Patriots

Pats look to break through against top D

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Pats look to break through against top D

We're 13 weeks into the NFL season and the Patriots have the most dominant offense in football. So dominant, in fact, that opposing defensive coordinators might as well just show up to the stadium wearing nipple clamps and a ball gag.

Heading into Monday night's game against the Texans, the Pats are the only team in the NFL that averages more than 30 points a game (and they do so easily, at 35.8). They're the only team with more than 5000 total yards or more than 300 first downs. They're the only team that converts more than 50 percent of its third downs.

For good measure, they're also the only team in the NFL with a single-digit turnover total, one of only two teams that rank in the Top 10 in both passing and rushing yards, and one of only five that's allowed fewer than 20 sacks.

Like I said: DOMINANT. And in every aspect of the game.

But for one second, let's forget about the NFL's top offense and focus on defense.

More specifically, the league's Top 10 defenses:

1. San Francisco, 14.3 point per game
2. Chicago, 16.5
3. Seattle, 16.8
4. Houston, 18.4
5. Atlanta, 19.1
6. Pittsburgh, 19.2
7. Arizona, 19.5
8. Baltimore, 20.2
9. NY Giants, 20.3
10. Denver, 20.3

Notice anything interesting about this list? How about as it relates to the Patriots? Is there anything that sticks out?

Here's what I noticed:

Week 2: The Pats lose 19-17 to the No. 7 ranked Cardinals D.
Week 3: The Pats lose 31-30 to the No. 8 ranked Ravens D.
Week 6: The Pats lose 24-23 to the No. 3 ranked Seahawks D.

On one hand, this serves as another reminder of the ridiculous fact that the Patriots' three losses have come by a combined four points. (Week 2: A missed Gostkowski chip shot; Week 3: A Justin Tucker field goal that probably shouldn't have counted; Week 6: The longest touchdown pass of Russell Wilson's career.)

But it also shows that in four games against Top 10 NFL defenses, the Patriots are a 1-3.

Is that just a coincidence?

With the No. 4 ranked Texans coming in on Monday, we can only hope so.

(And either way, let's pray that Wade Phillips leaves the nipple clamps at home.)

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

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Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

While being away from home isn’t uncommon for the Patriots - just think about all those Super Bowl trips - Tom Brady believes each excursion takes on its own feel, its own flavor and - eventually - its own meaning.

Back in 2014, the Pats went from playing in Green Bay and losing to the Packers straight to San Diego for a week on the West Coast prior to a rousing victory over the Chargers. That week, many players said in the aftermath, helped propel the team to great heights,.  You’ll recall, that season ended in grand fashion, a triumph in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle, at the time - and maybe still - the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

“I think all these experiences are pretty unique,” Brady said Friday from Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy. “That was a very unique experience. This is different.”

Brady spoke about the number of stops the Pats have and will have to make on this trip - from Denver to Colorado Springs then on to Mexico City Saturday before a Sunday night return to Foxboro and their own beds for the first time in 10 nights.

“When you’re on the road like this, there’s less to do,” he said. “You know my family is not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home and now it’s being here and trying to figure out a way to win a game.”

Brady quickly smoothed over any possible ill-will at home - why make Gisele mad? - smiling and saying “I didn’t mean that so I’ll take it back.”

Kidding aside, the 40-year old signal caller seemed pleased with the work the Patriots have put in during this long trip. A week of team-bonding can’t be a bad thing, especially for a group that seems to be hitting it’s stride both on and off the field. There’s the five wins in a row and also a locker room that has a better understanding of one another than it did during the first month of the season. But Brady is not ready to make any grand proclamations. That just wouldn’t be his style.

“I think it’s still work in progress,” he said of team chemistry. “You look at still adding a player like Marty (Bennett) last week. Things are always changing and evolving. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing well and after 8 or 9 weeks, you start to figure those things out. Now we have to work hard at those things, try to really own them, and use them going forward to try and win the most important games. We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one. Hopefully we can play our best football going forward.”

Brady said he’s been fired up for this game with the Raiders south of the border ever since the schedule was released all those months ago.

“I’ve never been to Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been a game you kind of look forward to. We’re playing against a really good football team in a pretty cool environment. It will be very memorable. I think everyone is excited.”

Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

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Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

The Patriots will be without center David Andrews on Sunday when they play the Raiders in Mexico City. Andrews, who hasn’t all practice all week with an illness, is one of four Pats listed as out on the injury report released Friday.

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Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who didn’t play last week against the Broncos is also out, along with wide receiver Chris Hogan and special teams captain Matthew Slater. Offensive linemen Ted Karras and Joe Thuney each took reps at center so one of them will likely start in Andrews’ absence. LaAdrian Waddle filled in for Cannon and performed well last week vs. Denver. 

Here’s the full injury report for the Patriots and Raiders: