- Before I get into the Patriots game, can we talk about the Packers losing to the fucking Cardinals for a second? For the last few years, I’ve been on this whole “Aaron Rodgers takes absolutely ZERO flack bandwagon” and people are finally starting to grab my hand to climb aboard. I’ve been saying this for YEARS. The guy is just a more passive-aggressive Jay Cutler with elite talent. One championship in over a decade and anytime the Packers lose, the blame always lands on Mike McCarthy, the defense, the lack of weapons, the popcorn vendor, etc. Now, Green Bay’s well on their way to a below .500 season and Joestradamus notches another dub on the ole’ belt.
- So we’re officially three weeks removed from that ass stuffing the Patriots took against Mike Vrabel and co. and the playoff picture isn’t looking much different. I heard a lot of people saying the Pats didn’t look great in their rebound against the Jets last week but honestly, the Patriots never look great against divisional opponents the second time around in a season. There’s just something about that AFC East familiarity that brings out the worst in Belichick and, with all of that said, they still won by two scores so let’s just settle down a bit.
- This is officially the first week where I think we’ll head into SNF with a reasonable idea of where the Patriots stand. December is routinely when the Pats turn into the Terminator and just start obliterating overs. The Vikings aren’t incredible by any means—they lost to friggen’ Buffalo earlier this season—but they’re a stable enough franchise to serve as a reasonable barometer for where this team is trending.
- After a swift 3-and-out, the Pats storm down the field and give it to who else but James Develin, cementing today as one of the strangest fantasy days of the season. I’m not saying the horses didn’t leave the stable—Cohen, Hurley, and McCaffrey all went off—but I’ll be damned if you were playing Zay Jones, Chris Godwin, or Chase Edmonds this week.
- Adam Butler with his second sack of the season and Van Noy follows it up by burying Kirk Cousins with a spear that Goldberg or Edge would’ve raise an eyebrow at. Dan Bailey steps up and SHANKS a 48-yarder. That thing looked like a dead pigeon shot out of a toy cannon.
- A tough third-and-five conversion is no match for the lightning quads of the one they call Tom. He blanks his first read and tucks it out of the shotgun for just what the doctor ordered and the Patriots’ organization now has a new 1,000-yard rusher. Curious to see if the NFL halts the game to present him with a certificate of achievement, or at least a gift card to The Cheesecake Factory or something… #TB1K
2nd Quarter (NE: 7 MIN: 0)
- Edelman opens up the second quarter by nearly coughing up a punt return. For those keeping score at home, that’s his second potentially deadly mishap today (the easy drop to avoid a conversion, thus halting the last drive being the first). Edelman’s been consistent from a box score perspective so far this season but I can’t say he’s been rock solid. A lot of uncharacteristic drops this year but those struggles tend to curtail when this guy gets into December/January.
- Three straight catches for James White and if I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: When this team feeds James White, this team wins. The guy does nothing spectacularly well, but he does everything serviceably. Think Stephanie Morgan from Backyard Baseball.
- Clear pass interference by Eric Kendricks on Edelman two yards off the goal line to stump what otherwise was a productive drive. Brady’s seemingly refusing to go downfield today. So far, the Pats have featured six backs out of the backfield whereas Hogan/Gronk/Gordon have combined for a whopping one reception for 18 yards. It’s been death by the dump today…
- Mike Zimmer with a hell of a challenge, reversing the the generous spot given to Gronk on his first catch of the game. In response, Mackenzie Alexander bullrushes through Edelman/Gronk to swallow James White on a pitch to the outside and Ryan Allen is asked to justify his paycheck for the second time today.
- JUST when I started to wonder if Adam Thielen missed the bus, he finds real estate in the back of the end zone for an easy six, followed by a botched “Hot Potato” celebration that should’ve cost them points, rather than a flag.
- A throw to Gronk leaves a second on the clock. Instead of simply taking a knee and heading into the tunnel (like the Pats always do), Bill elects to roll the dice in the form of a pointless dump pass to James White that goes for roughly 40 yards. For those keeping score at home, the reason that play occurred was obviously because I’m playing James White this week in fantasy. Give me a fucking break…
3rd Quarter (NE: 10 MIN: 7)
- I still have no idea why Edelman is still returning punts. Is he really the only guy we have on the roster capable of falling on a kick? I understand Jules one of the best punt returners in NFL history, but can we agree he’s surpassed that role? One would think that a 32-year-old, 5’9″ White guy coming off ACL surgery should get a few special teams plays off every once in awhile but I guess not. I mean, the guy gets absolutely LEVELED out there and for what? An extra five yards? He’s too valuable for that.
- Pats go for it on fourth down and it pays off to the tune of a 2-yard out to Hogan, who reacted as if he just peeled his fourth railroad piece off a medium fry during McDonald’s Monopoly promotion.
- Pats can’t capitalize on Hogan’s intensity and Gostkowski trots out to attempt a 48-yarder. Spoiler alert: not even fucking close…
- The undrafted rookie JC Jackson comes up HUGE on two deep fades to Thielen and Aldrick Robinson, both of which landed near the back right pylon. Obviously I’m jumping the gun here but this kid has Malcolm Butler written all over him.
- Gordon comes out of hiding by shaking an initial defender for a first down the left sideline. Two plays later, Brady finds him over the middle for a 24-yard touchdown. Classic Patriots, juggernaut drive that ends with Brady tying Peyton Manning for most touchdown passes all time (including postseason). Brady’s been at that point in his career where he’s seemingly breaking big time records every week and I’d be a liar if I said there wasn’t a surplus of blood flow to my nether regions right now.
- Side Question: Gordon hasn’t been electric per se, but I don’t think it’s ridiculous to assert him as the best midseason receiver pickup of all time. The only other options I can think of is Braylon Edwards to the Jets in ’09 (which worked) and Roy Williams to the Cowboys in ’08 (which, well, didn’t work at all).
4th Quarter (NE: 17 MIN: 10)
- Trey Flowers unloads on Kirk Cousins for a loss of ten, forcing a quick 3-and-out. This is why the Pats are the most frustrating team to bet against: They’ll play like shit for three quarters before randomly taking the governor off and blowing the doors off late. Whenever this team enters a fourth quarter up by a few points, odds are they find a way to win by three scores.
- Develin rams past the goal line for his second score of the game because the fullback position didn’t hear no bell…
- Lawrence Guy and Trey Flowers man up to absolutely STUFF Latavius Murray a couple yards short on fourth down but the refs call forward progress, I guess? Not sure what they were looking at and, judging by the red flag near Belichick’s feet, I think Bill’s on the same page.
- Anddddddddd the play stands “due to a lack of visual evidence” because, evidently, the officiating crew doesn’t have access to FOX’s broadcast.
- After an abysmal offensive display by the Vikings, the Pats reply “hold my beer” as Brady throws an inexplicable pick on second down. Max Kellerman’s polishing that lavalier mic as we speak…
- Future HOF’er JC Jackson breaks up yet another end zone bid that Duron Harmon cleans up for what should be a nail-in the-coffin interception.
- Jonathon Jones snags Cousins’ second pick of the game and that’s all she wrote…
Postgame (NE: 24 MIN: 10)
- We’re onto Miami…
– Joey Boats (@joey_boats)
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