Four-thought on Pats and Bruins

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Four-thought on Pats and Bruins

By Michael Felger

A Felger Four to kick off 2011:

I know a lot of you disagree with me, but I think things broke in the Patriots favor on Sunday when the Chiefs were upset at home by Oakland and the Colts got by Tennessee later in the day.

In short, thanks to those results the Pats now wont have to face Peyton Manning until the AFC title game, should they both make it that far. As the No. 3 seed, the Colts are guaranteed of going to No. 2 seed Pittsburgh should they beat the Jets next weekend.

The Pats, on the other hand, will face the lowest remaining seed from Wild Card Weekend, which means either the Jets, Chiefs or Ravens. If New York wins at Indy on Saturday night, then the Pats get their hated division rivals. If the Colts win, then the Pats will await the winner of Chiefs-Ravens on Sunday.

Id take my chances with any of those teams over the Colts. And you can add the Steelers to that list, as well. I still believe the teams that matchup best against the Pats are the ones who throw to win. And thats the Colts. Thats Manning, who figured out Bill Belichick a long time ago.

Are any of you still willing to argue with me about Randy Moss and his value to the Patriots? Is there any more debate? The Pats are a better team without him. Tom Brady is a better quarterback without him. Period, story over. Fact. Not opinion.

Brady threw an interception in the third quarter of his first game without Moss against Baltimore in Week 6 . . . and he didnt throw another real pick the rest of the year (unless you an include an interception on a Hail Mary at the end of the Ravens game). Over the next 10 games, nine of which were wins, Brady threw 24 touchdowns and no interceptions. Over his final eight games he didnt have a quarterback rating under 107. He finished the year with the fifth-highest QB rating of all time, 111.0. He had 36 touchdowns on the year against four interceptions. Four. And he did it against the iron of the league. Baltimore. At Pittsburgh. The Jets. At Chicago. Brady and the Pats played six games against playoff teams after the Moss trade, and they won every one.

And just imagine. They were able to do all that without Moss running off the safety.

If theres another case of more people being more wrong on one topic than the overwhelming majority of fans and media were on Moss, then Id like to know what it is. Because as far as I can tell, it doesnt exist.

A few Pats quick-hitters from Sunday's win over Miami:

I wish Julien Edelman could do it when it counts. For all the progress made by so many young players on the roster this season, Edelman remains one of the disappointing ones. Or maybe we just overrate him every August and this is just what he is. A special teamer.

Those of you wondering where Taylor Price was all year, there you go. Seems like theres a little something there, right?

So Brandon Meriweather is a Pro Bowler and Rob Gronkowski isnt. Hmm. Maybe they need to step up the drug testing across the league.

For all the time we spent talking about the upgrade the Pats experienced in going with Deion Branch over Moss, we overlooked a similar swap that took place in the backfield. How about BenJarvus Green-Ellis for Laurence Maroney? When it comes to this Patriots team, give me the overachiever every time.

Finally, I understand Claude Julien is feeling some pressure. I understand these December and January games may mean a bit more to him than other coaches. A bad stretch and he could be toast. So hes riding a hot hand.

But does he need to risk destroying the confidence of a good, young goalie in the process?

Theres only two reasons I can think of to play 36-year old Tim Thomas in seven straight games in December of an 82-game season (including a stretch last week when he played back-to-back nights and then again two days later) when you have one of the leagues most promising young goalies on the bench. The first is what we mentioned above. Julien fears for his job so hes treating every two points like its life or death. So Thomas gets the call.

The other relates to the four-year, 20 million contract the general manager gave to the aforementioned 36-year-old. Its in Peter Chiarellis best interest to play Thomas as much as possible, too. The more Thomas plays and the better he does, the more Chiarelli can justify that unjustifiable contract to his new boss, Cam Neely.

Anyway, what happened to Rask the other night in Buffalo is ridiculous. Playing in his first game in 16 days, Rask let in one bad goal and was pulled after 20 minutes of action. A 4-3 Bruins lead turned into a 7-6 shootout defeat in front of Thomas, who hasnt exactly been standing on his head of late, either. The Bs lost the two points and they lost the opportunity to give Thomas a needed rest. Lets just hope they dont lose Rask as well.

