Lions this weekend at Gillette Stadium in a battle of contrasts. The Lions defense is built around a powerful defensive line that pressures the quarterback and stuffs the running game. The Patriots defense is built around a dynamic secondary and their athletic linebackers. On offense, the teams have different philosophies but the Lions offense has struggled since looking like a juggernaut in 2011 under former offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. New England, under offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, has continued to adapt and change on a game-by-game basis depending on the opposition.

How does the game end? Can the Patriots put up enough points to pull off the win?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

H4TV: Is the New England Patriots Running Game a Mirage? - The Sports Journal

Is the New England Patriots Running Game a Mirage? - The Sports Journal

As is often the case, the Patriots fan base is awash in joy with the emergence of Gray after the loss of starting running back Stevan Ridley for the season to a knee injury. However, despite the optimism on social media, there is reason to pump the brakes on the enthusiasm in the running game. To date, the Patriots season have topped 200 yards on the ground just twice this season. In fact, in six of their ten games, the Patriots have failed to rush for at least ninety yards as a team.



A large part of the success on the ground has had to do with the game plan and the opponent...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cover32: Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots win over the Colts? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots win over the Colts? | New England Patriots

The Grades are in for the Patriots 42-20 win over the Colts on Sunday Night. Who do you think performed the best for the Patriots? Who was the star performer everyone overlooked? How did they shut down the best offense in the NFL? How did they do so well on offense with Brady struggling like he did in the first half?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

MusketFire: New England Patriots vs Indianapolis Colts Game Preview

New England Patriots vs Indianapolis Colts Game Preview

One last Game Preview for what could be an epic Sunday Night Football match-up featuring two of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL as the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts face-off.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Cover32: What do the New England Patriots have to do to beat the Indianapolis Colts? | New England Patriots

What do the New England Patriots have to do to beat the Indianapolis Colts? | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have to be ready to face the entire Indianapolis Colts offense, not just quarterback Andrew Luck. If the Patriots are going to add to their five-game winning streak they will need to win some key match-ups against the Colts in the secondary.

YouGabSports - Sports Friday with Hal AFC East Theories.11 13 2014

- Sports Friday with Hal AFC East Theories.11 13 2014

Why does the AFC East stink year-after-year? Here's one look back at what the other teams have done and a theory about their current roster-building moves that shows why they keep looking up at Bill Belichick and Tom Brady:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

H4-Entertainment: New England Patriots Second Half of Season Has No Easy Wins - The Sports Journal

New England Patriots Second Half of Season Has No Easy Wins - The Sports Journal

The New England Patriots sit at seven wins and two losses and at the bye week are in control of the top seed of the AFC. The team is clicking on both sides of the ball with the offense third in the NFL at 31.2 points per game and twelfth on defense at 22.0 points per game (all stats from Pro-Football-Reference.com). Despite a five game winning streak, the road gets more difficult.
AFC South leading Indianapolis is first up with young superstar quarterback Andrew Luck leading the Colts to the number one offense in the NFL averaging 32.2 points per game while jumping out to a 6-3 record. The Patriots travel to Indianapolis with both teams coming off a bye week. The Colts lost two close games to open the season to Denver and Philadelphia before winning six of seven. Look for New England to borrow freely from the Pittsburgh Steelers game plan that put 51 points up on the Colts in week eight
The next week gets no easier for New England as NFC North leading Detroit comes to Gillette Stadium.

MusketFire: New England Patriots: Three Key Under-the-Radar Match-ups

New England Patriots: Three Key Under-the-Radar Match-ups

In preparation for the Colts-Patriots game, here are three key match-ups to watch for on Sunday night beyond the boring “Brady vs. Luck” talk (they’re not even on the field at the same time!), who is going to cover Gronk, and who covers Reggie Wayne andT.Y. Hilton. These are the under-the-radar battles that often are a major factor in determining who comes out on top in the game and will help decide who arises in this battle for AFC supremacy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cover32: New England Patriots players set to break out in the second-half of the season | New England Patriots

New England Patriots players set to break out in the second-half of the season | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots sit at 7-2 in first place in the AFC East and would be the top seed in the AFC if the playoffs started today. As the Patriots prepare for a grueling second half schedule, the team is in position to continue their hot stretch as they’ve won five consecutive games after a 2-2 start. To continue their winning ways, however, New England has to continue to get contributions from players not expected to contribute early on in the season.



Wide receiver Brandon LaFell, after no receptions in the first two games of the season, has come on strong as a top target for Tom Brady. Young linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins have stepped up in their third and second seasons, respectively, to take on the multi-faceted roles required in the Bill Belichick defense as they rush the passer, cover tight ends and running backs, and stick their nose into gaps to stuff the run.



Here are some other players that have not made a big impact in the first half of the season who may be in position to make a significant and surprising impact for the Patriots in their final seven games:

Monday, November 10, 2014

MusketFire: New England Patriots Go 3-0 During the Bye Week

New England Patriots Go 3-0 During the Bye Week

It was a fruitful bye week for the New England Patriots as they picked up an extra game on their division rivals in the AFC East and got a gift from the New York Jets. The Miami Dolphins went into Detroit and lost 20-16 losing a lead late in the game in heartbreaking fashion. The Buffalo Bills hosted the Kansas City Chiefs and took a 13-3 lead into the fourth quarter before falling 17-13. Finally, after conference rival Pittsburgh emerged as a legitimate challenger for the AFC crown the past few weeks, Jets head coach Rex Ryan dialed-up a game plan that showed how to shut down Ben Roethlisberger and the potent Steelers passing attack.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

MusketFire: Can the New England Patriots Rushing Attack Carry Them?

