Curran: Haynesworth singing a familiar tune

505945.jpg

Curran: Haynesworth singing a familiar tune

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
I think Albert Haynesworth will be a good football player in New England. I like the trade. I know he's alleged to have swiped a credit card through a waitress' cleavage, rammed fellow drivers on Tennessee highways while going over 100 mph, raged in the road and on the field, and stolen millions of dollars from Daniel Snyder. But I don't plan on going to dinner with him, riding shotgun in some absurd vehicle he's driving orhopping out of my compact car to see if he wants a piece of me. As for bilking Snyder...well, it just shows Haynesworth's deeds aren't all bad. I guess I'm in the media minority. Many of my brethren and sisterenhave been fanning themselves with their hymnals since Haynesworth got here. What about the children? What about Myra Kraft's legacy? Will it be safe to leave my house after 8 p.m.? You know, self-righteouscrap that never gets a centimeter below the surface of a situation because indignation and the moral high ground are the Jordan and Pippen of media conversation these days. Sonobody wonders if the Patriots' track record of taking raging jerks and turning them into productive employees might help wayward Albert find himself and live blissfully ever after. Nobody considers the liberal idea that this is a nice chance for him torehab his self-worth a bit. Nobody bothers to point out that it's a football team he's joined, not the state legislature. Instead, we get an onslaught of crass, cringe inducing finger-wagging about the Patriots betraying Myra Kraft's memory. It's an argument built on an example mined from a moment 15 years and two football administrationsago and it's supposed to demonstrate Mrs. Kraft's sway over personnel decisions. Sorry, only the internet has evolved more since 1996 than the Patriots. It's an inane contention that ignores recent history and the present reality that if Haynesworth is a jackass, he will be cut. The New England Patriots' organization -- the company -- has earned the right to hire employees with questionable histories and be given the benefit of the doubt that they will do the right thing if said employee commits crimes in the community or on the football field. They earned it, not because of the three Super Bowls, but because of the way in which they've conducted their business since 2000. Now that that's off my chest, I feel better. And I can move on to the point of this column, which is: Haynesworth is not at all stupid. He may act like an idiot and have some self-esteem and anger issues, but he is intelligent. Which is why the words he speaks must be heard with jaundiced ear. On Tuesday, he said the right things to the assembled media at Gillette Stadium. He made it sound like he embraces the perfection the Patriots demand and looks forward to "rewriting my name as Albert Haynesworth the Patriots."But he knows how to say the right things. When he signed the 100 million contract with 41M guaranteed with the Redskins, here's what he had to say, With the contract, it's going to be all on me, he said. What they want me to come here and do is play football and be disruptive, do what I do, so thats what I've come here to do. When you get on the field, you're not thinking about dollar signs or anything like that, you're just going out there to play. It's a lot of money, but honestly, I put more pressure on myself than what the contract will do.I have such high standards for myself that, you know, Snyder can pay me half a billion dollars, and it still would have been the pressure I put on myself. I expect myself to play at a high level and to dominate. And if Im not making plays, then people around me are making plays. As far as the number, I mean, yeah, it's great. Its awesome, dont get me wrong, but as far as the pressure, no. He disgraced himself. So thoroughly that in just two seasons, a chronicle of the Worst of Haynesworth was easy from Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post to cobble together. Haynesworth can talk it. He hasn't shown if he can walk it. That he's being given the chance to take his steps back to redemption in New England? Don't bother me none.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

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

steelers_gians_leveon_bell_120416.jpg

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.

Click here for the complete story