Felger's season-ending Patriots report card will appear tomorrow. E-mail Felger HERE and read the mailbag on Thursday. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Morning Skate: Asking price on Shattenkirk should scare off Bruins

Morning Skate: Asking price on Shattenkirk should scare off Bruins

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after watching the Boston Celtics take a hard pass on the Boogie. 
 
-- Bob McKenzie sits in with the good folks at TSN 1200 Ottawa sports radio and talks a little Claude Julien of the Montreal Canadiens

-- The Avalanche youth movement is set to begin as quickly as March 1, as Colorado may move some of its veteran players at the trade deadline. 
 
-- Ryan Johansen got snubbed in his return to Columbus for the first time as a member of the Nashville Predators. That’s too bad, but it’s also not exactly Wayne Gretzky returning to the Edmonton Oilers for the first time. 
 
-- The price tag for Kevin Shattenkirk is in and it includes a top prospect and a first-round pick, along with another piece, for a rental defenseman. That should be far too rich for the Bruins’ blood. The B's were already intent on avoiding the rental market ahead of the trade deadline, and the steep price -- even for a potentially useful short-term acquisition like the puck-moving Shattenkirk -- should make that even more of a certainty. 
 
-- Ken Campbell asks whether hockey agents have gone too far in chasing after prospective prospects before they even enter their teenage years. 

 -- Bobby Ryan has a hand injury that’s going to sideline him, another piece of bad luck for the Senators forward. 
 
-- For something completely different: On President’s Day, it seems only natural to go through the favorite Presidents in the history of the Marvel Universe.

Curran: Jets' 2015 tampering with Revis more extensive than NFL revealed

Curran: Jets' 2015 tampering with Revis more extensive than NFL revealed

The Patriots obviously got it right when they pushed away from the table during the Darrelle Revis bidding war in 2015. 

The once-great corner spent the 2016 season languishing on the field. He’s spending the early part of the offseason reacting negatively to backpack journalism after midnight. 

MORE PATRIOTS

But the alleged double KO by Revis and his buddies isn’t what prompts this submission. 

It’s the revelation from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that the tampering the Jets engaged in when they were prying Revis loose from the Patriots was way, way more involved than what the NFL fined them for. And that Jets owner Woody Johnson knew all about it. 

Mehta leads his piece revealing that, long before free agency opened in 2015, Revis “was ready to squeeze more money out of [Johnson] who he knew would be willing to overpay for his services again.”

Mehta reports that, “back-channel discussions with the Jets in February set the foundation for a Revis reunion . . . 

“Team officials in stealth mode communicated with Revis, Inc., through private cell phones and face-to-face covert meetings at the 2015 Scouting Combine rather than make calls from the team's landlines at their Florham Park facility. No paper trails were a must.

“Johnson, the driving force behind bringing back Revis to right a wrong in his mind, endorsed all of it.”

The Patriots -- who were in the midst of the Deflategate colonoscopy that resulted in absurd-level discipline -- lodged a complaint with the league over the Jets tampering after Revis signed with the Jets in mid-March of 2015. 

The Jets were fined $100,000 but weren’t docked any draft picks.. The tender wrist slap came, ostensibly, because Johnson moronically stated at a December press conference that he’d “love” to have Revis return to New York. 

Maybe Johnson wasn’t being a dummy. That comment provided cover for the league office -- which has a documented history of treating the two NYC franchises with kid gloves -- to let the Jets off easy. 

Mehta’s article is the latest offering from him since completing his heel turn against Revis. 

Mehta did everything but fly the plane to bring Revis to New York once the 2014 season ended. And this is what he wrote the day the Jets penalty came down: 

The NFL’s attempt to uncover any dirt was an exercise in futility, a witch hunt driven by nonsense from a hypocritical organization with no reason to feel threatened by its competitor. 

You may wonder what’s the point? 

Clearly, the Patriots got it right while the Jets cheated, got what they wanted, and are now getting what they deserved. 

And everyone already knows the league office’s investigations and operations arms under the brutally incompetent leadership of Troy Vincent are a laughingstock. 

All true. But if I don’t write this now, I may have no recollection of this particular instance of league corruption given the absolute avalanche of other incidents