Can the New England Patriots Rushing Attack Carry Them?

The New England Patriots are on the bye week during week ten of the NFL season and are in first place in the AFC East with a 7-2 record. Having beaten Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos last week, the Patriots have the number one seed in their grasp with that valuable head-to-head tiebreaker for home field throughout the playoffs. However, the schedule looks intimidating with matchups against the AFC South leading Indianapolis Colts, NFC North powerhouses Detroit and Green Bay, travelling across the country to face the San Diego Chargers, the surprising Dolphins and then after the Jets in week fifteen, the Patriots close out the season with the resurgent Buffalo Bills.



With this difficult stretch of the season coming post-bye week for the Patriots the team needs to be able to pull out victories in difficult environments. Quarterback Tom Brady and the passing offense showed how they can thrive despite the cold and wind last week against Denver as the Patriots offense saw four different receivers catch five or more passes as Brady threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns. However, as the team goes on the road to play Indianapolis, Green Bay, San Diego, and the Jets the offense needs to be able to quiet the loud crowds in opposing stadiums.



One way to do that is to run the ball effectively.

H4TV:" Boston Red Sox Need to Make a Free Agent Splash This Off-Season - The Sports Journal

Boston Red Sox Need to Make a Free Agent Splash This Off-Season - The Sports Journal

The Boston Red Sox ended the 2014 season in last place in the American League East with a 71-91 record just one season after winning the World Series. The Red Sox still feature some established stars such as designated hitter David Ortiz, first baseman Mike Napoli, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, and closer Koji Uehara who should contribute significantly to the team again in 2015. The roster also has a number of young players and young veterans who should contribute to the team next year.
Despite their disappointing 2014 campaign, there is enough talent both young and old on this roster to get back into the playoff race with some strategic moves this off-season. The Red Sox have some interesting talent on offense such as Rusney CastilloMookie BettsXander Bogaerts, and Yoenis Cespedes, some intriguing arms in the rotation such as Joe KellyAllen Webster, and Rubby De LaRosa. However, the team has needs that need to be addressed this winter.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Cover32: Who exactly are these New England Patriots? | New England Patriots

Who exactly are these New England Patriots? | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots head into their bye week with a 7-2 record and their usual spot on top of the AFC East. However, the journey has been far more different than anyone could have predicted: a rough September, a struggling Tom Brady, a Rob Gronkowski struggling to get healthy, Brandon LaFell struggling to get involved into the offense and a defense struggling to find an identity.



After nine games, the Patriots’ offense has taken center stage as it is second in the NFL in points at 31.2 points per game. After reaching 30 points just once in the first four weeks of the season, the Patriots turned around the season as they put up 43, 37, 27, 51 and 43 points despite losing starting running back Stevan Ridley to a knee injury.



The defense has been no slouch either as it helped keep the Patriots above .500.

MusketFire: New England Patriots Offense Ready for Improvement

New England Patriots Offense Ready for Improvement

At the mid-season bye week the New England Patriots are taking a week off from playing the games and it is the perfect time to take a look back and a look forward to the second half of the 2014 season. If the playoffs began right now, the Patriots would be the number one seed in the AFC with their 7-2 record and tie-breaking victory over the Denver Broncos. A major part of that turnaround has been the play of quarterback Tom Brady and the offense. However, with Miami and Buffalo at 5-3 heading into this weekend, the Patriots have a long road and a tough schedule to get through to get to the playoffs and win the AFC East again.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Cover32: Grade Day: Who shined in the New England Patriots win over the Broncos? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: Who shined in the New England Patriots win over the Broncos? | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots turned in a stellar performance Sunday afternoon against the Denver Broncos. In a cold and windy Gillette Stadium, with the unseasonal snow already ended, the Patriots gave the Broncos a blast of aggressive play on both sides of the ball.



The Patriots jumped out to a 27-7 lead at the half as quarterback Tom Brady threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Julian Edelman had a huge first half as he exploded for 66 yards on six receptions, while adding a scintillating 84-yard punt return for a touchdown. On defense the Patriots forced three punts, a turnover on downs, a missed field goal and a momentum-changing interception to Rob Ninkovich.



Despite allowing two second half touchdowns, the Patriots tightened up in the fourth quarter as the Broncos failed to convert fourth downs on all three drives, stalling out in New England territory three times. Rob Gronkowski made the play of the game with a dramatic one-handed, 20-yard reception at the beginning of the fourth quarter to set-up his one-yard touchdown on the next play.



As we do each week at Cover32.com, it is time to dig into the game film and hand out the grades for the Patriots.

Monday, November 03, 2014

MusketFire: Patriots Pick Six: Leftovers from Sunday's Win over Denver

Patriots Pick Six: Leftovers from Sunday's Win over Denver

The New England Patriots had a huge win at home against the defending AFC Champion Denver Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning. The Patriots got big plays in all three phases of the game to top the Broncos 43 to 21 as they created turnovers, exploited holes in the vaulted Broncos defense, and quarterback Tom Brady continued his run of strong play in the passing game as he continued to shake off his slow start in September.



Here are six key points that may have been overlooked from the Patriots win over the Broncos.





1. The Denver Broncos made a tactical mistake during the season that hurt the team in the first quarter and affected them throughout the game...

