Pats look to break through against top D

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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 rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Another big swing and miss from NYDN's Manish Mehta on the Patriots

Another big swing and miss from NYDN's Manish Mehta on the Patriots

Every few months, our buddy Manish Mehta gets suitably bored or his bosses at the New York Daily News get sufficiently impatient with him and he goes off with some prediction that winds up being the absolute direct opposite of what actually happens.

He would be like the drippy-nosed kid at his own birthday party trying to bust open the piñata for an uncomfortable length of time. Except, eventually, somebody takes pity on that kid. With Manish, nobody ever feels bad and he’s left out there swinging long after the party’s over and everyone’s gone home.

Tom Brady’s suspension has provided multiple opportunities for Manish to walk into screen doors.

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First, after Brady bailed in July on taking his suspension to the SCOTUS, Mehta spun it forward and said the Jets would be looking real good after four games with Jimmy Garoppolo driving the bus.

Brady will be in full-fledged F.U. mode by the time he faces the Jets for the first time in Week 12. But what if the Patriots start off winless or 1-3 with Garoppolo? Will Brady's greatness be enough to overcome such a sluggish start given that his team has the second toughest strength of schedule in the AFC (behind the Jets and just ahead of the Bills and Dolphins)?

"I feel like, in this division, you got to win 10-plus games, maybe 11-plus games," Decker said. "That means you almost have to go perfect the rest of the year (after a 1-3 start). You can be in a situation where you play a hard Sunday game and, all of sudden, you got a (quick turnaround) on a Thursday night. … You can factor those things in and make a case that it's more difficult to go on a run after starting 1-3."

After the Patriots started 2-0 and Garoppolo broke, Mehta waded in again.

Not even the greatest football mind of the generation will be able to wiggle out of this jam.

The Patriots face a new reality now that Jimmy Garoppolo wrecked his shoulder on Sunday: The Evil Empire will be looking up at the Jets in the AFC East standings when Tom Brady returns….

(Jacoby) Brissett has been a NFL player for FIVE MONTHS. He'll have THREE DAYS to prepare for his first start. Belichick is brilliant, but let's be realistic. He's not going to climb this mountain.

Friday, Manish made a Mehta Culpa in the New York Daily News and on CSN's SportsNet Central. His prediction of Brissett going bellyup and the Patriots being behind the Jets by the time Brady made his return was, “one giant swing and a miss,” wrote Mehta.

“I was wrong like pre-Socratic philosophers, who thought the world was flat. I was wrong like the Chicago Daily Tribune headline writer, who prematurely buried Truman in '48. I was wrong like Lex Luthor, who thought he could destroy Superman three or four hundred times.

Mehta got an avalanche of “You’re a ******* moooooorrrrrrooooonnnnn!!!!” tweets Thursday night. This was his blanket attempt to say, “Yes. Yes I am.”

And for a second, you worry. Is Manish done? Has he taken his blindfold off, put down his stick and gone into the house for good? No more wild swings and misses?

And then you realize it is his raison d’etre. He’ll be back. And – like this guy – he’ll be gloriously mistaken.

 

Report: Brady and Gisele spotted on Italian island of Capri

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Report: Brady and Gisele spotted on Italian island of Capri

Anyone know any good receivers Tom Brady can work out with on Capri?

With a little over a week left before he can return to the Patriots, Brady and wife, model Gisele Bundchen, were spotted in a restaurant on the island of Capri in Italy in photos published by TMZ.

Brady, of course, is serving his NFL-imposed, four-game Deflategate suspension. He will be allowed to return to the Patriots practice facility on Monday, Oct. 3 and is expected to play in the game in Cleveland on Oct. 9.

Last week, Brady traveled to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, to serve as honorary captain for the Wolverines game against Colorado.