Patriots

Patriots' defense creates its own kind of masterpiece against Chiefs

Patriots' defense creates its own kind of masterpiece against Chiefs

KANSAS CITY -- Does the Patriots defensive game plan against the Chiefs still rank as brilliant even after Kansas City hung 31 points on them in one half?

Im going with yes. The plan, which featured man-to-man, liberal pressure, double-teaming of Tyreek Hill and corners assigned to Travis Kelce, held the Chiefs back long enough for the Patriots to get the drop on them in the first 30 minutes. 

As with Bill Belichick’s game plans from the 1990 and 2001 Super Bowls, there came a point where the defense was solved and the gig was up. But the time bought by forcing a high-flying offense to crack the code was the difference. 

“They challenged us,” said Patrick Mahones. “They came up and played man. Not a lot of teams have this year. They put people in our face to see how we responded. The first half, we struggled. We couldn’t make anything happen. The second half, I feel like our guys took the challenge and they (Patriots) were doing the same things and we were just winning. You have to find ways to win one-on-one matchups and we found ways in the second half.”

Hill, who had (check stats) 12 catches for 266 yards and four touchdowns against the Patriots in two games was held to one 42-yard catch. 

“They doubled him on like 95 percent of the plays,” said Mahomes. “He made the one play with the deep one. Guys have to step up and I thought guys did. We put points on the board, we found ways to move the ball whenever we needed to. That just comes with how we played all season. Whoever gets their opportunity, they’re out there making plays.”

Because of the Chiefs second-half explosion, this game won’t hang in Belichick’s coaching Louvre, but it was a masterpiece in its own right.

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Why Kyle Van Noy expects Patriots' success to continue despite offseason losses

Why Kyle Van Noy expects Patriots' success to continue despite offseason losses

The New England Patriots have sustained incredible success in recent years despite losing some pretty big names to free agency or trades.

But this offseason seems worse than others ... right? Don't tell that to Kyle Van Noy.

In an interview Tuesday with NFL Network's Willie McGinest, the Patriots linebacker explained why he expects the Patriots to continue that success despite an exodus of notable players and coaches, among them all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski and de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

"(Head coach) Bill (Belichick) does a really good job of the culture being set with the players that have been there for their tenures," Van Noy said, pointing to veteran leaders like Devin McCourty, Dont'a Hightower and, of course, Tom Brady.

"When that culture is set, it doesn't matter, we all have the same goal in mind and that's just to win."

Van Noy is well aware of the roster turnover -- he let out a "Wow, look at that list" -- when shown the lengthy list of ex-Patriots that includes several assistant coaches.

But much like Gregg Popovich's San Antonio Spurs, Brady, Belichick and the Patriots have created a culture of winning that allows them to not only compete but win championships despite significant roster turnover.

It sounds like Van Noy, who's won two Super Bowls since coming to New England in 2016, is fully bought in.

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One study shows Patriots have second-best fans in the NFL

One study shows Patriots have second-best fans in the NFL

Patriots fans aren't tired of winning, and it shows. 

According to one study, the Patriots have the second-best fan base in the NFL. Emory University business professor Michael Lewis conducts the report annually, and has listed the Patriots as No. 2 for the past two years. Lewis's model takes into account fan equity — home box office revenue — social equity and road equity. The study measures social media engagement and revenue as well as home and road attendance. 

In the top tier with the Dallas Cowboys (1) and Patriots are the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. 

Notably, the Pats have some recent history with two of the bottom-feeder fan bases. New England beat the Kansas City Chiefs — the 31st-best fan base — in the AFC Championship. This might be surprising because of Arrowhead Stadium's reputation for being raucous, and Lewis predicts the Chiefs are in a solid position to improve in the rankings: 

"The problem is that the Chiefs lack pricing power and do not have much of a social following (I use Twitter)," the study said. "However, the Chiefs and Browns are probably the best positioned teams to make moves up the charts the next few years."

Also, the Los Angeles Rams — whom the Patriots bested in last year's Super Bowl — rank dead last among fan bases. The recent move from St. Louis and abundance of teams in the area certainly plays a part in the poor following, but Jared Goff and the Rams certainly could've used a few more cheers last February. 

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