Saturday, November 01, 2014

FirstStopFantasy.com: Week Nine Game Preview: New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs – First Stop Fantasy

Week Nine Game Preview: New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs – First Stop Fantasy

For the New York Jets, the thought of challenging New England for the division lead seems a distant preseason memory. Instead, the focus is on ending the seven game losing streak and spending the second-half of the season building towards 2015 while playing spoiler.  Another loss would tie second-longest losing streak in team history and now the Jets face the 4-3 Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.



The Jets turned to quarterback Michael Vick last week after a historically terrible first quarter versus Buffalo last week by second-year quarterback Geno Smith.  Smith threw three picks as the Jets fell behind 14-0. While Vick provided an initial burst of energy, he still had fumbling issues of his own with four total fumbles and he threw an interception while being sacked four times (all stats from NFL.com).

Friday, October 31, 2014

Cover32: Why is this week’s Patriots-Broncos matchup so different from last year’s? | New England Patriots

Why is this week’s Patriots-Broncos matchup so different from last year’s? | New England Patriots



The New England Patriots face-off against the Denver Broncos in a rematch of the AFC Championship Game from last season. Unlike that game, the Patriots and the Broncos will be meeting on the cold, wet, windy field of Gillette Stadium, rather than in the Mile High atmosphere of Denver. A year ago, a depleted Patriots offense was overwhelmed by a strong Denver front line on defense. On defense, a 3-0 game turned into a blowout as former Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib left the game after being hit by former Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cover32: Grade Day: Are the New England Patriots hitting on all cylinders, yet? | New England Patriots | Page 2

Grade Day: Are the New England Patriots hitting on all cylinders, yet? | New England Patriots | Page 2

On a beautiful autumn afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA, the New England Patriots crushed the Chicago Bears 51-23. It was a strong overall performance on both sides of the ball as the Patriots took a 7-0 lead after one quarter and put 31 points up during the second quarter putting the game away early and putting New England in high spirits as they prepare for a showdown with the defending AFC Champion Denver Broncos and record-setting quarterback Peyton Manning.
But first, a final look back to the Bears game and the weekly grades:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

MusketFire: New England Patriots Dominate Dysfunctional Chicago Bears

New England Patriots Dominate Dysfunctional Chicago Bears

With running back Jonas Gray (17 rushes for 86 yards) running hard, wide receiverBrandon LaFell (11 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown) having a signature performance as a Patriot, and tight end Rob Gronkowski (9 receptions for 124 yards and 3 touchdowns) basically unstoppable the Bears defense was back on their heels and did not force a punt until well into the second half of the game. Quarterback Tom Brady (30 of 35 for 354 yards and 5 touchdowns) had his sharpest performance of the season as the Bears took away slot wide receiver Julian Edelman but no one in the Bears secondary could slow Gronkowski and LaFell.

MusketFire: New England Patriots vs Bears: Final Pregame Thoughts

New England Patriots vs Bears: Final Pregame Thoughts

The Patriots welcome the Chicago Bears to Gillette Stadium this afternoon. The Bears may be have a losing record so far in 2014, but the Monsters of the Midway have an offense that has big-play receivers and the most versatile running back in the league in Matt Forte. On defense, their defensive line play is superb and they have solid players in the secondary–especially with impressive rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller upgraded to “Probable” and likely to play.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cover32: The New England Patriots need to find some consistency very quickly | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots need to find some consistency very quickly | New England Patriots

One tenet of the Bill Belichick defense in New England has been a deliberate attempt to prevent a big play in the passing game. Year after year, fans bemoan the “bend-but-don’t-break” defense that allows opponents to sustain drives after drives, giving the opponent small chunks of yardage in exchange for taking away downfield plays. The Patriots rank at the top of the NFL after seven weeks, allowing just 208 yards passing per game which would imply a top passing defense.



However, that is clearly not the case.



The Patriots are fifth from the bottom of the league in rushing defense, and teams have been eschewing piling up yards through the air in order to run the ball. Now, part of that is due to the level of competition as Minnesota, Oakland, Buffalo, and the New York Jets have subpar passing attacks and offenses that perform better with a running game. New England has had four games allowing under 80 yards rushing and three games allowing over 190 yards rushing.



How does that happen?

H4TV: Are The New England Patriots Ready to be Tested? - The Sports Journal

Are The New England Patriots Ready to be Tested? - The Sports Journal

After seven weeks the New England Patriots find themselves in a familiar situation: on top of the AFC East. Despite a shocking week one second-half meltdown in Miami in week one, the Patriots gutted out two ugly wins against the Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders (a combined 2-11 so far in 2014). Week four saw the Monday Night Massacre as the Kansas City Chiefs ran roughshod on the New England defense while blitzing future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Tom Brady right off the field leading many to question if this is the end of the Bill Belichick Dynasty in New England...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

MusketFire: New England Patriots Have Match-up Options vs Bears

New England Patriots Have Match-up Options vs Bears



At five wins and two losses through seven games the New England Patriots are sitting atop the AFC East once again in a familiar position of strength after defeating their division rivals the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets these last two weeks. Now the Patriots are moving forward likely without top pass-rusher Chandler Jones as he is out for a few weeks with a hip injury. The Patriots face the Chicago Bears at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.



