Pats look to break through against top D


Pats look to break through against top D

We're 13 weeks into the NFL season and the Patriots have the most dominant offense in football. So dominant, in fact, that opposing defensive coordinators might as well just show up to the stadium wearing nipple clamps and a ball gag.

Heading into Monday night's game against the Texans, the Pats are the only team in the NFL that averages more than 30 points a game (and they do so easily, at 35.8). They're the only team with more than 5000 total yards or more than 300 first downs. They're the only team that converts more than 50 percent of its third downs.

For good measure, they're also the only team in the NFL with a single-digit turnover total, one of only two teams that rank in the Top 10 in both passing and rushing yards, and one of only five that's allowed fewer than 20 sacks.

Like I said: DOMINANT. And in every aspect of the game.

But for one second, let's forget about the NFL's top offense and focus on defense.

More specifically, the league's Top 10 defenses:

1. San Francisco, 14.3 point per game
2. Chicago, 16.5
3. Seattle, 16.8
4. Houston, 18.4
5. Atlanta, 19.1
6. Pittsburgh, 19.2
7. Arizona, 19.5
8. Baltimore, 20.2
9. NY Giants, 20.3
10. Denver, 20.3

Notice anything interesting about this list? How about as it relates to the Patriots? Is there anything that sticks out?

Here's what I noticed:

Week 2: The Pats lose 19-17 to the No. 7 ranked Cardinals D.
Week 3: The Pats lose 31-30 to the No. 8 ranked Ravens D.
Week 6: The Pats lose 24-23 to the No. 3 ranked Seahawks D.

On one hand, this serves as another reminder of the ridiculous fact that the Patriots' three losses have come by a combined four points. (Week 2: A missed Gostkowski chip shot; Week 3: A Justin Tucker field goal that probably shouldn't have counted; Week 6: The longest touchdown pass of Russell Wilson's career.)

But it also shows that in four games against Top 10 NFL defenses, the Patriots are a 1-3.

Is that just a coincidence?

With the No. 4 ranked Texans coming in on Monday, we can only hope so.

(And either way, let's pray that Wade Phillips leaves the nipple clamps at home.)

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed. Time for a rematch!'


Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed. Time for a rematch!'

When Danny Amendola told the world on Tuesday that he's better than Tom Brady at ping pong, the quarterback must have been listening. 

On his Facebook page, Brady published a snarling image of his face Photoshopped onto the body of a table tennis player. That paddle he broke after losing to Amendola three years ago? It's fixed, Brady explained in the caption. And he's ready for a rematch.

Talk about intimidation.

Wilfork embracing modeling, tells Brady to put him in touch with Gisele's people


Wilfork embracing modeling, tells Brady to put him in touch with Gisele's people

Vince Wilfork will be one of many well-known athletes to strip down and pose nude for photographs in ESPN The Magazine's's Body issue, joining a group that includes Cubs pitcher Jake Arrietta, Broncos defensive end Von Miller and Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

Judging by his latest tweet, the former Patriots defensive lineman -- who is listed at 325 pounds -- is getting pretty comfortable with the idea of becoming a model.

Now it's up to Tom Brady to play match-maker, it seems. Gisele retired from the runway last year so maybe her people are on the lookout for some new talent.

Belichick: Buddy Ryan a father to 'a great football family'

Belichick: Buddy Ryan a father to 'a great football family'

Bill Belichick released a statement on Buddy Ryan's passing Tuesday afternoon. 

"Today is a sad day in football due to the passing of Buddy Ryan," Belichick said. "It was always very challenging to compete against Coach Ryan, who was father to a great football family that carries on his coaching and defensive tradition. My condolences are with the Ryan Family."

Belichick is certainly very familiar with Ryan's legacy and the tradition Ryan passed down to his sons Rex and Rob. The Patriots coach has competed against all three.

Rex Ryan has squared off with Belichick during his time as head coach for the Jets (2009-14) and Bills (2015-present), and their matchups go back to Rex's days with the Ravens (1999-2008) when he was a defensive line coach and then defensive coordinator.

Rob Ryan, like his brother, got his first NFL break when his father was the head coach of the Cardinals in the mid-1990s. His second break, though, came from Belichick. He joined the Patriots staff during Belichick's first year as head coach in 2000 and coached linebackers for four seasons in New England. He has since competed against Belichick as a defensive coordinator for the Raiders, Browns, Cowboys and Saints. Rob joined Rex in Buffalo this year to serve as an assistant on the staff there. 

For Belichick's thoughts on the impact of Buddy Ryan's famous "46" defense, we dug up some of his comments from a 2012 press conference that you can find here. He called the combination of Ryan's scheme and the talented players Ryan had at his disposal as defensive coordinator of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears "pretty unblockable."