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Adam Schefter on D&C: Special teams will lead Jets past Patriots

09.17.10 at 11:45 am ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning, and, as expected, received some heat for his prediction that the Jets will defeat the Patriots this Sunday, especially given the Patriots’ impressive victory against Cincinnati and the Jets’ horrid display vs. the Ravens. The Patriots also have won eight of their last 10 against the Jets on the road.

As Jerod Mayo suggested earlier Friday morning on D&C, the Patriots are going to try to make Mark Sanchez, who on Monday completed 10-of-21 passes for a robust 74 yards, beat them. But Schefter doesn’t believe that will be necessary. His justification for his pick: “I think that they mount the type of rushing attack that they had last year that carried them in the postseason. I think they get some big plays on defense. I think they get a couple of turnovers, I think maybe they win on special teams.”

Schefter also confessed to enjoying a sort of rebel role in his picks. “Well, it’s the kind of thing where I like to pick games where I’m the minority. If you look at my picks this week compared to the picks of the rest of the crew I have six games in which I stand alone. … And I like to take the unorthodox picks at weeks where everything points to a team. And I will tell you, on paper, everything points to New England. This is when you get surprises in the NFL.”

His track record in upsets this season isn’t too shabby. “Last week, I was the only one to have Seattle over San Francisco, I was the only one to have Washington over Dallas, I was the only one to have Kansas City over San Diego.”

Despite leaving the Patriots’ side this week, Schefter maintains the Pats will still win the division when all is said and done. “Look, I picked New England to win the division before the season began, and I think everyone was on the Jets bandwagon. I was never on that bandwagon. So, the irony here is in a week where I’ll be picking them, you’re bringing attention to it. But, I believe that the Patriots will win that division.

“I believe that it is going to be a challenging game on Sunday. It will be a difficult game, I think that they are going to get a very tough outing, a tough effort from the Jets. And I just think it’s going to be a tough game for New England to win. It won’t surprise me if I’m wrong at all. … If the Jets are going to win, they are going to have to find a way to pick off Tom Brady a couple of times.”

Following are more highlights, including more on Logan Mankins and whether Schefter believes there’s a quarterback controversy brewing in Philadelphia. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On Mark Sanchez taking the next step:

The Jets are supremely confident in time that he’s going to be a good quarterback. But I have always watched Mark Sanchez, and this is why I was not high on the Jets and this is why I didn’t pick them to go to the playoffs. … It takes quarterbacks a little bit of time and he’s just not there yet. Pete Carroll wasn’t far off in what he said. Mark Sanchez still needs more seasoning.

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Fred Taylor on D&H: Hope ‘switch comes on’ for Laurence Maroney

09.17.10 at 11:24 am ET
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Fred Taylor

Fred Taylor

Patriots running back Fred Taylor made his weekly appearance with the Dale & Holley show Friday morning to talk about Sunday’s showdown with the Jets.

Following are highlights of the conversation. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

On the rivalry with the Jets:

For me, it’s all the same. It’s a game, it’s an opportunity. I mean, the Jets are the Jets. I don’t want to put too much hype on that. But they are the Jets. They’re a National Football [League] team. I get excited for all the teams that we play. Some teams, there’s a little bit more added incentive. But you treat the Jets the same as you treat the Bills. It’s a divisional matchup, and those are the ones that they’re a must-win.

On his toe injury suffered Sunday that forced him out of some practice time this week:

It’s OK. It’s getting better each and every day. It’s one of those crazy things that happens throughout the course of a game, but I’m fine.

On his performance in Sunday’s win over the Bengals:

I definitely have some areas I want to improve on. People say, “Wow, that was a great game, Fred, the other day.” Great? We mis-use that word. It was a good start for me, and a I definitely want to improve on it individually. But there will be more opportunities to do better than that performance.

On if he was surprised about Laurence Maroney being traded to the Broncos:

Somewhat surprised, but I’ve also been in the business for a while. I understand the business. I understand that there really isn’t a thing called a surprise in this business. Anything can happen. It kind of catches you off-guard for a moment, but you keep going.

