Stallworth has 'a lot of love' for Patriots

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Stallworth has 'a lot of love' for Patriots

FOXBORO -- Donte' Stallworth was in Miami on Sunday. He witnessed the Patriots' 23-16 win over the Dolphins in person.

Only, he wasn't on the sidelines.

"I was actually there," said Stallworth as he stood in front of his Patriots locker on Wednesday. "I went, since I live in Miami, and I hadn't been to any games in a while. I had some friends that were going. I usually like to watch games on television, you can see it better. But I decided to go since I hadn't been to any games. Plus it was the Patriots playing, and I've got friends on both teams."

The Patriots will next be playing on Monday night, against the 11-1 Houston Texans. Stallworth will also be at that game. Only this time, he won't just be a fan.

Stallworth re-signed with New England earlier in the week, after the team placed wide receiver Julian Edelman on injured reserve because of a broken foot. Stallworth was released in training camp, making this his third stint with the Patriots, after spending an entire season in New England in 2007.

He admitted after Wednesday's practice that his familiarity with the Patriots' offense in the past has allowed him to return to the NFL this late into the season.

He worked out for a couple of other teams in the last 13 weeks, but he didn't get the call until now.

"I think the Patriots knew what kind of shape I was in," said Stallworth on Wednesday. "I made sure that I had been training hard throughout the whole season, just in case."

Stallworth lives in Miami, where he continued to work out and catch passes from former FIU quarterback Wes Carroll, after being cut from the Pats in training camp.

"We had a quarterback able to get us the ball and be able to work on our routes and stuff, full speed," said Stallworth.

The veteran wide receiver expressed his disappointment with being cut from the team so early in the season. But he got over it, and feels he is well prepared for another shot in New England.

"Honestly, I mean, I was disappointed, but I've been in this league long enough to understand how it works," said Stallworth. "It's just like after a game. When you lose a game and you're upset about it that night, but you come to the next game prepared. And that's what I did, although, it took me a little more than a night. It took a few days. But after that I just tried to get back to where I live in Miami and get back with my trainer, and just continue to work and hope for an opportunity."

Stallworth got the call on Monday. And he's already bought back into the Patriot Way.

"I have a lot of love for this organization, and just everything about the New England Patriots," he said on Wednesday. "I have a lot of friends on this team. So, yeah, to say I was excited is probably an accurate assessment.

"One of Bill Belichick's favorite motto's is just, 'Do your job.' And If I do my job, then I don't have anything else to worry about after that."

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.

AFC PLAYOFF RACE: Steelers end Giants' winning streak at 6 in 24-14 victory

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AFC PLAYOFF RACE: Steelers end Giants' winning streak at 6 in 24-14 victory

PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Steelers ended the New York Giants' winning streak with a familiar formula.

Ben Roethlisberger passed for 289 yards and two touchdowns, Le'Veon Bell rolled up 182 yards of total offense, and Pittsburgh's resurgent defense harassed Eli Manning into a flurry of mistakes in a dominant 24-14 win on Sunday.

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