With another AFC East title clinched -- their 10th in the past 12 years after a 23-16 victory over the Dolphins -- it's time for the Patriots to look ahead to bigger goals, such as their playoff seeding.
The Patriots (9-3) currently have the No. 2 spot in the AFC. The team at No. 3, the Baltimore Ravens (9-3) lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20 on Sunday. The Steelers (7-5) were playing without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and behind No. 3 quarterback Charlie Batch, ended a two-game losing streak.
Despite identical records, and the Ravens' 31-30 victory over New England back in Week 3, Baltimore is now behind the Pats in the AFC because of the three-way tie at 9-3 with the Denver Broncos.
The three-way tie means that head-to-head is no longer the first tiebreaker. In the event of a three-way tie, conference record becomes the tiebreaker and the Patriots (8-1 in the AFC) have a leg up on the Broncos (6-2) and Ravens (8-2).
The team with the top spot in the AFC, the Houston Texans (11-1), come into Foxborough next Monday night to face the Patriots. Houston had an easy time with the Tennessee Titans, winning 24-10 and clinching a playoff spot.
Houston will try to earn home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. They are tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the best record in the NFL as they head into Gillette Stadium for a "Monday Night Football" matchup with the Patriots.
Just behind the Ravens, also at 9-3, are the Denver Broncos, who clinched the AFC West title behind Peyton Manning with a 31-23 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Patriots defeated Broncos 31-21 in Week 5.
Appearing on The Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix, Brad Stevens said that Isaiah Thomas’ hip will be evaluated by the Celtics in September before the team decides how to proceed.
The C’s were unsure of whether Thomas would require surgery on his right hip, which ended his postseason early. He has gone the offseason without surgery, so the C’s will look at it next month.
“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September when he arrives back here out east, and from there we will know an exact timeline," Stevens said. "Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.
Added Stevens: “We want what’s best for Isaiah. We want to make sure that when he is ready to roll, which hopefully is sooner rather than later, that he is ready to roll at his highest level and for the longest possible time, obviously, right? So that’s a lot more important to me than anything else.”
Stevens said that the uncertainty of not knowing whether Thomas would need surgery was challenging, but that his priority was the player.
“I don’t know if it was unnerving because you can only control what you can control, but it’s a big deal for me because it’s a big deal to him,” he said. “Ultimately, obviously you want to go into every season 110 percent healthy and we’ll find out where we stand with everybody, but more so you want what’s best for him.”
Anthony Scaramucci isn't afraid to say stuff. This time, it involves the Patriots.
The outspoken former White House communications director follows over 180,000 Twitter accounts. One of them is @rslashpatriots, who asked about Robert Kraft's Super Bowl rings via direct message.
Putin famously stole Kraft's Super Bowl XXXIX ring while Kraft was visiting Russia in 2005. According to Kraft, he took out the ring to show it to Putin, but Putin put it in his pocket and left without giving it back.
Now that Trump has Kraft's ring, Kraft theoretically only has three of a possible five Super Bowl rings now. Guessing he could get new ones made.