On parting advice he gave to Maroney:

“This can come across as a thing that seems like a negative situation, but you can always pull some positive from it. So, take this and make the most of it. It’s an opportunity where you can make the most of it and make it positive.” He understood that. He understood that we’re only a phone call away and that we’ll always still be in touch. I think he’ll do well.

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Patriots Vs Jets Nuggetpalooza!

09.17.10 at 9:21 am ET
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nuggetpalooza-small2Welcome to Week Two and the culmination of “Jets Week”! From a statistical standpoint, Week Two is somewhat strange in that
there is only one week of “current” stats available and the stats from last season appear further in the rearview mirror. So here are a bunch of fairly random statistical observations to get you through.

Enjoy!

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* – Only two teams scored a touchdown on their first possession of the 2010 season: The New England Patriots and the defending Super Bowl Champion Saints.

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* – The Patriots scored at least 7 points in every quarter last week for the 12th time since 2005, the most such games in the league in that span:

12 – New England Patriots
8 – Indianapolis Colts
6 – Cincinnati Bengals

13 different teams have NEVER done it since the start of the 2005 season (81 games).

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* – The Jets were one of just two teams that did not have a pass play of 20+ yards last week (the other being Kansas City). New York averaged about 2.5 such completions per game in 2009.

Somewhat related: The Jets have not had a pass play of 25+ yards in their last 3 regular season games. Prior to that stretch, they had at least one such big play in 17 straight games. The Philadelphia Eagles have had at least one pass play gain 25+ yards in their last 16 straight games, the longest current streak in the NFL.

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* – The Jets managed just 60 net passing yards, the fewest since they recorded just 45 in 2006. The Jets’ last two regular season games include two of the four lowest net passing yardage totals by the club since 1979:

45 – 10/8/06 vs Jacksonville
53 – 10/14/90 vs San Diego
60 – 9/13/10 vs Baltimore
63 – 1/3/10 vs Cincinnati

All except Jacksonville were Jets home games.

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* – The Jets were penalized 125 yards on Monday night, the most by a Jets team since they were flagged for 127 in 1988. The Patriots’ opponent, Cincinnati, was penalized only 5 yards, the fewest in the league last week and the 2nd time in the last 3 regular season games that the Patriots opponent has been flagged for only 5 yards.

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* – Last Sunday, 69.8% of New England’s passing yards came after the catch (YAC yards), the highest percentage in the league and the 7th highest percentage by the Pats in a game since 2000 (min. 200 pass yards). Last season, the Pats were 9th at 50.1%.

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* – The Patriots failed to record a rushing touchdown in the first half last Sunday, snapping a streak of 9 consecutive games with (exactly) one. It was the longest such streak in the NFL since at least 2005. Who has the longest current streak of games with a first half rushing TD? The Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns, with 3 each.

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* – The Jets have thrown exactly one 4th quarter TD pass in their last 26 games.

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* – The Patriots had 2 “return” touchdowns last week (interception and kickoff return). It was the first time that they’ve had 2 return scores in a game since 12/5/04 against the Browns. They’ve had multiple return touchdowns 23 times now since 1961.

Note that the Jets allowed 7 return touchdowns last season, the 3rd most in the NFL. The Pats had just 3 such TD’s in 2009.

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* – For a big time defense, the Jets allowed a lot of long drives (10+ plays) last year, ranking 11th with 24 (the same number as allowed by the Patriots). In week one, the Jets allowed no such drives while New England allowed a league high 4.

What’s more, the Pats allowed 24 points on those 4 drives, nearly one-third of the total they allowed on 10+ play drives during all of last season.

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* – The Patriots lost just 218 yards last season on negative plays, the fewest in the NFL. Last Sunday, they lost just 3 such yards, again the fewest in the NFL. The Jets defense racked up 36 negative yards on Monday, 5th most in the league.

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* – New Englandwas one of just two teams that did not have their quarterback get sacked last week (the other being Cleveland). In 2009, the Pats had 6 different “sackless” games (and are now at 5 of their last 6 counting last Sunday).

Only the Colts (8) had more games last season without suffering a QB sack.