For the Patriots, the loss of Jones is huge. He has been their most consistent pass rusher and puts pressure on his replacement to pick-up the slack. Look for first-round draft pick Dominique Easley to pick-up playing time in Jones’ place, particularly on third down. Also, sixth-round draft pick Zach Moore generated some pressure inside in the past two weeks and could step in for Easley inside if he slides out to the edge. Rob Ninkovich will be expected to bring pressure Sunday, especially with young right tackle Jordan Mills the weak link of the Bears offensive line...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cover32: Grade Day: Which New England Patriot performed best against the Jets? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: Which New England Patriot performed best against the Jets? | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots came out with their muskets firing against the New York Jets on a wet and humid October night in Foxborough, MA on Thursday Night Football. It looked like it would be a banner game for the Patriots after a four-play, 80-yard drive was highlighted by a 49-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady to running back Shane Vereen gave the Patriots the lead a minute-and-a-half into the game.



That lead did not last long as the Jets drove deep into New England territory on long, sustained drives on their first five possessions of the game. The Jets dominated the game as they ran 80 plays to the Patriots 53, had 28 first downs to the Patriots 16, 218 yards rushing to the Patriots 63 and controlled the ball for over 40 minutes. But the Jets still lost the game 27-25, falling short on a two-point conversion and a blocked 58-yard, desperation field goal.



The Patriots were gassed physically and mentally on the field after just a three-day turnaround from a tough, physical game against the Buffalo Bills. Factor in the emotional swings that came with the loss of defensive captain Jerod Mayo and starting running back Stevan Ridley, and the Patriots were in a vulnerable position. Fortunately, they escaped the trap game as they rode the leadership and strong play of quarterback Tom Brady and earned a few days of rest after playing four games in the last 18 days.



With the 27-25 win in the books, here are the grades from Thursday night:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

MusketFire.com: New England Patriots' Offense Needs to Avoid "Trap" Game

New England Patriots' Offense Needs to Avoid "Trap" Game

The New England Patriots kick-off week seven of the NFL 2014 season as they face-off against their division rival New York Jets on Thursday Night Football.  The Patriots are coming off back-to-back victories as they defeated Cincinnati 43-17 on an emotional Sunday night at Gillette Stadium and then went into Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY and beat Buffalo decisively 37-22. Now they face a hungry Jets squad with just one win and five losses.



A short week. A desperate opponent with nothing to lose. A division rival who knows all of the Patriots’ strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. The Patriots coming off two emotional wins and suffering a number of major injuries. It screams “trap game”.



So how do the Patriots avoid a letdown on offense Thursday night versus the Jets? Here are two ways to do it:

Cover32: Grade Day: The New England Patriots are finally rounding into form | New England Patriots

Grade Day: The New England Patriots are finally rounding into form | New England Patriots

Sunday afternoon we saw the New England Patriots face the Buffalo Bills in Week 6 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY. It was a celebration in Buffalo as the Bills introduced new owner Terry Pegula for the first game with new ownership after over 50 years with the Wilson family. It was bittersweet for the Bills as they fell to the Patriots 37-22. It was bittersweet for New England as well, as starting running back Stevan Ridley and defensive captain and linebacker Jerod Mayo suffered what appear to be season-ending injuries.



The Patriots had a classic Bill Belichick game plan straight out of 2004 as cornerback Darrelle Revis played the role of Ty Law, taking away the top passing threat, who, in this case, was dynamic rookie Sammy Watkins. In addition, he took away what Buffalo does best as the defense and massive tackles Vince Wilfork and newcomer Casey Walker clogged up the middle of the defense. On offense it was the Tom Brady show as the veteran quarterback shook off an ankle injury that occurred at practice on Friday to again light up the scoreboard with a solid performance from an injury-riddled offensive line

Sunday, October 12, 2014

MusketFire: Instant Analysis: New England Patriots Get Tough Road Win

Instant Analysis: New England Patriots Get Tough Road Win

It was a celebration in Buffalo as the crowd was noisy and boisterous in Orchard Park, NY as Ralph Wilson Stadium welcomed new owner Terry Pegula. Less welcome was number twelve in the New England Patriots White and Blue road uniforms as quarterback Tom Brady once more faced off against his division rivals to the North, this time with sole possession of first place in the AFC East for the taking.



It was a game about toughness: both teams had strong running games and both teams were determined to not allow the other to control the clock and grind out yards. The Patriots had just 50 yards rushing on 27 attempts. Buffalo ground out 68 yards on 23 carries (all statistics from NFL.com). Both teams were forced to go to the air to try win the game (especially for New England after Stevan Ridley left with a knee injury in the third quarter). The Patriots had Tom Brady behind center and Darrelle Revis matched-up on the Bills top receiving weapon.



Advantage New England.



http://musketfire.com/2014/10/12/instant-analysis-new-england-patriots-get-tough-road-win-vs-buffalo-bills/


Saturday, October 11, 2014

MusketFire: What is the New England Patriots' Game Plan to Defeat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday?

What is the New England Patriots' Game Plan to Defeat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday?

The Patriots have their work cut out for them against a tough Buffalo defense on Sunday. In addition, rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins is emerging as a legitimate star in his first season in the NFL. With Buffalo still having a strong running game still and veteran Kyle Orton stepping in for ineffective second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel, the Patriots will be in for a sixty minute battle against a highly talented squad.



Here is a look at the offensive and defensive game plan for New England to beat the Bills.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Cover32: Grade Day: The New England Patriots’ stars came to play in primetime | New England Patriots

Grade Day: The New England Patriots’ stars came to play in primetime | New England Patriots

After last week against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Monday Night Massacre, the New England Patriots received some understandably harsh criticism in the week leading up to their showdown with the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals. Against Kansas City the Patriots run defense was carved up like a turkey, and the pass defense was swiss cheese. On offense the running game was invisible and an afterthought, while the passing game never got off the ground due to some poor pass protection and a rattled quarterback.
Now New England was facing off against the best defense in the NFL (11.0 points per game allowed entering the game) and a week of turmoil seemed ready to push the team to the edge of the cliff in Week 5 of the 2014 NFL season. There are just two options when backed up like the Patriots were: fall back off the cliff and watch the season free fall or fight back.
The Patriots came out swinging like a heavyweight champion on Sunday night...

