|12.03.13 at 4:01 pm ET|
The Patriots have a chance to clinch or tie for a share of the division title on Sunday if they beat the Browns and the Dolphins lose at the Steelers, an eminently reasonable scenario given the way the season has played out to this point.
However, Bill Belichick said that’s not the focus heading into the game at home against Cleveland.
“Really, we’re not talking too much about that,” Belichick said of his team, which could capture the AFC East for the 11th time in the last 13 years. “The only thing we can really control is how we play against Cleveland. That’s really what we need to focus on. Whatever else does or doesn’t happen in the league is definitely totally outside of our control.
“Hopefully we can go out there and improve and play better and win,” he added, “and whatever else happens or doesn’t happen, we can’t worry about that.”
Here are some other highlights of the Q&A with the media from the Tuesday afternoon conference call:
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|12.03.13 at 2:33 pm ET|
Two Reliant Stadium security guards who were working the Texans-Patriots game on Sunday lost their jobs after taking a picture with Tom Brady following New England’s 34-31 win.
Joel Williams, one of the security guards, told KHOU.com that he ran into Brady after he had clocked out of his shift for the day.
“I said, ‘Hey Tom Brady, good job, good game man.’ He looked at me and smiled,” Williams said. “He was very polite, very nice guy, humble. Sometimes I see players and say hello, and they just keep walking.”
After taking the picture, Williams was approached by his supervisor, who fired him on the spot.
“Immediately after I took the picture, I got ran down by a supervisor,” Williams said. “They didn’t really give a reason, they said you know you’re wrong and you’re fired.”
“What they say and what they practice are two different things,” said Christopher Moore, the other guard who was fired for taking a photo with Brady.. “What we see on a daily basis, whether it be Reliant or CSC employees, is them taking pictures and asking for autographs from players.”
CSC, which stands for Contemporary Services Corporation, justified its actions in a statement sent to KHOU.
“It is strictly against CSC policy for its employees to request photos or autographs from players. CSC stands by its decision to terminate the two employees who violated this policy.”
|12.03.13 at 11:38 am ET|
Every week over the course of the 2013 season, we’ll provide a look at the Patriots pass rush numbers. While sacks can be overrated, when evaluated as part of a bigger picture that includes quarterback hits and quarterback pressures (the latter courtesy of Pro Football Focus), it should provide a good picture as to which defenders are consistently able to get after the quarterback. Through 12 games, the Patriots have 35 sacks (10th in the league), 68 quarterback hits and 134 quarterback hurries. Based on the official NFL game books and PFF, here’s a quick look at some pass-rush numbers for the Patriots to this point in the 2013 season:
DL Chandler Jones: 10.5 (65.5 yards)
DL Chris Jones: 5 (32 yards)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 5 (24 yards)
DL Tommy Kelly: 2.5 (14.5 yards)
LB Dane Fletcher: 2 (19 yards)
CB Logan Ryan: 2 (18 yards)
DE Michael Buchanan: 2 (15 yards)
LB Jerod Mayo: 1.5 (5 yards)
DL Joe Vellano: 1 (13 yards)
LB Dont’a Hightower: 1 (9 yards)
DL Isaac Sopoaga: 1 (8 yards)
DE Andre Carter: 1 (6 yards)
Team sacks: 1 (8 yards)
Quarterback hits (per NFL game books)
DE Chandler Jones: 19
DE Rob Ninkovich: 13
DL Tommy Kelly: 6
DL Chris Jones: 6
DE Michael Buchanan: 5
DE Andre Carter: 5
DL Joe Vellano: 3
LB Dont’a Hightower: 3
LB: Dane Fletcher: 2
LB Jerod Mayo: 2
DL Vince Wilfork: 1
DE Jake Bequette: 1
CB Logan Ryan: 1
S Steve Gregory: 1
DL Issac Sopoaga: 1
LB Jamie Collins: 1
Quarterback hurries (per PFF)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 33
DE Chandler Jones: 28
LB Dont’a Hightower: 12
DL Joe Vellano: 10
DL Chris Jones: 10
DL Tommy Kelly: 6
LB Brandon Spikes: 6
DE Michael Buchanan: 5
LB Jamie Collins: 5
DE Andre Carter: 4
DL Vince Wilfork: 3
DL Isaac Sopoaga: 3
LB Dane Fletcher: 2
LB Jerod Mayo: 2
CB Devin McCourty: 2
CB Marquice Cole: 1
CB Kyle Arrington: 1
DE Jake Bequette: 1
|12.03.13 at 10:44 am ET|
The dominance continues. Seattle’s reign atop the WEEI NFL Power Rankings has reached its seventh straight week. The Seahawks look like a lock to play in New Jersey in Super Bowl XLVIII.
The Panthers (2), Patriots (3) and Broncos (4) all inch one spot closer while the Saints drop out of the top five after being absolutely dismantled in Seattle. New Orleans won’t have much time to think about the loss because the red-hot Panthers are next on the schedule in a battle for the NFC South.
As the regular season draws closer to an end, we’ll see more teams officially eliminated from the playoffs. It looks like at least five playoff teams from 2012 won’t make a return trip in 2013. The Packers (20), Vikings (27), Redskins (28, already eliminated) Falcons (29) and Texans (32) have not lived up to expectations.
1. (1) Seahawks (11-1) – Good luck to any NFC team that has to go through Seattle to reach the Super Bowl. Russell Wilson hasn’t lost at CenturyLink Field and is 22-6 since becoming the starting QB last year.
2. (3) Panthers (9-3) — Owners of eight straight wins, the Panthers and their highly ranked defense will take on the Saints on Sunday night.