Note that the Jets have 2+ sacks in 10 of their last 11 games.

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* – The Patriots allowed an NFL high 26 first downs last week in their win over the Bengals. 21 of those came through the air (also an NFL high). It tied the team record for most passing first downs allowed in a game won by the Patriots, matching 11/23/97 versus Miami and 11/12/95, also versus Miami.

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* – The Jets managed only 6 first downs last week, which was an NFL low. It was the fewest by the Jets since they began tracking the stat in 1991. Only 2 of those 6 came through the air, also their lowest ever.

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* – The Patriots have 11 or more first downs by passing in each of their last 10 consecutive games. Only the Colts have a longer streak going (16).

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* – New York’s average starting field position last week was the 39.8 yard line, the 3rd best average in the NFL. They ranked 2nd last season (32.4). New England was good, too, with an average start at the 36.5 last week (6th) after ranking 15th in 2009.

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* – New York was one of only four NFL teams that did not record an offensive TD last week. One of those four (Washington) did manage a touchdown on a fumble return.

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* – The Patriots completed 71% of their passes last week with no interceptions and no sacks. It was just the 3rd time in team history that they’ve completed 70+% with no INT and no sacks (min. 30 attempts):

9/12/10 versus Cincinnati
11/18/07 versus Buffalo
12/18/94 versus Buffalo

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* – The Jets were dangerous on punt returns last week, averaging 15.5 yards per return. Their longest return was 32 yards and they averaged 10 yards on the three others. The Patriots don’t allow many chances on punt returns, though. They allowed the fewest punt returns in the league last season (20) and were one of only two teams that did not allow a return in week one.

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* – The Patriots led the NFL with a 69.2% conversion rate on 3rd down, going 9 for 13. That included a stellar 6 for 7 on 3rd and 5 yards or fewer to go. Last season, the Pats were 8th on overall 3rd down conversions (43.7%) and 17th on 3rd and 5 or fewer (54%).

Note that the Jets went just 1 for 11 (30th) in 3rd down offense and were an even worse 31st in 3rd down defense after allowing Baltimore to convert 11 of 19 (57.9%) on Monday. That included a 5 for 8 performance on 3rd and 6+. Last season, the Jets led the NFL in overall 3rd down defense (31.5%) and in 3rd and 6+ defense (21.1%). Quite a turnaround so far.

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* – New England allowed Cincinnati to go 3 for 3 on 4th down last Sunday, just the 4th time since 1991 that they’ve allowed 3 or more conversions without at stop (all went 3 for 3):

9/12/10 – vs Cincinnati
10/21/07 – vs Miami
10/27/96 – vs Buffalo
11/23/97 – vs Miami

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* – The Jets gave up 6 first downs via penalty last week, their most since at least 1991. The most allowed in a game by any team? The Lions allowed 9 first downs by penalty in a 20-7 loss to Dallas in 2005.

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* – The Patriots began only 1 drive inside their 20 last Sunday and they converted it into a touchdown. Last year, they managed only 5 touchdowns on 42 such drives, the 15th highest percentage in the league.

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* – The Jets allowed 4 pass plays of 25+ yards last Monday, the most allowed by the Jets defense since 2004, snapping a streak of 80 games allowing fewer than 4 such big plays. So now the longest such streaks belong to Chicago (81), Indianapolis (67), San Diego (46), Buffalo (22), and Cincinnati (21). All other teams have allowed 4+ such plays in a game since the start of last season.

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* – In 2009, the Patriots struggled when they started drives on their opponents’ side of the field, scoring points just 54% of the time (26th) and averaging 2.75 points per possession (also 26th). Last week? Zero points in two opportunities.

The Jets, on the other hand, allowed the lowest scoring percentage on such drives (40%) and lowest average points (1.47) in the NFL last season. Last week? Zero points in one opportunity.

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* – The Jets have not allowed a touchdown pass in the first half in any of their last 7 games and allowed just 2 such passes since the start of last season. The 2 first half TD passes allowed last season is the fewest since they’ve tracked the stat (1991).