MusketFire: Who Wins the Game Ball for the New England Patriots in Week Five?

Who Wins the Game Ball for the New England Patriots in Week Five?

After a blowout loss on Monday night, the New England Patriots desperately needed a bounce-back win in convincing fashion on Sunday night. A 43 to 17 victory later and the Patriots had not only rebounded with a big win but they regained the necessary momentum by beating an undefeated Cincinnati Bengals squad that came in with the top-rated defense.



Each week there is one player who stands out above the others on the field. In Sunday night’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Patriots had multiple players who stood out on the field and on the statsheet.



Who do you believe should win the game ball?

Monday, September 29, 2014

MusketFire: Instant Analysis: New England Patriots Trampled By the Kansas City Chiefs in First Half

Instant Analysis: New England Patriots Trampled By the Kansas City Chiefs in First Half

The first half was all about the Patriots allowing the Chiefs to convert third downs and failing on their own offense in converting first downs. There was little pass rush, little aggressive run stopping, and no matching the Chiefs’ energy and enthusiasm in the first half of the game. The offensive line was not terrible, but hardly great as the Patriots were again out-of-sync on offense.

MusketFire.com: New England Patriots To Make Offensive Line Changes Tonight Versus Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots To Make Offensive Line Changes Tonight Versus Kansas City Chiefs

At long last the New England Patriots seem ready to shake up the interior offensive line!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cover32: Behind Enemy Lines: Is Tom Brady finally falling off? | Kansas City Chiefs

Behind Enemy Lines: Is Tom Brady finally falling off? | Kansas City Chiefs

On Monday night the Kansas City Chiefs will play the New England Patriots. To learn more about them we sent a few questions to Hal Bent of cover32 Patriots.



1) It seems like the big story with New England this season is that Tom Brady is starting to decline as a QB. Is that a fair accusation or does the blame fall on his receivers?



Brady is 37 years old and the deep passing and accuracy have been in decline slightly since 2012. He is one of 13 on passes over 20 yards in the air to date. That being said, he has looked like the same Tom Brady of the past when he has time to make his reads and step into his throws on intermediate passes. Too many times Brady is trying to get the ball out of his hands in less than two seconds due to the pressure around him as the offensive line breaks down.



Brady has had growing pains with the receivers as well as more blame falls on the line as he has been forced to lock onto a primary target (usually Rob Gronkowski or Julian Edelman) rather than find Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell, Aaron Dobson or Kenbrell Thompkins as a second or third read on the play... http://cover32.com/chiefs/2014/09/27/behind-enemy-lines-is-tom-brady-finally-falling-off/

MusketFire: New England Patriots: Under-the-Radar Chiefs to Watch

New England Patriots: Under-the-Radar Chiefs to Watch

Under-the-Radar Performers for Kansas City Who Could Have a Huge Impact Monday Night against the New England Patriots:

Many times the game is won or lost by the unheralded players in the trenches, on special teams, and on the field alongside the stars. Let’s take a look at some of the under-the-radar players on the Kansas City roster who could have a significant impact on the final score on Monday night against the Patriots...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Cover32: Three things to watch for when the New England Patriots take on the Chiefs | New England Patriots

Three things to watch for when the New England Patriots take on the Chiefs | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots head to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football in Week 4. At 2-1 the Patriots are tied for first place in the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills, but their offense has been mediocre to date. By yards per game, the Patriots are 27th, with just over 301 yards per game. However, they are dead last in yards per play with a paltry 4.3 yards per offensive play.



The stats on offense are just not good through three games: The Patriots are 27th in the league in passing yards, with 589 yards; net yards gained per passing attempt (factoring in sacks and negative yardage) finds New England 30th in the NFL; and even rushing the ball sees the Patriots in the bottom half of the statistics as they are 22nd in total yards rushing with 315 yards in three games and 26th in yards per attempt at 3.5 yards per attempt.



Beyond the statistics, the offense simply does not pass the eye test...

H4-Entertainment: New England Patriots Offensive Line Improvements Are Key To Success This Season - The Sports Journal

New England Patriots Offensive Line Improvements Are Key To Success This Season - The Sports Journal

The New England Patriots prepare for a Monday Night match-up against the Kansas City Chiefs in week four with numerous question marks three weeks into the 2014 NFL season. On defense, the Patriots have been jumping between the 3-4 and 4-3 alignment and moving pass rushers such as defensive end/outside linebacker Chandler Jones inside and out trying to show different looks and experimenting with different looks.  It is no different in the secondary as top cornerback Darrelle Revis passively vented recently about the lack of aggressive schemes as New England was anything but aggressive in coverage last week against Oakland.
On offense, however, New England is an absolute mess. 

