|12.21.14 at 5:12 pm ET|
Tom Brady‘s wife, Gisele Bundchen, took to Instagram once again to celebrate another win by her husband and his Patriots.
|12.21.14 at 3:54 pm ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Patriots escaped from MetLife Stadium with a victory on Sunday, barely coming away with a 17-16 victory over the Jets.
It wasn’t an easy one for New England, as the Patriots had to battle back from a 13-7 third-quarter deficit on the way to the win. But some key stops late and a couple of second-half scoring drives — as well as a key third-down run from Brandon Bolden where he picked up 17 yards — proved to be the difference for New England, which moved to 12-3 with the win and clinched a first-round bye.
Tom Brady went 23-for-35 for 182 yards, with one touchdown and one pick.
Meanwhile, Shane Vereen finished with six carries for 38 yards while Brandon LaFell had seven catches for 64 yards. On the other side of the ball, Geno Smith was 17-for-27 for 210 yards with one touchdown pass and one pick. Chris Ivory had 11 carries for 53 yards and Jeremy Kerley had three catches for 54 yards.
Here’s what we learned about the Patriots on Sunday:
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|12.21.14 at 2:21 pm ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Two quarters are done here at MetLife Stadium, and the Jets lead, 10-7.
Here are a few quick notes:
— Tom Brady finished the first half 11-for-15 for 79 yards and a touchdown. Danny Amendola had three catches for 27 yards, and Rob Gronkowski had four catches for 18 yards and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, Geno Smith was 11-for-16 for 117 yards with one touchdown pass. Percy Harvin had four catches for 44 yards, while Chris Ivory and eight carries for 26 yards.
— On New England’s first third-down opportunity of the game, David Harris and Calvin Pace teamed for the first sack of the game on Brady, as the Jets overloaded their right side and there appeared to be some sort of misocmmunication between left tackle Nate Solder and left guard Josh Kline (who was starting in place of a hobbled Dan Connolly). The Jets got to Brady two more times in the first quarter and another in the second for a total of four in the half. (The four sacks already match the season-high for sacks in a game this year on Brady.) The Patriots tried a variety of combinations to help Brady buy more time in the pocket — extra offensive linemen, Gronkowski as a fullback — but New York was able to get after the quarterback consistently in the early going.
— Defensively, the Patriots offered a lot of beef up front to start, looking to do whatever it took to slow down the New York running game. Chandler Jones, Sealver Siliga, Vince Wilfork and Alan Branch were part of the defensive line out of the gate, and kept that same look for most of the half.
— Despite New England’s attempts to try and stack the box with defenders, New York was able to get some decent production out of its ground game. The Jets suffered a massive loss in this area, however, midway through the second quarter when center Nick Mangold (their best run blocking offensive lineman) went down with an injury, and had to be carted off. On that same drive, New York was able to make a couple of really nice plays on offense, and their drive came to a conclusion when Smith found tight end Jeff Cumberland with a 20-yard floater to tie the game at seven with 5:59 left in the half. Perhaps the best pass of the game made by either quarterback, the nice touch displayed by Smith allowed Cumberland to beat Pat Chung in coverage for the touchdown.
— Smith followed that drive up with a nice sequence just before the end of the half when he made a couple of really nice throws — including a 25-yarder over the middle to Harvin — that got New York into the New England red zone with less than two minutes to go in the half. The Jets ultimately stalled out, and settled for a 26-yard field goal to make it 10-7 with 52 seconds left in the half. As badly as he played in the first quarter (when he was 3-for-6 for 14 yards), Smith had a good second quarter, with a few nice throws, including the touchdown pass to Cumberland and a few other good connections with Harvin.
— The Patriots offense had its best drive of the first half at the start of the second when Danny Amendola — working in place of Edelman — had a nice 39-yard return (which might have been set up by an illegal block from Darius Fleming) to set up the Patriots at the Jets’ 36-yard line. New England punched it in six plays later, with the capper coming on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Gronkowski to make it 7-0 with 12:10 left in the first half. On that drive, the Patriots were able to do a relatively good job minimizing the pressure that wrecked the first few series for the New England offense.
|12.21.14 at 12:29 pm ET|
|12.21.14 at 11:36 am ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The following Patriots players are inactive for Sunday’s game against the Jets: cornerbacks Kyle Arrington and Alfonzo Dennard, running backs LeGarrette Blount and James White, wide receiver Julian Edelman, and offensive linemen Dan Connolly and Jordan Devey.
Arrington, Edelman and Blount were already ruled out Saturday night. It is the first game any of the three have missed all season. For Arrington today will snap a streak of 83 straight regular-season games played, which dates back to Nov. 8, 2009 against Miami.
Connolly (knee) will miss his second game of the season — he also missed the previous game against the Jets. He left last weeks game with a neck injury, but was listed on the injury report with a knee injury on Friday. Dennard (healthy) is inactive for the third straight game, as he’s only played in six games this year. White has only played in two games this season.
Offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (ankle) will play for the first time since the Indy game and tight end Steve Maneri will make his Patriots debut.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|12.21.14 at 10:09 am ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 40s are expected for what could be the final road game of the year for the Patriots until the Super Bowl. There is no significant precipitation in the forecast and winds should be light out of the northwest at 8 MPH.
The 11-3 Patriots are 10.5-point favorites against the 3-11 Jets in what many expect to be the home farewell for Rex Ryan in the Meadowlands.
But the Patriots will not be in a sentimental mood, realizing they need a win to cement their place atop the AFC as the No. 1 seed, which carries home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Patriots will clinch the No. 1 seed With a win over the Jets and a Broncos‘ loss in Cincinnati Monday night to the Bengals. The Patriots and Broncos enter their Week 16 games with identical 11-3 records, with the Patriots holding the tiebreaker by virtue of their win on Nov. 2 at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots clinch at least a first-round bye with a win.
For the first time since 2012, the Patriots will play a game without Julian Edelman. He did not make the trip due to a concussion. Tim Wright, Brian Tyms and Danny Amendola are expected to see more reps. Also out are LeGarrette Blount with a shoulder injury and Kyle Arrington with a hamstring injury. Jonas Gray figures to see a heavier load in the run game. If rookie running back James White is activated, it would mark just the third game this season he’s been active, and the first time since Oct. 26 against the Bears.
The Patriots are no doubt aware of what the Redskins accomplished on Saturday against the Eagles at FedEx Field. The Eagles entered the game with a 9-5 mark and with hopes of winning the NFC East. The Redskins were 3-11 and finishing out the string on another miserable season.
This game has significance for Patriots owner Robert Kraft. With a win, he would earn his 250th win in his 368th game as owner. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, that would tie Chicago Bears‘ legend George Halas for the fastest to 250 wins as an NFL owner.
The Patriots are naturally looking to extend their dominance of the AFC East as well. The Patriots are 66-18 (.786) in the division since 2001, the best intra-divisional record of any team in the NFL over that period. The Colts are second at 62-23 (.729).
This is the 108th matchup between the two old AFL rivals, with the Patriots holding a 54-52-1 win. The Patriots have dominated the rivalry of late, winning 21 of the last 29 games.
Chris Price has a complete breakdown of what to look for in today’s positional matchups.
It figures to be a somber pregame, with a moment of silence expected for the two Brooklyn police officers murdered while in their patrol cars Saturday.
|12.21.14 at 9:46 am ET|
Join Pete Davidson of WEEI.com and Rotobahn.com in a live chat, starting at 11 a.m. Sunday. Let Davidson get you ready to set all your Week 16 lineups. Get your questions in now …