The Patriots have thrown 7 such TD passes in their last 7 games and 19 since the start of last season. Something’s gotta give.

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* – The Pats were one of only eight teams that did not fumble last week. This after they led the NFL in fumble avoidance in 2009 by fumbling on just 1.03% of their offensive touches. They had 7 different games in 2009 in which they had zero fumbles, more than any other team. Green Bay, Indianapolis, and San Diego each had 6 such games.

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* – The Jets held Baltimore to just 1 first down out of 26 tries on 2nd down last Monday, including 0 for 19 on 2nd and 6 or more yards to go.

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* – Last Sunday, the Pats had 21 rushes that DID NOT gain 10 or more yards. On those 21 “shorts”, they averaged 3.95 yards per carry, the highest in the NFL on such carries. The Jets ranked 6th in that category, averaging 3.06 yards on 18 “shorts”. Last season, the Patriots averaged 2.79 on such carries (6th) while the Jets were 10th at 2.66.

Note that the Jets defense allowed a 2.28 average on “shorts” last season, ranked 4th. The battle in the trenches.

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* – The Bengals completed 13 of 15 passes (86.7%) last week when the Patriots blitzed, the highest such percentage against Patriots blitzes since they began tracking the stat in 1991 (min. 15 attempts):

86.7% – vs Cincinnati (9/12/10)
73.3% – vs Jacksonville (12/27/09)
73.3% – vs Denver (10/11/09)

Yikes. Those top two came in the last three regular season games.

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* – Last season, only 12 of 63 scoring drives by the Jets were less than 40 yards (19%). Last week, all 3 of their scores came on such drives. New England allowed only 4 such scoring drives last year (9%; 4th) and none last week.

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* – The Patriots punted just once last week for 43 yards, better than their league worst 39.0 average last season. Every other team punted at least twice last weekend, just like last season when everybody had more punts than the Patriots (57).

New England had 3 games with one or fewer punts last season. Only one other team (San Diego) had as many as 2 such games.

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* – Only 3 teams did not allow a run of 10+ yards last week and one of those teams was the Jets, snapping a streak in which they had allowed at least one such rush in 24 straight games. Thing is, the Jets’ opponent last Monday, Baltimore, had at least one rush of 10 or more yards in their previous 71 consecutive games dating back to November, 2005.

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* – After leading the NFL in 1st down efficiency last season (55% of their 1st down plays gained 4+ yards), the Patriots are at it again. They were “successful” on 64% of 1st down plays last Sunday, 2nd only to Houston (69%).

Be sure to note that the Jets allowed 4+ yards on 1st down just 33% of the time last Monday (2nd) after leading the league last year (38%).

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* – Last season, the Jets put 41.5% of their kickoffs into the end zone (15th). This year, they’re 0 for 4.

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Check back tomorrow for my “Around the NFL – Week Two”!

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Jerod Mayo on D&C: ‘Make Mark Sanchez beat us’

09.17.10 at 7:18 am ET
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Jerod Mayo

Jerod Mayo

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about Sunday’s game against the Jets. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

“This is a rivalry game to us,” Mayo said. “At practice, it’s been a tough week for us.”

When it was suggested that cornerback Darrelle Revis is faking the hamstring injury that appears on the Jets’ injury report, Mayo agreed. “When I saw that story, I thought the same thing. Look, he’s healthy, he’s 100 percent healthy. I’m not buying into that.”

Asked if Mayo would want the Jets to know if the Patriot wasn’t at full strength, Mayo said: “I wouldn’t want anybody to know. For him to come out look that, it’s just a decoy. So then everybody can be like, even if he goes out and has a great game, everybody will be like, ‘Oh, he’s the greatest, he has a tender hamstring, he’s coming out, running back sticks and stuff like that. I’m not buying into that.”

Asked about Tedy Bruschi‘s comments about Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez giving in when things aren’t going well, Mayo responded: “I’m not sure if he struggles when things get tough, but I know sometimes he looks to run before he looks to throw. That’s a problem when you’re playing quarterback. They pay you to throw the ball. I think if they get out in front, if they can get the running game going, they have a good shot at winning games. That’s one thing we’re focusing on this week is to stop the run and make Mark Sanchez beat us.”

