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Nuggetpalooza’s Patriots-Jets Preview!

12.06.10 at 8:39 am ET
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Let’s get right to it:

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* – The Pats are -33 in net first downs through 11 games (-3.0 per game). At that pace, they would end the season at -48. Since 1993, only three teams with a -48 or worse have won more games than they lost:

10-6 – New England, 1997 (-55)
9-7 – Chicago, 2008 (-50)
9-7 – Washington, 1996 (-51)

Six teams have gone 8-8.

Of the 82 teams since 1993 that have finished with a -48 or worse first down margin, the average number of wins was 4.96. That’s closer to getting the first pick in the draft than it is to getting the first seed in the playoffs.

Note this: The Patriots have had fewer first downs than their opponent in their last six consecutive games, their longest such streak since they went 10 in a row spanning the 1997-1998 seasons.

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* – New England’s 63 “opening possession” points lead the league (first/second half combined):

63 – Patriots
61 – Saints
60 – Dolphins

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* – Jets opponents have attempted 67 passes over 20 yards downfield this season, the most in the league. However, they’ve completed just EIGHT of those throws, just 12 percent completions! That includes 0-for-22 over the last five games and 2-for-46 over the last eight games.

Note this: Believe it or not, the Jets were EVEN BETTER last season at defending those passes, allowing just 7 completions in 65 attempts (11 percent). So let’s do the math: Over their last 27 games, opponents are 15-for-132 on passes thrown 21+ yards downfield (11 percent).

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* – The Patriots lead the league in scoring efficiency, putting up points on 44 percent of their possessions this season, while the Jets rank second in DEFENSIVE scoring efficiency (25 percent).

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* – New England has allowed 400 or more yards in their last five straight games, the first five game streak in the NFL since the 2008 Chiefs went six in a row and the longest such streak by the Patriots since at least 1990.

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* – Over their first six games, the Jets allowed four or more yards on first down 47.6 percent of the time (81-of-170). Over the last five games? Just 47-of-139 (33.8 percent), the lowest/best percentage in that span. What’s more, the Patriots offense gained 4+ yards on first down almost 59 percent of the time in their first six games, but just 46 percent over their last five, ranked just 20th in that span.

—————————————————————————————————————————– Read the rest of this entry »

The Hot List: The best three-game stretches of Tom Brady’s career

12.04.10 at 10:24 pm ET
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Over the course of his career, Tom Brady has set the bar pretty high for quarterback play, but his most recent three-game performance (against the Steelers, Colts and Lions) might be one of the finest three-game stretches of his career. In the latest edition of “The Hot List,” we took a good look back at his numbers, and tried to come up with our own list of Brady’€™s best three-game series. Here’€™s what we found:

5. Sept. 9-22, 2002
In the first three games of the 2002 season the Patriots stormed to three consecutive wins. Along the way, the New England offense was a juggernaut, rolling up 115 points in the three games, winning all three. Brady was electric, kicking off his first full season as a starter with a bang with a three-game stretch against the Steelers (30-14), Jets (44-7) and Chiefs (41-38) where he went a combined 93-for-132 (70 percent) for 973 yards, nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. The high point was the third game, an overtime shootout against the Chiefs (won by the Patriots) when Brady was 39-for-54 for a career-high 410 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception.

4. Nov. 14-25, 2010
Brady and the Patriots won three straight, picking up wins over the Steelers, Colts and Lions as the quarterback led the way, going 70-for-95 (74 percent) for 877 yards, 10 touchdowns (one rushing) and zero interceptions, including a perfect passer rating 158.3 in a 45-24 win over Detroit. However, while the passer rating in the win over the Lions was gaudier, the most impressive performance may have come in the victory against the Steelers. Following up one of the worst performances he’€™d posted over the previous two years ‘€” a stinker in an upset defeat to the Browns in Cleveland ‘€” he was dominant in the win over Pittsburgh, going 30-for-43 for a season-high 350 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in what may have been one of the finest single-game performances of his career.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Jets Saturday practice report: Damien Woody, Dwight Lowery questionable

12.04.10 at 5:41 pm ET
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The loss of starting safety Jim Leonhard dominated the news out of Florham Park, N.J. on Friday as the Jets and he had surgery on his fractured right tibia on Friday night. Leonhard was placed on season-ended injured reserve. Tackle Damien Woody returned to practice after missing two practices with a knee injury and is questionable. CB Marquice Cole, WR Jerricho Cotchery and DE Shaun Ellis all returned to full participation in practice and are probable.

Jets practice report for Saturday:

OUT
S Jim Leonhard (calf, shin)

Limited Participation in Practice
CB Dwight Lowery (concussion) Questionable
T Damien Woody (knee) Questionable

Full Participation in Practice
CB Marquice Cole (hamstring) Probable
WR Jerricho Cotchery (groin) Probable
DE Shaun Ellis (knee) Probable
CB Drew Coleman (groin) Probable
LB David Harris (calf) Probable
C Nick Mangold (shoulder) Probable
LB Calvin Pace (foot) Probable
DT Sione Pouha (ankle) Probable
QB Mark Sanchez (calf) Probable
G Matt Slauson (knee) Probable
WR Brad Smith (back) Probable

Read More: Damien Woody, Dwight Lowery, New England Patriots, New York Jets

Pats Saturday practice report: Mike Wright, Jonathan Wilhite, Myron Pryor all questionable

12.04.10 at 5:26 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” The Patriots’ injury report for Saturday remained unchanged for the third straight day as quarterback Tom Brady was still limited but is listed officially as probable for Monday night against the Jets. Brady hasn’t fully participated in practice since Nov. 5, the Friday before the game in Cleveland. Three others, DL Mike Wright, DL Myron Pryor and CB Jonathan Wilhite did not participate. Saturday workout inside Dana Farber Field House was the final practice before Sunday’s walk-through and Monday night’s game.

