Patriots

NFL Rumors: Antonio Brown preparing to play for Patriots vs. Dolphins

NFL Rumors: Antonio Brown preparing to play for Patriots vs. Dolphins

Antonio Brown's legal troubles apparently won't prevent him from playing football this weekend if the New England Patriots deem him fit.

The veteran wide receiver is "preparing to play" Sunday in Miami against the Dolphins despite a civil lawsuit filed against him Tuesday accusing him of rape and sexual assault, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Friday.

"At this point, there's been nothing from the NFL to step in and say, 'Antonio Brown is not allowed to play,' " Rapoport said on NFL Network, noting Brown is not on the NFL commissioner's exempt list.

Discipline still could come for Brown -- his accuser reportedly is set to meet with the NFL next week -- but it appears his case is in a holding pattern that will allow him to play Sunday barring any unexpected developments.

How much the Patriots play him remains unclear. The 31-year-old practiced with the team Wednesday and Thursday but has been in New England less than a week, and the Patriots still could rely on a receiving corps of Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett and Jakobi Meyers if they don't think Brown is up to speed.

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Patriots vs. Eagles live stream: Watch NFL Week 11 game online

Patriots vs. Eagles live stream: Watch NFL Week 11 game online

The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will meet at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday for the most-anticipated NFL game on the Week 11 slate.

Both teams are desperate for a win.

The Patriots have a slim 1-game lead over the Baltimore Ravens in the race for the AFC's No. 1 seed, while the Eagles are tied with the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East race.

This will be the first matchup between these teams since the Eagles beat the Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII back in February of 2018. Both rosters have changed quite a bit since that night in Minnesota, but several of the most pivotal players on both sides are still around, including Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Brady's offense could receive a boost Sunday with the potential pro debut of rookie wide receiver N'Keal Harry. Harry was New England's first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and his addition into the offense should give the Pats another downfield receiving threat who can make tough catches in traffic. The Patriots suffered their first loss of the season to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9, and they've had two weeks to prepare for the Eagles after enjoying a Week 10 bye.

Here’s how and when to watch Patriots vs. Eagles online. Be sure to also watch “Pregame Live” at 1 p.m. ET and “Postgame Live” at 7:30 p.m. ET, all on NBC Sports Boston. Michael Holley, Albert Breer, Tom E. Curran, Phil Perry, Ted Johnson, D.J. Bean and former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel will break down the game from every angle.

When: Sunday, Nov. 17 at 4:25 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: FuboTV

NFL Week 11 picks against the spread>>>

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Patriots have been unusually cold on third downs in recent weeks

Patriots have been unusually cold on third downs in recent weeks

The New England Patriots offense hasn't been quite as sharp in 2019 as it has been in recent seasons. There are quite a few reasons for this. The offensive line is banged-up, the receiving corps is lacking weapons, and the run game hasn't been able to get going.

These problems have definitely played a role in the Patriots offense sputtering, but one underrated area that the team has been struggling in is converting third downs.

On the surface, it doesn't appear that they've been having many issues with this. After all, their percentage of conversions has come close to matching their pace from the past two seasons. Just take a look at the data:

Year Conversions/Attempts Percent
2019 52/131 39.7
2018 82/201 40.8
2017 82/202 40.6

But a deeper dive shows that in recent weeks, the Patriots' third-down conversion percentage has been poor.

According to the "Boston Sports Info" Twitter account, the Patriots have converted just 13 of their last 41 third-down attempts (31.7 percent conversion rate) dating back to their game against the Jets. In that contest, they converted their first four third downs before their struggles began.

If the Patriots can't rectify this issue against the stronger teams and defenses that they will be facing in the next four weeks, this could quickly become a major problem for them. As it stands, their offense has had trouble moving the ball. If third downs continue to be a problem, then the unit's struggles will only intensify.

We'll see if the Patriots were able to improve upon their third-down game plan during the bye week in their game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The game kicks off at 4:25 p.m. ET but you can catch pregame coverage on NBC Sports Boston and the MyTeams app starting at 1 p.m. ET.

Tom E. Curran previews Patriots-Eagles in NFL Week 11>>>

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