In recent weeks I have been saying that I feel like the New England Patriots have enough pieces on offense to make the whole thing work. That they were still trying to integrate guys like Mohamed Sanu, Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry into the mix. That they still had Julian Edelman and James White. That the running backs have enough talent to be better. That the tight ends are decent enough. Etc.
But…I may have been wrong. And I could be finally ready to admit it.
Now, I don’t have access to the coach’s film like some people that cover the team. And some of them saw progress against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday.
I didn’t see it from my angle.
The Pats should have pummeled these pathetic Bengals, similar to how they pummeled all those bad teams at the beginning of the year. Especially with the 5 turnovers. Especially when they had some tape of the Bengals’ sideline to work with…oops…sorry, was that out loud?!
But they found themselves down by the end of the first quarter and barely up at the half. And looked fairly brutal for most of the game.
Tom Brady missed open guys. Receivers were dropping passes. A bunch of punts. All that.
Never really looked good to me.
Of course, it appears that Edelman is extremely banged up. And Brady may have a bum elbow to boot. Factors that have to be considered for sure.
To that I say, if Jules can’t go, that’s a wrap. Even if Brady ends up being completely healthy.
It would be hard for me to believe the offense could move the ball at all without a somewhat healthy Edelman. Since James White apparently has been defended more by someone in the defensive secondary instead of a plodding linebacker and isn’t as open as he used to be, Jules has been really been Brady’s only reliable target. Even if, with all the drops this year, he hasn’t been as reliable as he usually is.
I just don’t think we can really count on the rest of the corps right now. For a variety of reasons that we have been through before. I just wasn’t ready to face those facts. I am kind of ready to now.
UNLESS they get the running game going. But I’m not counting on that with this offensive line. Sure, Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead looked pretty good Sunday. But…the Bengals.
Big test this week against a top defense in the Buffalo Bills. Being at Foxborough should definitely help. And I do expect the Pats to win the game. But I am also not counting on any offensive fireworks, that’s for sure. Hope I am wrong.
Speaking of Edelman, despite the drops, we were really hoping he would make the Pro Bowl this year.
PRO BOWL?!! WHO CARES??!
True. Normally I don’t care. Especially since we know it’s a popularity contest. Same guys go every year it seems. Not to mention we hope that no Patriots CAN even go, meaning they would be in the Super Bowl again. Not to mention that like a quarter of the team usually backs out, so Jules may still get there if the Pats lose early in the playoffs.
My only thing with Edelman is that somehow he has never made one. People actually put him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame conversation. And he hasn’t even made one single Pro Bowl?
Just would have been nice to see, that’s all.
But we know the Pats don’t care, so why should we?
So the Thursday Night Football slate is done for the season. The feeling here was that the picks were brutal on this night over the course of the season. But they weren’t as bad as I thought. 9-8 against the spread and 11-6 straight up. Not too bad!!
We will separate the Saturday games out from the rest in this case. Actually, let’s just do them all…
Houston (-3.5) at Tampa Bay
Big win at Tennessee last week put the Texans in the driver’s seat for the AFC South. Another matchup with the Titans next week to end the regular season and that is sure to be a big one too. Let down for Houston this week? Well, we saw it against the Broncos the previous Sunday. But I’m betting it doesn’t happen again.
Houston 30, Tampa Bay 24.
Buffalo at New England (-6.5)
The Bills are trying to prove they are ready for Prime Time. But…Josh Allen still stinks. There is just no way to sugarcoat this.
New England 20, Buffalo 17.
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco (-6.5)
What a bad loss for the Niners last week. The Falcons. The way it went down. They would have been better off getting smoked like the Rams did. Guess LA was not back on track.
San Francisco 38, Los Angeles Rams 23.
Carolina at Indianapolis (-6.5)
The Colts were brutal on Monday Night Football. But the Panthers are down to their third string QB.
Indianapolis 27, Carolina 16.
New York Giants at Washington (-2.5)
Wake me up when this one is over.
Washington 17, New York Giants 13.
New Orleans (-3.5) at Tennessee
Good for Drew Brees last week. But have a gut feeling the Titans show up this week.
Tennessee 31, New Orleans 27.
Baltimore (-10.5) at Cleveland
The Browns beat the Ravens in Week 4, Baltimore’s last loss. Can’t see that happening again. Lamar Jackson and company can wrap up home field advantage with a win. Give some players Week 17 off in the process. Even though some of the Browns players are denying they want out, where there is smoke, there is fire.
Baltimore 35, Cleveland 17.
Pittsburgh (-2.5) at New York Jets
Duck Hodges, Mason Rudolph, Paxton Lynch, Landry Jones, Joshua Dobbs, Dennis Dixon, Mike Tomczak, Mark Malone, Cliff Stoudt, Bubby Brister…does it matter? And yes…I am saying this when they are playing the J-E-T-S!
New York Jets 24, Pittsburgh 20.
Cincinnati at Miami (-1.5)
Miami 17, Cincinnati 14.
Jacksonville at Atlanta (-7.5)
Tom Coughlin just got fired. Imagine that.
Atlanta 31, Jacksonville 17.
Oakland at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5)
Horrid loss for the Raiders last week. Same for the Chargers. When am I getting to a game that matters on this list?
Oakland 27, Los Angeles Chargers 24.
Detroit at Denver (-6.5)
Nope, this one doesn’t matter either. Glad to see Matty Patricia getting another shot next year. Not sold on Patricia. But I can’t imagine you can win many games with Jeff Driskel and David Blough.
Denver 34, Detroit 23. Lock of the week (yup!).
Dallas (-2.5) at Philadelphia
Here’s one that matters!! I imagine the winner of this one will win the NFC East. Though it wouldn’t shock me if either lost their Week 17 game against the Redskins or the Giants, respectively. Dak Prescott has been limited in practice, but I would doubt he sits this one out. The ‘Boys have a more talented team. The Eagles have been hammered by injury. But your guess is as good as mine on this one either way.
Dallas 34, Philadelphia 31.
Arizona at Seattle (-9.5)
The Seahawks should roll. But they always seem to play close games. 9.5 is a lot of points. Sorry to hear about Josh Gordon. Looks like his last chance in the NFL. Maybe he cares, maybe he doesn’t. But still a sad story.
Seattle 33, Arizona 24.
Kansas City (-4.5) at Chicago
Here’s hoping the Pats beat the Bills and the Bears win here so the Pats that are banged up can take Week 17 off after wrapping up the second seed and therefore a first round bye. Wishful thinking on the second half of that though.
Kansas City 34, Chicago 17.
Green Bay at Minnesota (-4.5)
The final Monday Night Football game of the year should be a doozy. The Vikings may have clinched a playoff spot by this time and they still may not win the tiebreaker for the division in the end, even with a win here. And the Pack have seemed to sleepwalk through their last couple of games so maybe they awaken as well. Sticking with the home team regardless.
Minnesota 30, Green Bay 24.
Week (against the spread): 9-7
Week (straight up): 10-6
Lock Of The Week (season, ATS): 8-7
Season (against the spread): 112-112
Season (straight up): 144-80