H4-Entertainment: New England Patriots Offensive Line Improvements Are Key To Success This Season - The Sports Journal

New England Patriots Offensive Line Improvements Are Key To Success This Season - The Sports Journal

The New England Patriots prepare for a Monday Night match-up against the Kansas City Chiefs in week four with numerous question marks three weeks into the 2014 NFL season. On defense, the Patriots have been jumping between the 3-4 and 4-3 alignment and moving pass rushers such as defensive end/outside linebacker Chandler Jones inside and out trying to show different looks and experimenting with different looks.  It is no different in the secondary as top cornerback Darrelle Revis passively vented recently about the lack of aggressive schemes as New England was anything but aggressive in coverage last week against Oakland.
On offense, however, New England is an absolute mess. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cover32: Grade Day: How’d the New England Patriots fare against the Oakland Raiders? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: How’d the New England Patriots fare against the Oakland Raiders? | New England Patriots

Sunday afternoon saw the New England Patriots take on the Oakland Raiders in Week 3, the home opener at Foxborough, MA. It was a game with all the finesse of a preseason game, as the Patriots looked like 46 guys who met for the first time that day and played a football game together. Fortunately, the Raiders were unable to take advantage of it, as their rookie quarterback Derek Carr was unable to get Oakland into the end zone.



With a 16-9 victory over one of the worst NFL teams in the league, both the offensive and defensive units had a weak showings: the offense was unable to generate and then finish drives all afternoon; the defense went 59-plus minutes before making a big play; the game was won by the special teams unit, as Stephen Gostkowski booted three field goals and was four for four on kickoffs generating touchbacks, and punter Ryan Allen and gunner Matthew Slater changed field position well. Slater even had a 26-yard kick return giving the Patriots great field position on a squib kickoff.



Now on to the score card:

Who do you believe graded out well for the Patriots in their win on Sunday?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

MusketFire: Which New England Patriot Gets the MusketFire Game Ball for Week Three?

Which New England Patriot Gets the MusketFire Game Ball for Week Three?

Each week there is one player who stands out above the others on the field. In Sunday’s win over the Oakland Raiders, the Patriots had multiple players who stood out on the field and on the statsheet. Although it seemed unlikely after the unimpressive 16-9 victory, there were a few players jumping off the game film.

Who do you believe should receive the Game Ball for the Patriots' win on Sunday?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

MusketFire: Instant Analysis New England Patriots Sleepwalk to 16-9 Win Over Oakland Raiders

New England Patriots Sleepwalk to 16-9 Win Over Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders came into Foxborough, MA on a stopover on their way to London to play the Dolphins next week. The New England Patriots offense seemed to have already taken the week off on a vacation of their own. The Raiders came in at 0-2 and had struggled particularly stopping the run. So, of course, the Patriots came out with three consecutive passes. Huh? Yes, it was one of those games for the Patriots again.

New England started the game with 2013 second-round draft pick and wide receiverAaron Dobson inactive for the second time in three games. That led Brandon “Offensive Pass Interference” LaFell, Danny “Invisible” Amendola, and Kenbrell Thompkins at wide receiver other than top target Julian Edelman. With Rob Gronkowski still working to full strength and Shane Vereen still not 100% healthy, the Patriots’ offense continued to look as if they were still playing preseason games as they shuffled receivers in and out.

Friday, September 19, 2014

H4TV: New England Patriots Defense Already Improved Due To Buying Into Revis Island - The Sports Journal

New England Patriots Defense Already Improved Due To Buying Into Revis Island - The Sports Journal

Two games into the 2014 NFL season and there are numerous questions about the New England Patriots on offense and defense:



Is Tom Brady still able to be an elite quarterback?

Will a receiver emerge other than Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski?

Can the Patriots’ front seven stop a power running team?

and can the Patriots mount a consistent pass rush?

However, one question has already been answered after just two games: Is Darrelle Revis still a shut-down cornerback and have the ability to turn the Patriots’ defense into the type of defense able to take the next step in the playoffs? So far the answer is a resounding Y-E-S.



The addition of cornerback Darrelle Revis in place of departed free agent Aqib Talib is a major upgrade at defense.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

FirstStopFantasy.com: FSF Top 100 Players – #8 Tom Brady – First Stop Fantasy

FSF Top 100 Players – #8 Tom Brady – First Stop Fantasy

At 37 years old New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has reached the point of his career where–like his long-time counterpart/rival/fellow elite quarterback Peyton Manning–every week there seems to be another milestone, another record, another step up the NFL list of records. This year Tom Brady approaches 50,000 career passing yards, currently has 360 touchdowns, is nearing 150 career regular season victories, and is known as one of the greatest clutch quarterbacks in NFL history.
A sixth-round draft pick (#199 overall) in 2000, Brady began fourth on the New England quarterback depth chart. As a rookie he completed one pass for six yards in three attempts during garbage time. Since taking over as the starter in week three, only a knee injury stealing his 2008 season has slowed Brady.

Cover32: What do the New England Patriots need to jumpstart their season? | New England Patriots

What do the New England Patriots need to jumpstart their season? | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots return home to Foxborough, MA after opening with two weeks on the road as they face the Oakland Raiders in Week 3 of the regular season this Sunday. After losing the opener at Miami in the season opener, the Patriots rebounded with a 30-7 victory last week at Minnesota. New England will attempt to get over the .500 mark this week with a win against the 0-2 Raiders.



While the Patriots talk about the matchup being challenging the facts speak for themselves:



The Raiders have given up 400 yards rushing combined in just two games;

Las Vegas has the Patriots as a 14-point favorite;

Oakland got wiped out at home last week by a team that lost 14 games last season;

and the Raiders have lost 14 consecutive games on the East Coast.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MusketFire.com: Which New England Patriots Player is Awarded the Game Ball

Which New England Patriots Player is Awarded the Game Ball

Which New England Patriots Player is Awarded the Game Ball This Week?  Each week there is one player who stands out above the others on the field. In Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings, the Patriots had multiple players who stood out on the field and on the statsheet.



