Patriots

Do Patriots have a legitimate chance to break 2007 team's lofty record?

Do Patriots have a legitimate chance to break 2007 team's lofty record?

It might be too early to begin the 2007 comparisons. But the New England Patriots are compiling a sample size that's becoming increasingly hard to ignore.

The Patriots improved to 6-0 on Thursday night with a 35-14 win over the New York Giants. That 21-point victory means they've now outscored their opponents by a combined 142 points.

Not only is that the highest point differential in the league by 72 points (the San Francisco 49ers are second with a plus-70 point differential), it's also on pace to be the highest single-season point differential in NFL history.

The 2007 Patriots fittingly hold the current record, outscoring opponents by 315 points (an average of 19.7 points per game) during their famed 16-0 regular season.

But the 2019 Patriots are outscoring opponents by a whopping 23.7 points per game, putting them on pace for a plus-379 point differential.

Now for the caveat: That pace won't be easy to sustain. New England has faced just one team with more than two wins to date (the 4-1 Buffalo Bills) and beaten up on four clubs with either one or zero wins.

The Patriots' second-half schedule, meanwhile, features matchups against four current division leaders -- the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles -- in addition to two more teams over .500 in the Bills and Dallas Cowboys.

It's hard to fathom New England winning by 20 points every game against the likes of the Chiefs, Ravens and Eagles.

That said: The Patriots' next two opponents are the lowly New York Jets and inconsistent Cleveland Browns, so there's a good chance they continue at their record clip through the end of October at the least.

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Will Antonio Brown play again in 2019? Ex-Patriot reportedly is optimistic

Will Antonio Brown play again in 2019? Ex-Patriot reportedly is optimistic

Remember when Antonio Brown insisted he was "done" with the NFL? Well, he's already had a change of heart.

The former New England Patriots wide receiver not only wants to play again, but remains "hopeful" the NFL will make a decision regarding his playing status "very soon," ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio reported Tuesday.

"There’s a sense of optimism from Brown’s perspective that he will be cleared to return to the NFL before the 2019 regular season ends," Florio wrote.

Brown met with the NFL last Thursday to discuss allegations of rape and sexual assault made against him. The league is still conducting an investigation into those allegations, but if that investigation is completed, the free-agent wide receiver can sign with any club, although he could be subject to further discipline upon his return.

Brown's optimism may explain why he issued a public apology to Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Tuesday via social media. Quarterback Tom Brady and wideout Julian Edelman were among several Patriots to "like" Brown's post on Instagram, fueling speculation he may re-sign with New England after playing one game for the team earlier this season.

Florio also noted the Seattle Seahawks reportedly have "flirted" with signing Brown, which would team him up with fellow Patriots cast-off Josh Gordon.

That's all speculation at the moment, though, as Brown remains in a holding pattern until the NFL makes a decision about his allegations. Brown seemingly hopes that holding pattern ends with six weeks left in the regular season.

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How Bill Belichick, Patriots guarded against another 'Miami Miracle' vs. Eagles

How Bill Belichick, Patriots guarded against another 'Miami Miracle' vs. Eagles

As Matt Cassel wrote in a recent column for NBC Sports Boston, Bill Belichick "doesn't forget anything" -- especially plays that hurt his team.

Case in point: The Patriots head coach joined Scott Zolak for a film breakdown of New England's 17-10 win over the Eagles, and one of the plays they discussed was Philadelphia's Hail Mary attempt on the final play of the game.

And what was the first thing Belichick brought up while dissecting that play? The "Miami Miracle," of course.

"We had the play last year against Miami where they caught it and pitched it and all that," Belichick told Zolak in the video below. "So, that's a possibility here. Another possibility is they try to throw the ball 60 yards down to the end zone. So, we've really got to be ready to defend both plays."

(Skip to the 6:55 mark of the video for this segment.)

On that heart-breaking final play against the Dolphins, the Patriots allowed Miami to complete an easy short pass and lateral its way down the field for a stunning game-winning touchdown.

But Belichick learned his lesson from that game.

With the ball on Philly's 42-yard line, the Patriots had safety Terrence Brooks step up and defend against that short pass while the rest of the secondary dropped back in prevent defense.

The Eagles sent all of their pass-catchers toward the end zone for a more traditional Hail Mary, but Belichick had both of his bases covered, with help from Brooks.

As Wentz stepped up in the pocket, Brooks applied pressure on the Eagles QB, preventing him from getting maximum power on his throw.

"He ends up throwing and falling backward," Belichick said of Wentz. "He just can't get the ball to the end zone. That's a big key for us here. Brooks did a great job on this of staying in front of Wentz, not letting him step up in the pocket, no roughing the passer, and the ball only travels to the 5-yard line."

The result was an incomplete pass that sealed Belichick's 394th win as an NFL head coach. You don't have that much success without paying attention to every detail -- and remembering what caused every loss.

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE TO TOM E. CURRAN'S PATRIOTS TALK PODCAST:

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