Curran: Do Pats need to loosen up for Jets?

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Curran: Do Pats need to loosen up for Jets?

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - On the (long) drive in here Sunday afternoon, I was reflecting on how charged the atmosphere is when the Jets and Patriots play. The agita, hand-wringing and import placed on these games is unmistakeable. But did the Raiders feel as all-consumed about the Jets before facing - and beating - them? Or the Ravens? I understand, this is a division game and the fastest route to the playoffs is winning the division. And I get the import of New York-New England. But sometimes I wonder if the Patriots clench up a little bit when they get to Jets Week. My buddy Alex Marvez of Yahoo! Sports wondered the same thing this week and here's his column on the topic of the Patriots letting the Jets get in their head. This excerpt I particularly enjoyed: "Even Pats wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has gone Marcel Marceau. The NFLs most prolific player on Twitter, Ochocinco also hasnt texted for weeks after losing an undisclosed bet.STFU, indeed.Mind you, Ochocinco could type one character for each of his 118 receiving yards through four games and still have space left for a message. But some of his struggles might be the result of a player long known for marching to the beat of his own drum feeling out of sync in a far more restrictive culture than in Cincinnati.The verbal abuse he received from Harrison and Bruschi in the media following an innocuous early-season Tweet could very well have damaged his confidence.Ochocinco has plenty of time to rebound. Because the bar is set so high in New England, the 2011 Patriots wont be judged by anything except playoff performance.Thats when well see if New England can truly back its lack of words, especially if Ryan and the Jets are lying in wait once again."

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Tom Brady claims No. 1 spot on NFL's top 100 list

Tom Brady claims No. 1 spot on NFL's top 100 list

The NFL Network revealed the final 10 players on its annual Top 100 list Monday night and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finished in the No. 1 spot.

On NFL.com, the Top 100 list is described as the answer to the question, "Who are the top 100 players in the NFL today?" If that's the criteria -- and not simply performance in 2016 -- then Watt's complaint actually doesn't hold much water. If he's healthy, no one would argue that he's one of the best 35 players "in the NFL today."

Several Patriots players made the cut on this year's list: Rob Gronkowski (No. 23), LeGarrette Blount (No. 80), Julian Edelman (No. 71), Dont'a Hightower (No. 94) and Malcolm Butler (No. 99). 

Brady was also voted in as the No. 1 player back in 2011. 

NFL's Top 10 list revealed Monday night: Where does Tom Brady wind up?

NFL's Top 10 list revealed Monday night: Where does Tom Brady wind up?

NFL players vote every year on which players should make up the list of the best their game has to offer, but it's an imperfect system. And that's probably putting it lightly. 

The NFL Network will reveal the final 10 players on its annual Top 100 list Monday night at 8 p.m. It will be an order that has been chosen by some players, not all. Of those who took part, some hastily made their way through a handful of names at the end of last season handing over their choices. 

Yet it's the list the league ends up with, for better or for worse, prompting responses like JJ Watt's when he found out he was No. 35 this year after playing in three games last season. 

On NFL.com, the Top 100 list is described as the answer to the question, "Who are the top 100 players in the NFL today?" If that's the criteria -- and not simply performance in 2016 -- then Watt's complaint actually doesn't hold much water. If he's healthy, no one would argue that he's one of the best 35 players "in the NFL today."

This year, several Patriots players from 2016 made the cut: Rob Gronkowski (No. 23), LeGarrette Blount (No. 80), Julian Edelman (No. 71), Dont'a Hightower (No. 94) and Malcolm Butler (No. 99). 

Tom Brady will be the last of Bill Belichick's players to be named. He's lumped into a Top 10 that will include Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Ezekiel Elliott, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, Von Miller and Khalil Mack.

Here's what we think the list should look like when the curtain falls on the finale of this flawed endeavor:

10. Elliott
9. Beckham
8. Bell
7. Brown
6. Ryan
5. Jones
4. Miller
3. Mack
2. Rodgers
1. Brady