Free safety and defensive captain Devin McCourty swung the momentum in the first quarter with an athletic interception and electrifying return. Wide receiver Julian Edelman hauled in six passes for 81 yards and a touchdown including a 44 yard reception, and he contributed on special teams as he had two field position changing punt returns of 34 and 28 yards. Cornerback Darrelle Revis was assigned former Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings as his assignment to shadow the entire game. Revis shut him down allowing just one reception for four yards on four targets. Add in an interception, and Revis had a signature shutdown game.



But none of these three win the game ball this week. In fact, they are not even the finalists...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cover32: Grade Day: Who played best for the New England Patriots against the Vikings? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: Who played best for the New England Patriots against the Vikings? | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots bounced-back in week two in Minnesota as they defeated the Vikings 30 to 7. The Patriots shook off a tough first series that saw the Vikings–sans Adrian Peterson–march down the field methodically and efficiently and jumped to a 7 to 0 lead. The Patriots came right back with three running plays and a punt. However, an interception and electrifying return by Pro Bowl free safety Devin McCourty opened the floodgates for New England and put them on the path to victory.



Without further ado, here are the grades:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

MusketFire: Instant Analysis: New England Patriots defeat Minnesota Vikings 30-7

Instant Analysis: New England Patriots defeat Minnesota Vikings 30-7

Instant Analysis: New England Patriots defeat Minnesota Vikings 30-7:

In a “throw-back” victory for the Patriots, turnovers created by the defense, a strong running game, and efficient passing led to a New England win 30-7 over the Vikings. The Patriots added consistent play on special teams and a big play to swing the game their way. Rather than the New England teams of the last five or six seasons, this game showed a Patriots team that had a solid game plan, controlled the line of scrimmage, and rode a strong defense to victory.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

FirstStopFantasy: Game Preview: Denver Broncos Week Two vs Kansas City Chiefs – First Stop Fantasy

Game Preview: Denver Broncos Week Two vs Kansas City Chiefs – First Stop Fantasy

Last year the Denver Broncos had to wait until week eleven to face off with AFC West rival Kansas City. In 2014 the division rivalry starts early as the 0-1 Chiefs travel to Denver to face off against the 1-0 Broncos. The Chiefs opened the season up with a disappointing 26-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The Broncos took both meetings decisively last year and would like nothing better than to put the Chiefs in a 0-2 hole and grab some early breathing room in the division.



The Chiefs are just trying to hold things together after season-ending Achilles injuries to defensive end Mike Devito and linebacker Derrick Johnson. Kansas City had to sign former Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson to shore up the depth of the defensive line. Last week Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith looked shaky against the Titans defense. Smith completed just 19-of-35 passes for 202 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions and was also sacked four times throughout the ballgame...

FirstStopFantasy: Game Preview: Denver Broncos Week Two vs Kansas City Chiefs – First Stop Fantasy

Game Preview: Denver Broncos Week Two vs Kansas City Chiefs – First Stop Fantasy

Last year the Denver Broncos had to wait until week eleven to face off with AFC West rival Kansas City. In 2014 the division rivalry starts early as the 0-1 Chiefs travel to Denver to face off against the 1-0 Broncos. The Chiefs opened the season up with a disappointing 26-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The Broncos took both meetings decisively last year and would like nothing better than to put the Chiefs in a 0-2 hole and grab some early breathing room in the division.



The Chiefs are just trying to hold things together after season-ending Achilles injuries to defensive end Mike Devito and linebacker Derrick Johnson. Kansas City had to sign former Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson to shore up the depth of the defensive line. Last week Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith looked shaky against the Titans defense. Smith completed just 19-of-35 passes for 202 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions and was also sacked four times throughout the ballgame...

Friday, September 12, 2014

FirstStopFantasy Game Preview: Green Bay Packers Week Two vs New York Jets – First Stop Fantasy

Game Preview: Green Bay Packers Week Two vs New York Jets – First Stop Fantasy

Fresh off a disappointing season opener in Seattle in week one, the Green Bay Packers face another top defense of the NFL as the New York Jets travel to historic Lambeau Field in week two. They face a Jets squad that dominated the lowly Oakland Raiders in week one. The Jets defense beat-up Oakland’s rookie quarterback Derek Carr and only another multi-turnover performance by quarterback Geno Smith kept the Raiders in the game.
The Jets will find that Aaron Rodgers is a little more of a challenge to their aggressive defense...

Cover32: Top Three Matchups: New England Patriots vs. Minnesota Vikings

cover32.com/patriots/2014/09/12/top-three-matchups-new-england-patriots-vs-minnesota-vikings/

The New England Patriots played one strong half on defense against Miami last week and put up 20 points in the first quarter. Unfortunately, the Patriots forgot to come out and play in the second half as Miami ran away with the game and sent New England home a loser on opening day. Now the Patriots travel to TCF Bank Stadium in Minnesota to face an impressive Vikings team that lit up St. Louis last week 34-6.



