Patriots

Deion Sanders believes in Patriots despite Week 9 loss: 'They're still the best'

Deion Sanders believes in Patriots despite Week 9 loss: 'They're still the best'

The New England Patriots lost a game Sunday, and judging by some of the commentary this week, you'd think they were just an above-average team whose time has come and gone.

The Patriots fell to the Baltimore Ravens 37-20 in Week 9 to drop to 8-1 on the season. Yes, the defending Super Bowl champions have only one loss entering their Week 10 bye. 

We've seen this movie before. The Patriots are not immune from suffering a blowout loss, and it's actually happened in most of their Super Bowl-winning seasons.

Hall of Fame defensive back and current NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders isn't buying some of the criticism being flung at the Patriots this week. He still feels they're the league's best team. 

"The Patriots are still the dogs," Sanders said during "NFL Total Access" on Wednesday. "The Patriots have the No. 2 defense, and probably -- I haven't checked the statistics -- probably still the No. 1 offense, or No. 2 or 3. No matter what it is, they're still the best. They just lost a game, man, they didn't lose who they are. They just lost a game. And I'm pretty darn sure they're gonna face the Ravens again, probably in the second round of the playoffs, and there will be adjustments made. I can't wait to see the second matchup."

The Patriots sit atop the AFC standings with an offense that ranks second in points scored and a defense that ranks No. 1 in points allowed.

Do the Pats have weaknesses to address? Of course, and their run defense is among the primary concerns. But it would be foolish to write them off and overreact too much to one loss on the road against a really good opponent.

The Patriots have shown time and time again they are capable of making the necessary adjustments following tough losses, and with two weeks to prepare for the toughest part of its schedule, New England should be an improved team in Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Report: Ex-Patriots WR Danny Amendola to re-sign with Lions

Report: Ex-Patriots WR Danny Amendola to re-sign with Lions

Scratch that Danny Amendola-Patriots reunion.

Peter Schrager of the NFL Network reports the free-agent wide receiver is re-signing with the Detroit Lions, where he spent last season and had 62 catches for 678 yards. Former Pats defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will enter his third season as Lions coach in 2020. 

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The 34-year-old left the Patriots after five seasons to sign with the Miami Dolphins in 2018 and may have burned a bridge or two with Bill Belichick. 

It had been speculated that perhaps bringing in a former reliable Tom Brady receiver might be part of a plan to lure Brady back to New England, with a report in late January that Amendola could come along to wherever Brady lands in free agency, but a Brady-Amendola reunion in Detroit isn't happening, either. 

Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

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Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

There's one big question that New England Patriots are facing this offseason. Who is going to be their starting quarterback in 2020?

For the past 20 seasons, the team hasn't really had questions at the position. It has always been Tom Brady's job. But with the 42-year-old set to hit free agency, the Patriots can't necessarily count on him returning unless they want to pay him what he's worth.

So, now the question for the Patriots becomes, what will life look like if Brady departs?

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On the latest episode of The Next Pats Podcast, which returns for its first episode of the 2020 offseason, Phil Perry is here to explore that question. And really what it all boils down to is what the Patriots are looking for in a potential successor.

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As Perry notes, it's likely to be one of two types of quarterback: The traditional pocket passer or a more mobile athlete in the mold of some of the recent success stories at the position.

Do the Patriots look for the next Brady? Uber-accurate, somebody who's going to sit in the pocket and absolutely dissect every little aspect of the defense that he is looking at. Or, do they go a different route? Do they go with an athlete? Do they get more mobile? Because talking to people this offseason, I'm getting a whiff -- I'm getting a scent that people believe the pocket passer might be dead.

Perry is joined by guests including Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo, Greg Cosell of ESPN and NFL Films, and NFL Network's Kurt Warner to answer questions about Brady's future and what his game has looked like in recent seasons.

For more thoughts about the Patriots offseason, check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast, available as part of the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network.