Patriots

The Patriots can run the table; they might need to

The Patriots can run the table; they might need to

It wasn't long ago that the 1-2 Patriots looked unrecognizable from the dominant Brady and Belichick teams of the last two decades. Now they're well-positioned to run the table and go 14-2.

It isn't the sexiest note because regular-season records have proven to not be necessarily indicative of an impending title, but think about what we were saying going into the Dolphins game in Week 4. Even if you thought the Pats would win, we were still having a discussion as to whether the Patriots were capable of beating the freaking Dolphins in a kind of important game.

Skip ahead to present day and Sunday night's win over the Packers wasn't just a test of Brady vs. Rodgers, but a test of whether there was anything left on New England's schedule to give them a third or fourth loss. The money here -- from the guy whose 19-0 watch season was admittedly a bit premature -- is on them winning out. 

It's a fascinating case because this still doesn't feel like one of the better teams of the Belichick era, yet they've "only" reached 14 wins five times in the Belichick era. Of course, the 2010 Patriots (Rex Ryan couldn't wait to mock them), proved that you can finish 14-2 and still be a paper tiger. 

With that said, the Patriots -- with their questions about Rob Gronkowski's health among other concerns -- should be gunning for the No. 1 seed, which the 8-1 Chiefs currently possess. The Pats narrowly beat the Chiefs in their Week 6 shootout at Gillette, so changing the location for an AFC Championship would be suboptimal. 

Here's New England's remaining schedule: 

@ Tennessee

BYE

@ Jets

Home vs. Minnesota

@ Miami

@ Pittsburgh

Home vs. Buffalo 

Home vs. Jets

There's two toughies in there over the course of a three-week stretch (Vikings and Steelers). The Steelers are beatable at home or on the road, but they're still one of what, four teams in the AFC that should be taken seriously? 

The bigger threat might be the Vikings, who, outside of a hilarious Week 3 loss to the Bills at home, have enjoyed a promising start to the Kirk Cousins era, especially on the road. 

They've beaten the Packers (which is looking less and less special) in Green Bay, beaten the Eagles in Philly and played the Rams close in LA. By the time they hit Gillette in Week 13, they could also have a road win over the Bears under their belt. 

There's also the threat of the surprising late-season-loss-to-a-nobody-team that's happened over the years, but this season's team should figure to avoid any and all complacency given how wonky a start it had. Also, it's just really hard to imagine the Jets doing anything. Sam Darnold might do a butt interception. 

The end result could very well be a 14-2 team that still has questions on defense and may or may not have a real running back. Home field aside, you should root for it just to see every other football fan lose their mind at a potentially down year for the Patriots ending with a fantastic record and a No. 1 seed. 

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Patriots' Stephon Gilmore one of many NFL stars in powerful 'Black Lives Matter' video

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Patriots' Stephon Gilmore one of many NFL stars in powerful 'Black Lives Matter' video

Several of the NFL's biggest stars are stepping up to speak out against systemic racism and the racial injustices that once again have come to light in the wake of George Floyd's murder.

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore joined up with the New York Giants' Saquon Barkley, Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, Cleveland Browns' Odell Beckham Jr., Arizona Cardinals' DeAndre Hopkins and a number of other high-profile black players to put together a powerful video on Thursday.

In the video, the players reveal what they would like to hear the NFL state about the racial injustices that continue to plague the country.

Watch below:

Hopefully, the league and its fans will hear their message loud and clear.

McCourty twins address Drew Brees' controversial comments, whether they forgive Saints QB

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McCourty twins address Drew Brees' controversial comments, whether they forgive Saints QB

Drew Brees has taken plenty of heat lately due to the comments he made about players "disrespecting the American flag" by kneeling during the national anthem.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback was asked during an interview with Yahoo! Finance about players kneeling during the anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in America. Brees answered, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country."

It didn't take long for the veteran QB to get backlash for those insensitive remarks. A number of Brees' NFL peers, including both Devin and Jason McCourty of the New England Patriots, scolded him for his comments.

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On Thursday, the McCourty twins delved deeper into the subject on a special edition of their Double Coverage podcast titled "Bridge To Action." Following an enlightening interview with former FBI special agent M. Quentin Williams, which you can watch below, the McCourtys addressed the Brees situation. 

"Everybody's been in an uproar over Drew Brees' comments, and obviously we've responded on Twitter," said Jason McCourty. "Somebody had asked earlier, 'do we forgive him?' and I don't think any of this thing is about forgiveness. It's not about Drew Brees, it's not about Jason or Devin McCourty, it's about realizing, 'Alright, here's an issue and we need to find a solution for that issue.' Like, you don't have an issue with Drew Brees when he makes those statements. You have an issue with that train of thought, and that thought is what we're trying to move away from.

"So as soon as anyone who has that thought is willing to dive in and learn, and open up dialogue to talk about -- because I think sometimes we subconsciously have thoughts that we don't know we have, and then we say some things that we may have to take some time to go back and self-reflect ... Maybe I need to look inwardly and see like, 'Hey, maybe I'm not looking at this thing the right way. And I think when we're able to do that, there's no animosity or hostility toward anyone because that's not what we're trying to do. It's about there's an issue, and we want to fix this issue."

Devin McCourty doubled down on what his brother had to say and mentioned that he doesn't have anything against Brees. Rather, he hopes this will help the 41-year-old and others like him look at the situation from a different perspective.

"It's not about forgiving or hating," said Devin. "Like, I've never hated Drew Brees. I don't even know Drew Brees. So it was never about that. It was just, how can we get people to now not look through those lenses. And he's a guy who if he doesn't look through those lenses, he can get a lot of other people to feel the same way. So hopefully some good turns out from that."

Brees has since issued an apology for his comments, saying they "lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy."

Beyond the McCourty twins' comments on Brees, their interview with Williams is well worth the watch. Williams is the founder and CEO of the non-profit organization Dedication to Community, whose mission is to "empower individuals and communities to achieve their business and societal goals through the spirit of entrepreneurial enterprise and community advocacy. The McCourtys and Williams had a mindful conversation about the recent killings of unarmed black men, the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color, and the next steps to implementing positive change in the United States.