Patriots

19-0 Watch, Vol. 1: Patriots' quest for perfect season begins Thursday

19-0 Watch, Vol. 1: Patriots' quest for perfect season begins Thursday

Are the Patriots going to go 19-0? That looked like a “probably” before training camp and it’s since been demoted to a “maybe.” Either way, the Pats are good enough to do it and it will be on our minds until they lose a game.

So with that in mind, we’ll keep a close watch on the potential perfect campaign, taking into consideration what’s going on with future opponents and whether the Pats end up being as dominant as initially expected. From week to week, we’ll revise expectations for each part of the schedule, with a number between zero and 10 assigned to the chances of the Pats getting upset.

Here’s the first installment:

WEEK 1 VS. CHIEFS

Kansas City is going from a playoff team that’s played it safe to a team trying to transition on the fly. For now, they’re still Alex Smith’s team. 

There’s just too much going for the Pats. They aren’t injured enough for health to tip the scales, plus it’s both a season-opener (of which they’ve won eight straight) and a home game against a non-divisional opponent (of which they’ve won 24 straight).

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as good as Andy Reid’s clock management. 3.4/10

WEEK 2 AT SAINTS

The Pats will have nine days of rest and the Saints, who open with Monday Night Football, will have five. Unless the Pats lose both quarterbacks against the Chiefs, the Saints should be easy prey. That defense stinks.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as bad as that mean man I encountered in New Orleans who tricked -- nay, intimidated -- me into giving him $20 for what he said was a free shoe shine. 2.0/10

WEEK 3 VS. TEXANS

The Texans will be better-rested than the Pats, as they’ll be coming off a Thursday game in Week 2. They’ll presumably be 1-1 or 2-0 given that they face the Jaguars and Bengals in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, but say they’re upset by the Jags in the opener and then stumble on short rest. Is there any possibility in which they would use the extra time ahead of Week 3 to switch from Tom Savage to Deshaun Watson? Would that be cruel of Bill O’Brien?

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as good as that little blurb I just wrote about an unlikely hypothetical quarterback situation was interesting. 3.6/10

WEEK 4 VS. PANTHERS

This game might be the Panthers’ first real challenge of the season after opening with games against the 49ers, Bills and Saints. The questions about the Patriots’ pass rush may be mounting by then, but it’s unlikely the questions about the Panthers’ offensive line will have gone away.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as bad as that stupid Fresh Prince thing the Panthers did on Twitter. 2.9/10

WEEK 5 AT BUCCANEERS

The Bucs are the darlings of season previews. Season previews love The Next Step™ and that’s what people see taking place in Tampa.

This will be Doug Martin’s second game back from suspension, but who cares about Doug Martin? He stinks. This team is all about Jameis Winston, who is really good, but he throws a lot of picks (second in the league with 18 last season). Know who eats up teams prone to turnovers? Everyone, but especially Bill Belichick.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as low as we'll all feel when the Bucs don't take The Next Step™. 2.1/10

WEEK 6 AT JETS

Lmao the Jets stink.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: nonexistent. 0/10

WEEK 7 VS. FALCONS

All the ingredients for the Super Bowl hangover are there, which is compounded by the loss of Kyle Shanahan, but this is still a monster of an offense. Never underestimate a team that’s been embarrassed.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: at least better than the chances of a 25-point comeback. Don’t rule it out. 4.4/10

WEEK 8 VS. CHARGERS

Two keys to a potential upset for LA: Philip Rivers avoiding turnovers and Joey Bosa getting after Tom Brady like a mad man. The Chargers can only hope that Mike Williams will be on the field and will have hit his stride, but he’ll have to deal with either Malcolm Butler or Stephon Gilmore.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: a tad better than you probably think, but still outrageously small. 2.8/10

WEEK 10 AT BRONCOS

Who knows who will be under center for Denver come Week 10? I bet he’s not very good.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as good as the Broncos’ chances of having a good quarterback. 3.6/10

WEEK 11 AT RAIDERS (MEXICO CITY)

This is one to watch. Pretty good opponent, unusual setting, Marshawn Lynch playing football in 2017. There’s a lot of variables here. It should scare you.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: perhaps as big as they’ll be all season. 4.9/10

WEEK 12 VS. DOLPHINS

The Dolphins won’t be a 4-12 team. They’ll be fine with Jay Cutler, but great beats fine every time.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as real as Cutler’s broadcasting career. 2.2/10

WEEK 13 AT BILLS

Is this the year Sammy Watkins stays healthy and takes over the league? If it is, he’ll be doing it with the Rams while the Bills hope Zay Jones turns into a star.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as high as the chances of the Bills freeing Anquan Boldin so he can sign with the Patriots. 1.4/10

WEEK 14 AT DOLPHINS

Sometimes, the Patriots lose games in Miami. All the time, Jay Cutler sucks against the Patriots.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: low, yabish. 3.8/10

WEEK 15 AT STEELERS

The Steelers will be playing for more than the Pats will at this point, as New England will almost surely have the AFC East sewn up, while the Steelers might still be jockeying for position with the Bengals and Ravens. This might be one where the Patriots’ actual desire to have a perfect regular season (they’ll act like they’re not focused on it) is tested.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as real as Zolak’s voice in Mike Tomlin’s headset. 4.8/10

WEEK 16 VS. BILLS

LeSean McCoy might be battling for the league lead in rushing yards by this point, but the Bills sure as heck won’t be fighting for a playoff spot. They won’t have much to play for; the Patriots could rest Brady and still win.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as high as Steve Hauschka at a baseball game. (Steve Hauschka is by all accounts a model citizen with no history of drugs, nor has he ever gotten in trouble at a baseball game.) 1.2/10

WEEK 17 VS. JETS

Lmao the Jets stink. Plus the No. 1 overall pick could be on the line for them in this game.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: The most nonexistent. -10/10

Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended game for shoving official

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Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended game for shoving official

NEW YORK - Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.

Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.

The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:

"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."

Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills.

Lynch finished the game with two carries for 9 yards.

The Raiders rallied to win 31-30 on a touchdown pass by Carr on the final play, and Lynch was in the locker room after the game congratulating his teammates.

Lynch came out of retirement this season and was traded from Seattle to the Raiders. Lynch said he wanted to make a comeback so he could give something back to his hometown of Oakland before the Raiders move to Las Vegas in 2020.

Lynch has rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns in seven games.

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