As New England attempts to even-up at 1-1 and not fall into an 0-2 hole in the standings, they face a difficult challenge in the surging Vikings. Here are three keys match-ups to watch for on Sunday which will be vital in determining who comes out on top:

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Cover32: Grade Day: Were any of the New England Patriots better than average? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: Were any of the New England Patriots better than average? | New England Patriots

The 33-20 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday was a tale of two halves.
First, give credit to Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle and the players on the field for the Dolphins. To say that the Patriots lost because they played poorly is a disrespect to the Dolphins defense and coaching staff. The Dolphins were playing with three backup linebackers, and both Dion Jordan, the third overall pick last year, and starting safety Reshad Jones were suspended for the game as well. What that defense did was nothing short of spectacular.
Also, give credit to Miami offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Not because he incorporated a hurry-up offense and kick started quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but because he stuck with the game plan to run the ball against New England’s 3-4 defense despite being down 10 points at halftime. Miami running back Knowshon Moreno rushed for 68 third quarter yards and 91 overall in the second half of the game. Lamar Miller and Moreno ended up with a combined 35 rushes for 193 yards against the Patriots on Sunday.
All that said, here’s how the Patriots graded out this weekend...

Sunday, September 07, 2014

MusketFire: Instant Analysis: New England Patriots Lose to Miami Dolphins 33-20

Instant Analysis: New England Patriots Lose to Miami Dolphins 33-20

Instant Analysis on the Miami Dolphins' win over the New England Patriots on September 7, 2014. What went right for the Patriots & what went wrong.

MusketFire: New England Patriots Inactives - Quick Analysis

New England Patriots Inactives - Quick Analysis



The New England Patriots' inactive list had some surprises...but none of them were named Brady or Gronkowski. Read the quick analysis of what the inactives mean for the game today...

First Stop Fantasy Game Preview: Dallas Cowboys Week One vs San Francisco 49ers – First Stop Fantasy

Game Preview: Dallas Cowboys Week One vs San Francisco 49ers – First Stop Fantasy

The Dallas Cowboys kick-off the 2014 season at home against the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have made the NFC Championship game the past three seasons but have had a difficult preseason.  The Cowboys catch the 49ers short-handed on defense as defensive lineman Aldon Smith and linebacker NaVorro Bowman will miss the game. On offense, the 49ers have struggled as quarterback Colin Kaepernick was unable to move the ball consistently causing concern for the San Francisco fan base.



With a dynamic Philadelphia Eagles team and Washington looking to bounce-back, the Cowboys have a tough job to claw back into competition for the NFC East title. The Cowboys struggled on defense last year and after releasing defensive end Demarcus Ware for salary cap reasons now are again without linebacker Sean Lee. On offense, a healthy DeMarco Murray and Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, and Tony Romo keeps Dallas in the game each week as the offense–behind an improving offensive line–is in position to be one of the best in football.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

MusketFire: Darrelle Revis vs Mike Wallace Review of 2013 Hints at Patriots Strategy for Week One vs Dolphins

Darrelle Revis Mike Wallace Patriots Dolphins

Reviewing the Patriots-Dolphins matchups last year and the Darrelle Revis-Mike Wallace battle when Tampa Bay beat Miami sheds light on how the Patriots may approach their defensive strategy on Sunday.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Cover32: Radio spot on 940 WINZ in Maimi podcast

ICYMI, my spot on 940 WINZ in Miami with Defo & Goldie Morning Show can be found here:
http://www.940winz.com/media/podcast-winzam-podcast-defoshowpodcasts/090514-d-g-hr-2-jimmy-25253219/

or here:

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Cover 32: Game Preview: New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins | New England Patriots

Preview: New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins | New England Patriots

Last season the Miami Dolphins split the season series with the New England Patriots, and a large part of that was the play of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Despite an offensive line that allowed him to be sacked 59 times last season, Tannehill took a big step forward in his development, throwing for almost 4,000 yards and 24 touchdowns. In the Dolphins’ 24-20 victory over the Patriots in Week 15, Tannehill passed for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tannehill will need to continue his growth at quarterback in his third season to allow Miami to match the New England offense.

Musketfire: New England Patriots: First Look at 5 Key Matchups vs Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots: First Look at 5 Key Matchups vs Miami Dolphins

5 Key Matchups for the New England Patriots vs the Miami Dolphins on Sunday that will lead to victory or a loss.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Cover32 Grade Day: How good is the New England Patriots final roster? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: How good is the New England Patriots final roster? | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots went into game four of the preseason on Thursday night against the New York Giants with a roster still in flux. Rather than grading the players who did not make the cut, Cover32.com Grade Day will take a look at the final cut-downs.



DOWN TO 53: GRADE: B

The Patriots made their big moves cutting down to 75 as they put their faith in the young players and let veteran front-seven defenders Tommy Kelly, Will Smith and James Anderson go. The Patriots kept their young core on the defensive line around veteran Vince Wilfork with first-round draft pick Dominique Easley; last season’s young trio Sealver Siliga, Chris Jones and Joe Vellano; and sixth-round pick Zach Moore. Disappointing 2012 third-round draft pick Jake Bequette was shown the door after three disappointing training camps. Former Green Bay second-round pick Jerel Worthy did not stick on the roster after an underwhelming training camp.



The Patriots are surprisingly thin at linebacker. Impressive young players Ja’Gared Davis, Steve Beauharnais, and Chris White (after initially making the original 53) were released. Undrafted free agent James Morris was placed on injured reserve after a strong preseason. If New England is truly going back to the 3-4, then Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich are at linebacker, with the trio of Jerod Mayo, Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower. Darius Fleming becomes the depth inside and Michael Buchanan sticks as the depth outside linebacker.


Week Six What to Watch for (W2W4): New England Patriots vs New York Jets -- Scout.com

Get everything you need to know before the 3-2 New England Patriots take on the 3-2 New York Jets in a battle for first place in the AFC Eas...