McDaniels: Offense never able to find rhythm

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McDaniels: Offense never able to find rhythm

FOXBORO -- The Patriots were never able to get into a rhythm offensively on Sunday in Jacksonville. That's for sure. Still, they were able to leave with a 23-16 win.

New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said, in a conference call on Monday, that throughout the game, there was a never a point in which he felt like his team was ever going to get into that rhythm.

"When you dont play as well as you can, there are certainly a number of factors that go into that," said McDaniels. "I think that any time that we make a mental error on a play or create an issue for ourselves by either missing a communication or failing to adjust to something that the defense does to us, you can cause yourself a lot of issues and really hurt your ability to get into a rhythm, which I think is really what happened yesterday with us.

"We certainly never really got into the game where we felt like we were going to string together a bunch of drives in a row. Plenty of that we didnt help ourselves with, and certainly Jacksonville needs to get some credit for the way they played us. They played extremely hard, they played physical. They did a good job with some things in their scheme and they deserve a lot of credit for disrupting our rhythm, or the rhythm we didnt get into."

Raiders creep past Patriots in race for top seed in AFC

Raiders creep past Patriots in race for top seed in AFC

The Patriots and Raiders and neck-and-neck as the race for home field in the AFC turns for home. And, with four games left, the Raiders are ahead by a nose. The tiebreakers between the 10-2 teams in play currently? Common games followed by strength of victory. 

The first tiebreaker – conference record – is a deadlock as both teams are 7-1 in the AFC (the Brady-less Patriots lost to the Bills back in Week 4.

After conference record, it's the teams record in common games. 

PATRIOTS 26, RAMS 10

So far in common games with the Texans and Bills, the Patriots have gone 2-1 and the Raiders have gone 2-0. The Patriots play the Ravens next week. Oakland beat them. The Patriots play Denver after that. Oakland beat them as well but have one more game against Denver in Week 17.

So if it comes down to common games the Patriots really need to win these next two games.

Or hope the Raiders stub their toe a time or two in their final four games which are at the Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos with a home game against Indy in Week 16.

As for strength of victory, that too goes to Oakland at this point. The Raiders’ strength of victory is at .471. The Patriots’ is at .370.

But the tiebreaker that kicks in after conference record and before strength of victory – common games – is very much unresolved.The remaining picture as it stands right now? The Ravens are the No. 3 seed with a 7-5 record that leads the AFC North. The Texans’ 6-6 record is good enough to lead the AFC South. The 9-3 Chiefs are the top Wild Card. The 8-4 Broncos are the No. 6 seed.

The Patriots play the Ravens and Broncos over the next two weeks. Currently, the Dolphins (7-5) and Steelers (7-5) are on the outside looking in.

The Titans (6-6) will have a chance to get even with the Texans in Week 17 in head-to-head matchups but they host Denver and play at Kansas City the next two weeks so they have obstacles to clear before they get there.