In the first half of the season, several teams seemed to be heading straight for the morgue, but for the past few weeks, they have stubbornly refused to take their last breath. The Patriots, in action in a critical duel against the Rams tomorrow night, are of the lot.
Just over a month ago, the Patriots hit rock bottom with a record of two wins and five losses. Five weeks later, they’re 6-6 and still alive for a playoff berth, even though they could be pained against the Rams.
The same is true in a few other markets. With a record of a small win and seven losses on November 2, the Giants were left for dead. Now with four straight wins, they are at the height of the race with a defense that does not make anyone want to face them.
The same can be said of their division rivals from Washington, who are fighting with them for the top of the division after a more than lame start.
The Vikings had won just one victory in their first six games and looked utterly routed. They have since won five of their six games to bring their record down to .500 and if the playoffs start today they would be part of the tournament.
The job that comes in
When teams experience such a jolt after a difficult start, it’s often because they are young and the experience comes after a few weeks of breaking in.
This is certainly the case on defense for the Vikings and across the field for the Giants and Washington. On the contrary, the Patriots are betting on one of the highest average age rosters in the league. In their case, it is rather that several players have inherited increased roles after numerous departures via the free agent market and players who opted for the escape clause in this COVID season. The schemes of Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels are not among the most obvious to tame.
The road to the series remains complex. Right now, the queue is tight for the last available seat in the conference. In a tie, however, the Patriots have already beaten the Ravens and Raiders. They would get priority over these two teams.
Nothing can be won for Belichick’s troupe, but considering that the cold buffet was already ordered for the funeral service, this return from beyond the grave is already a surprise. However, year after year, the Patriots play their best football in November and December. It should have been expected.
The forces involved
New England Patriots
- Cam Newton, Quarterback, 5T, 9 INT, 2053 yards
- Damien harris, Running back, 2 T, 641 yards
- Damiere Byrd, Wide winger, 1 T, 518 yards
Los angeles rams
- Jared goff, Quarterback, 17T, 10 INT, 3372 yards
- Darrell henderson, Running back, 5 T, 559 yards
- Cooper Kupp, Wide end, 2 T, 836 yards
Patriots 14 – Rams 13
Player to watch
Josh Uche | Linebacker, Patriots
The Patriots had their fill of youngsters defensively in the last draft and the response was clearly not favorable at the time. Whether it was linebackers Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings or marauder Kyle Dugger, there was no doubt. The three are playing more and more and are starting to assert themselves. Sunday, against the Chargers, Uche hit the opposing quarterback three times. The Patriots see him as their future quarterback hunter.
1. Chiefs from Kansas City, 11-1
For a rare time, the Chiefs weren’t propelled by Patrick Mahomes’ insane statistics against the Broncos. The defense took the torch, in particular thanks to two crucial interceptions of Tyrann Mathieu. This team wins anyway.
2. Saints from New Orleans, 10-2
A touchdown allowed in the fourth quarter ended a brilliant streak for the Saints, who did not concede a touchdown in the opponent’s 42 offensive series. Drew Brees is getting closer to a return to the game and the Saints will be all the more formidable.
3. Steelers from Pittsburgh, 11-1
The Steelers have played with fire a few times in the past few weeks only to end up burning themselves against Washington. Not enough to panic for a loss, however. They had five chances to score from the one-yard line and failed. It sank them.
4. Packers from Green Bay, 9-3
While Aaron Rodgers has joined the club with 400 career touchdown passes, wide receiver Davante Adams continues to shine. In his last 16 games, he’s caught 132 passes for 1,680 yards and 17 touchdowns. He rose to the rank of the most productive receiver on the league.
5. Bills from Buffalo, 9-3
Josh Allen shone in the Monday night spotlight. It does so by maintaining a remarkable balance among its targets. No less than 12 players on the team have captured at least one touchdown pass this season, an NFL record. Gabriel Davis is the point guard with five touchdowns.
6. Rams from Los Angeles, 8-4
Jared Goff has recovered nicely from his poor performance the week before. It remains to be seen if tomorrow night, he will be able to do as well against Bill Belichick, who had put in his small pocket Sean McVay’s offensive game plan at the Super Bowl two years ago.
7. Browns of Cleveland, 9-3
Much has been made, and rightly so, of Baker Mayfield’s performance in the victory over the Titans. But aside from a slack in the fourth quarter, the defense also looked good, limiting Derrick Henry to 60 rushing yards and forcing a fumble first in his last 375 carries.
8. Colts from Indianapolis, 8-4
An encouraging sign for the Colts’ aerial attack, TY Hilton gained 100 yards in a game for the first time since 2018. His production has plummeted since Andrew Luck was no longer in charge of the attack, but he didn’t. It’s not yet too late for chemistry to work with Philip Rivers.
9. Buccaneers from Tampa Bay, 7-5
The Buccaneers attack their return from leave with one duel against the Vikings, another against the Lions and two against the Falcons. Command seemed easy a short time ago, but the Lions have responded well to their new rider and the Vikings are winning. We will have to get up.
10. Titans from Tennessee, 8-4
The Titans’ defense provided another dismal performance. The front is simply unable to apply pressure on the opposing quarterbacks with just 14 sacks on the clock. Only the Bengals are doing worse in this regard with 13 sacks this season.
11. Dolphins from Miami, 8-4
Before being ejected in the first half, Xavien Howard had his eighth interception this season, a high in the NFL. The duel with the Bengals was not very chic with a general scrum, but Brian Flores did well to defend his players. This team seems united.