Patriots injury report for Saturday:

OUT
G Stephen Neal (shoulder, placed on IR)

Did Not Participate in Practice
DE Myron Pryor (back) Questionable
CB Jonathan Wilhite (hip) Questionable
DE Mike Wright (neck, concussion) Questionable

Limited Participation in Practice
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder, foot) Probable

Read More: injury report, New England Patriots, New York Jets, nfl

Bill Belichick: High school football is ‘awesome’

12.04.10 at 5:05 pm ET
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FOXBORO — You’d think giving up the Gillette Stadium field and moving indoors for practice might bother Bill Belichick. After all, the Jets are coming to town and wouldn’t the Patriots want to work on the same field they’ll be playing on Monday night?

Well, Belichick showed Saturday he’s more than happy to make an exception for the MIAA Eastern Mass. Super Bowls – six of them to be exact – being played in Foxboro on Saturday. Instead, Belichick took his troops inside to the unheated Dana Farber Field House while the kids played inside the big building.

“I know we are looking forward to our game Monday night, but there are certainly a lot of big games going on here at the stadium today,” Belichick said. “I know these games are games that the kids, the players, the coaches, the schools, the families will always remember – the great days of the championship playoff games of high school football.”

Beginning with Cardinal Spellman vs. Holliston in Div. IIIA at 9 a.m. and concluding over 12 hours later with the Div. IA title tilt between Bridgewater-Raynham vs. Gloucester, Saturday is a football feast like no other in New England.

“I congratulate all those teams, schools and coaches on their participation in the game and I know it’€™s a big day here for all these kids,” Belichick said. “In that spirit, we’€™re heading up to the bubble, getting out of the way, letting them do their thing. We’€™re just kind of closing out the preparations here on the Jets. We’€™ve still got a few things to catch up on, but hopefully it will all come together for us on Monday night and be ready to go.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time that Gillette been used for kids. This is the fourth straight year EMass Super Bowls have been played at Gillette. Six of the seven EMass football divisions play their Super Bowls here, with the seventh division rotating annually. And just two weeks ago, the private school title game was held on the field turf, too. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Gillette Stadium, MIAA Eastern Mass Super Bowls, New England Patriots

Deion Branch on Cris Carter: ‘Whatever he said, that’s cool’

12.04.10 at 1:30 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Deion Branch always wears a bright, genuine smile so it’s really hard to tell if he’s ever genuinely ticked off.

But even after being told that Cris Carter thinks he’s ‘just a guy’ in the Patriots receiving game, Branch sounded like ‘a guy’ who was completely focused on Monday’s little tussle with the Jets than getting into one with a retired receiver who happens to be great friends with – and former Vikings teammate of – Randy Moss, now with the Titans.

‘€œHe’€™s just a guy. You guys have to be real about it,’€ Carter, now an ESPN analyst, told WEEI’s “Big Show on Friday. ‘€œGreat players, they don’€™t get hurt as much as the other players. There’€™s a difference between great ones and good ones and average ones.”

Branch offered his good-natured reply on Saturday in the Patriots locker room.

“Who me? I didn’t even hear it,” Branch said. “That’s cool. Whatever he said, that’s cool. I don’t know what happened and I really care less.”

Despite winning the Super Bowl XXXIX MVP with 11 catches, Carter still believes the Patriots would be better off with his former teammate.

‘€œThe ceiling with Moss with their offense is a lot higher. ‘€¦ They can be really dynamic. Like frightening. Now, if they don’€™t play well offensively, they’€™ll lose, because they have a defense that doesn’€™t dominate the games,’€ said Carter. ‘€œDeion disappears too much against regular corners. He disappears in the game. He’€™s made, like, three guest appearances since the Super Bowl. ‘€¦ Look at his stats. Look at his game.”

Then told that at least he wasn’t called a slouch by Carter, Branch smiled his trademark smile and replied, “If he said that, that’s cool, too. I have no reaction to that.”

Read More: Cris Carter, Deion Branch, minnesota vikings, New England Patriots

Pats practice Saturday: Three miss again

12.04.10 at 12:28 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Despite Saturday’s indication from coach Bill Belichick that injured defensive linemen Mike Wright and Myron Pryor were “doing better” this week, both were missing for a third straight day at Patriots practice inside a cold Dana Farber Field House. Also missing for a third straight practice was cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, who is nursing a sore hip.

The team practiced in sweats and shells in their final formal on-field workout before Monday night’s game against the Jets. Wright is dealing with the effects of a neck injury along with a concussion suffered in the game against the Colts while Pryor injured his back against the Browns and hasn’t played since.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jonathan Wilhite, Mike Wright, Myron Pryor
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