3. (4) Patriots (9-3) — As usual, the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady-led Patriots get stronger and better as the season shifts to November and December. They are one win and one Miami loss away from wrapping up their 11th division title in 13 seasons.
4. (5) Broncos (10-2) — The road to the Super Bowl in the AFC will go through Denver. The Broncos’ remaining opponents have a combined 16-32 record. None of the four teams they will face have a record over .500.
5. (6) 49ers (8-4) — The injuries on the offensive line combined with the inconsistency of the run game over the past two weeks are a concern heading into Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.
|12.03.13 at 10:20 am ET|
As we look toward what is a playoff week in most fantasy football formats, there certainly are a few solid new options to consider adding. The sad reality is that half of the teams in most leagues just got sent packing, and that obviously cuts down on the competition for talent. Hence, we are concentrating on the better players vs. the depth moves, but we still have a little of both.
If you are looking for deeper options, you can head over to Rotobahn later Tuesday and check out my expanded wire for those in deep formats. As always, I’ll be back later this week with Jim Hackett for the Fantasy Football Podcast, plus the starts and sits. Then, on Sunday, I’ll be hosting a chat to help with any last-minute lineup issues that you might have. To those of you reading this, please accept our congratulations on making your league’s playoffs. Now let’s see if we can bring home the fantasy bacon!
Andy Dalton, Bengals
He’s available in about 25 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and that percentage could rise after the stinker that Dalton had in Week 13. Still, we like Dalton’s Week 14 matchup, and Week 16 is pretty sweet, too.
- Week 14 – Colts
- Week 15 – at Steelers
- Week 16 – Vikings
Joe Flacco, Ravens
He plays at home vs. the Vikings this week, and that could be enough to make him a great add. As an added bonus, he’s playable on all three remaining weeks. In Week 14, Flacco may also see the return of his favorite target, Dennis Pitta.
- Week 14 – Vikings
- Week 15 – at Lions
- Week 16 – Patriots
Carson Palmer, Cardinals
He can’t help you Week 16, but he’ll be useful this week and next. Palmer has been very good lately, with multiple touchdown passes in five consecutive games. He can help you as a QB2 in most leagues, and you can still add him in 54 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
- Week 14 – Rams
- Week 15 – at Titans
- Week 16 – at Seahawks
EJ Manuel, Bills
He plays a solid, though not incredible, schedule the rest of the way, and he’s been getting better in terms of health. Manuel also has scored well the last two weeks, so he can help you if you need to add a QB2 in a 12-team league. His receivers are healthy and he now has C.J. Spiller ripping off big runs, and that could take the edge off of the pass rush going forward.
- Week 14 – at Buccaneers
- Week 15 – at Jaguars
- Week 16 – Dolphins
|12.03.13 at 9:55 am ET|
Through 12 games, the Patriots have been flagged for 51 penalties (tied for 30th in the league) for a total of 493 yards (30th). Sunday’s game marked the second time this season they were not flagged for a single penalty. Here’s a breakdown of the calls that have gone against the Patriots, not including penalties that were declined or offset:
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|12.03.13 at 9:52 am ET|
Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Salk & Holley on Monday afternoon to discuss New England’s 34-31 victory over the Texans on Sunday, the decision to bench Stevan Ridley in the game, and Antonio Smith‘s postgame comments regarding the Patriots’ second-half comeback.
Sunday’s game against Houston started off in similar fashion to the Patriots’ previous game against the Broncos, as New England looked sluggish and unfocused over the first two quarters. At the end of the first half, the 2-9 Texans had built a 17-7 lead.
“We’ve just got to do a better job, I’ve got to do a better job preparing the team for the beginning part of the game. We’ve got to do a better job executing then,” Belichick said. “It wasn’t great. I didn’t think we took advantage of some of the opportunities that we had and we gave them some, and obviously the interception set them up and fortunately we were able to hold them to three on that.
“We gave up two good drives defensively. … We were trying to find our rhythm and our execution on a number of things yesterday, and it wasn’t a great feeling.”
New England’s first-half slump would not last, as Tom Brady and company outscored the Texans by a 27-14 margin in the final two quarters to come away with the 34-31 victory.
One notable move that Belichick made before Sunday’s game was to list Ridley as inactive. Despite showing talent out of the backfield with 2,280 career yards in 42 NFL games, Ridley has struggled with holding on to the football, as he has nine fumbles in his career, with six of those being recovered by the opposing team.
“We make those decisions week to week,” Belichick said. “Every week, we have to make a decision as to who we feel are the players that we’ll activate for the game, and sometimes injuries and the availability of a player takes care of that. After that, it comes down to decisions that we make as a coaching staff. … That’s the way that it is every week.”
After the game, Smith, the Texans defensive lineman, made postgame comments questioning the Patriots’ ability to turn around their play in the second half, calling their adjustments “highly suspicious.” (Smith said Monday that he was joking.)
“I’m sure [Houston] is frustrated,” Belichick said. They lost to us twice last year and lost to us again down there at home. We’ve seen that before and I’m sure there was some frustration. … There’s nothing we can do about, we just have to worry about what we can do.”
- 2013 Week 13 Patriots Power Rankings
- Patriots Are Reliant on Rookies, But Still Winning
- New England Patriots Links 12/04/13 - Patriots Preparing For All Browns...
- NFL Playoff Picture: Where do the Patriots Stand After 12 Games?
- Turning Heel
- New England Patriots Links 12/03/13 - Brady, Patriots Heat Up in December
- Patriots vs. Texans: By the Numbers