12. Seahawks from Seattle, 8-4
The Seahawks are clearly not the same. After their brilliant 5-0 start, they have lost four of their last seven games. Russell Wilson had a third game with at least one interception and one fumble. When not at his best, the team’s shortcomings stand out.
13. Raiders from Las Vegas, 7-5
The Raiders had a narrow escape against the Jets and they just gave 71 points in two weeks to opponents who have a combined record of four wins and 20 losses. The situation is worrying on defense, but on offense Derek Carr and Darren Waller save the day.
14. Cardinals from Arizona, 6-6
Kyler Murray and the Cardinals insist he doesn’t have to run for the offense to work. Yet when Murray carries the ball eight or more times, the Cards are 6-1 with 32.1 points per game. Otherwise, they’re 0-5 with an average of 22 points per game.
15. Ravens from Baltimore, 6-5
The bulk of the Ravens’ COVID-19 outbreak appears to be under control. Which doesn’t mean the team is out of the woods! The race for the last available playoff spots is in full swing and the Colts, Browns, Dolphins, Titans and Raiders are all believable.
16. Patriots from New England, 6-6
The 45-0 win over the Chargers proved to be the second biggest shutout in the team’s history, following a 59-0 win over the Titans in 2009. The gap is even more impressive considering that in the win, Cam Newton amassed just 69 aerial yards.
17. Team from Washington, 5-7
With Alex Smith in the quarterback, the offense may be conservative, but it has the merit of not being abominable like last year and in the first months of the current season. The defense continues its formidable effort and limited the Steelers to 21 rushing yards.
18. Vikings from Minnesota, 6-6
Last week: 17 | -1
If Dan Bailey hadn’t had so much trouble on his kicks, the Vikings wouldn’t have needed overtime to beat the Jaguars. Still, the Mauves should never have come so close to disaster against a much inferior team.
19. Giants from New York, 5-7
In the Super Bowl era, only the 1970 Bengals made the playoffs after recording just two wins in their first eight games. The 2020 Giants are on course to do even better, with a 1-7 record after eight games. It remains to do the series!
20. Texans from Houston, 4-8
With the game hanging in the balance at the goal gate, Deshaun Watson had to juggle a bad throw from his center Nick Martin. The Colts covered up and that was the end of the shows. Watson almost guided his team to an unlikely victory without receiver Will Fuller.
21. 49ERS from San Francisco, 5-7
The loss clearly marked the end of playoff hopes for the defending National Conference champions. There were just too many obstacles for this team to overcome. The defense got slashed like rarely before by the Bills’ air attack on Monday night.
22. Panthers from Carolina, 4-8
Christian McCaffrey says he is ready to make a comeback, but now the Panthers are affected by several cases of COVID-19. The coming game against the Broncos does not appear to be in jeopardy and the next three against the Packers, Team Washington and the Saints will not be pie
23. Lions from Detroit, 5-7
The Lions, masters of evading advances in recent years, recorded their first victory after coming back 10 or more points since 2014. Matthew Stafford had his first 400-yard game this season.
24. Falcons from Atlanta, 4-8
The Falcons are the typical case of a team that advances well with the ball but hits a wall on the goal gate. They scored a single touchdown in four appearances in the paying zone against the Saints. They are also 29th in the NFL in this regard. A recurrent issue.
25. Broncos from Denver, 4-8
The Broncos were just three points behind with six minutes left against the Chiefs with the ball in midfield. They opted for a clearance and the Chiefs then took more than five minutes on the board. Against the Chiefs, this strategy is a failure every time.
26. Bears from Chicago, 5-7
The Bears scored 30 points for the first time since Week 3. Yet they found a way to collapse for a sixth straight week. The end of Matt Nagy is approaching and it will be necessary to leave with a new regime and a new quarterback. Again…
27. Eagles of Philadelphia, 3-8-1
Rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts was named a starter for the Eagles against the Saints. It was time ! Hurts wasn’t a perfect replacement for Carson Wentz on Sunday, far from it, but his presence whipped the troops. Another athletic quarterback who gets his chance.
28. Cowboys from Dallas, 3-8
The Cowboys clearly appeared to be the most talented team in their division heading into the season. On offense, that is still true, as long as Dak Prescott returns to health in 2021. The Giants and Washington defense will keep them drooling for years to come.
29. Chargers from Los Angeles, 3-9
The Chargers’ special teams are a disaster and rookie quarterback Justin Herbert had a really tough first game, finding himself under repeated pressure against the Patriots. For a rare time, the Chargers have never been in the game.
30. Bengals from Cincinnati, 2-9-1
The Bengals let a lead slip away after halftime, a situation that has happened too often this season. The team is indeed 1-5 after retreating to the locker room with the lead. Sunday’s grim indiscipline was reminiscent of great moments from the Marvin Lewis era.
31. Jaguars from Jacksonville, 1-11
Last week: 31 | =
The Jaguars are determined to hand the ball over to Mike Glennon even though Gardner Minshew has the green light from the medics to return to the game. Head coach Doug Marrone is able to say without laughing that Glennon is giving the team the best chance. to win. A match or a first choice?
32. Jets from New York, 0-12
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was kicked out after his controversial decision to use just four players for cover on the Raiders’ winning pass. Since 2017, the record of the teams he has led as coordinator is 9-42-1 …