Patriots

Look out, here come the Steelers?

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Look out, here come the Steelers?

Five weeks ago, the Patriots came into Detroit and got zone-blocked virtually all the way to Ann Arbor in a Sunday Night Football loss to the Lions, and with it came the lamentations we’ve seen attached to so many slow September starts.

And seemingly on cue, New England has taken a torch to those prognostications – again – winners of five straight headed into tonight’s SNF battle with Green Bay and the uber-talented Aaron Rodgers.

But while they’re seemingly on their way to sewing up yet another AFC East title – with losses today, Buffalo and the New York Jets are virtually out of it – the Patriots could potentially have a lot to lose tonight with a Packers win.

The Steelers, with a 23-16 win over their archrival Baltimore Ravens this afternoon, are suddenly sitting nice at 5-2-1, with potential to leap-frog New England for the No. 2 seed in the AFC tonight. Kansas City, despite the loss to New England in that epic SNF clash last month, would be up by at least a game for home-field advantage regardless of tonight’s outcome. 

Are the Steelers a concern? Are the Patriots truly staring at their first wild-card round appearance since 2009?

Here’s how the AFC playoff race is shaping up headed into tonight’s game:

**1. Kansas City 8-1
*2. New England 6-2
3. Pittsburgh 5-2-1
4. Houston 5-3
5. LA Chargers 6-2
6. Cincinnati 5-3
**Home field advantage
*First-round bye

In the Hunt:
Miami 5-4
Baltimore 4-5
Tennessee 3-4

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LSU tight end admits to being 'kinda scared' in meeting with Patriots

LSU tight end admits to being 'kinda scared' in meeting with Patriots

The New England Patriots don't fool around.

They are all about winning and will work harder than anyone else to make sure those objectives are met. These elite levels of dedication and preparation are among the reasons why the Patriots have enjoiyed an unprecedented run of success for the last 20 years, which includes six Super Bowl championships.

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This worth ethic was not lost on LSU tight end Stephen Sullivan, who admitted to being "kinda scared" meeting with the Patriots at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week.

Tight end is among the primary needs for the Patriots, and Sullivan is one of the top 10 players at the position in this draft class. 

Sullivan tallied 12 receptions for 130 yards in six games for the undefeated and national champion Tigers last season. He also impressed at the combine by running the second-fastest 40 time of all the tight ends. 

Sullivan's speed and size (6-foot-5 and 248 pounds) make him an intriguing target for teams in need of a tight end. He's likely to be drafted on Day 3, which is when rounds four through seven take place.

He's not the only tight end who the Patriots made an impression on this week. Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney revealed the Patriots said one of his answers in an interview with the team was a "loser's mentality."

Whether it's Sullivan, Pinkney or someone else, it wouldn't be surprising if the Patriots select at least one tight end in April's draft. They need much better offensive production from their tight ends than what they received in the 2019 season.

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Report: Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu needs surgery on injured left ankle

Report: Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu needs surgery on injured left ankle

With only a couple of weeks until the NFL's free agent frenzy begins, the Patriots offense is dealing with even more uncertainty heading into the 2020 season.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu needs surgery on a high ankle sprain that has not healed properly this offseason.

Sanu suffered the injury on a punt return in Week 11 against the Eagles, and even though he was only sidelined for one game, the ankle severely limited his production down the stretch last season.

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After racking up 10 receptions (on 14 targets) for 81 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens in Week 10, Sanu only totaled 15 catches (on 33 targets) for 114 yards and no touchdowns over New England's final seven games, including a Wild Card loss to the Titans — not the type of production the Patriots were counting on when they sent a second-round pick to the Falcons in exchange for Sanu.

It remains to be seen if the uncertainty surrounding Sanu affects the team's offseason plans at wide receiver. Right now, only Sanu, Julian Edelman, N'Keal Harry, and Jakobi Meyers are under contract for the 2020 season, with Phillip Dorsett entering free agency and reportedly already attracting outside interest.

Sanu will earn $6.5 million in 2020, the final year of his contract.