Asked about Rex Ryan‘s comments that the Jets would simplify the offense following Monday night’s struggles against the Ravens, Mayo said: “It looked pretty simple against the Ravens. There weren’t too many passes going down the field against the Ravens. Maybe they’re just going to be running the ball every play. We’ll just get in the box and see what happens.”

Mayo said Tom Brady‘s comments this week about Patriots fans at Gillette Stadium lacking passion have some truth, but he gives them a pass for last Sunday’s game. “I don’t think it’s as loud as some other places, but at the same time, I think those guys, especially last game, the season-opener, I think they were pretty loud,” he said. “I did see some of them leaving at the end of the game, but it was a blowout. I would probably try to leave early, too, to beat traffic. I agree with Tom to a certain point, but at the same time, I think we have great fans.

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Ryan backs Sanchez in wake of Bruschi’s comments

09.16.10 at 11:07 pm ET
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After former Patriots linebacker and current ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi said Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was a front-runner and “tanks it” when his team gets down, New York coach Rex Ryan defended his quarterback.

“I respect the heck out of Tedy Bruschi, no question, but I think he would have a different opinion if he was here every day,” Ryan said in Thursday’s press conference.

“Tedy Bruschi is a guy that I really do respect. That’s a tough dude and he’s smart. I think he would feel much different if he was here because of the way he leads on the practice field, the personality he has,” Ryan added. “What he says about him when we get ahead, that’s how he is every day on the practice field. It never went our way on Monday night, but I would definitely not put Mark in a front-running category. This guy is a competitor and I think Bruschi would have loved to play with him.”

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Edelman back where it all began

09.16.10 at 9:49 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Julian Edelman said Thursday the only thing he remembers about his NFL debut last year in the Meadowlands was how much of a rookie he looked like on film.

A lot of rookies would like to have the kind of debut Edelman had nearly one year ago to the day when the wideout grabbed eight balls for 98 yards on Sept. 20, 2009, filling in at the slot for the injured Wes Welker.

“I actually look at it and say, ‘Wow, you looked really like a rookie last year.’ There were a lot of mistakes and of course, there were little things here and there that looked all right but I had got a long way to go and I still do,” Edelman said with humility that would make his head coach proud.

There’s being humble and then there’s being downright hard on yourself.

Following that performance, Edelman had three catches for 26 yards and three kickoff returns for 68 yards in New England’s 31-14 payback win on Nov. 22 at Gillette Stadium. Darrelle Revis played in both games. Another stud corner, Antonio Cromartie, was brought in this offseason to help shut down potent offenses like the Patriots.

“We’ll break down that film, break down the second film and get ready for this week,” Edelman said. “They’re a tough defense. They have some of the best corners in the league, arguably, that everyone is talking about. It’s going to be tough. They’re going to have a lot of different schemes. If you have to get open, you’re going to have get open and you’re going to have to do what you have to do.

“This is a totally different team. They’ve [brought in] a new corner and they’re going to have different schemes probably.”

Was there a lesson to be taken from his two experiences against the Jets in 2009?

“What did I learn? I don’t even remember that, really,” Edelman said in repeating and answering the question on Thursday. “When our offense is clicking, we’re pretty tough, that’s what I’ve learned.

The second-year receiver, who has been slowed by a foot injury that kept him out of action in Week 1 against the Bengals, said Thursday he is looking forward to making his debut on Sunday against the Jets, if he is cleared to play.

“I’m real anxious to get back out there,” Edelman said. “I love playing the game and anytime you don’t get a chance to play with your teammates that you’ve been training real hard with and going through double-days with, it’s real disappointing. I’m chomping at that bit.”

This year, it’s Edelman who is coming back from an injury (foot) and hopes to be ready in time for kickoff at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

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Jets Practice Report for Thursday

09.16.10 at 4:32 pm ET
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Jets Practice Report for Thursday
Out

LB Calvin Pace (foot)

Limited Participation
S Brodney Pool (ankle)
CB Darrelle Revis (hamstring)

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