Patriots

Patriots' loss to Texans ended insane streak for Bill Belichick, Nick Saban

Patriots' loss to Texans ended insane streak for Bill Belichick, Nick Saban

A New England Patriots loss under Bill Belichick is a rare sight. An Alabama loss under Nick Saban is even more rare.

Both Belichick and Saban losing in a span of just over 24 hours? That's like hell freezing over.

Well, hell froze over this weekend.

The day after Saban's Crimson Tide lost 48-45 to archrival Auburn in the Iron Bowl, Belichick's Patriots fell 28-22 to the Houston Texans, dropping both teams' records to 10-2 on the season.

The last time Alabama and New England both lost on the same weekend? That'd be over eight years ago.

Saban's Alabama squad lost to top-seeded LSU on Nov. 5, 2011, despite future Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower tallying seven tackles for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama exacted revenge on LSU by defeating them in the BCS Championship Game, which is more than the 2011 Patriots can say: That team lost 24-20 to the Giants on Nov. 6, 2011, only to lose to New York again in Super Bowl XLVI.

Speaking of championships: Alabama's loss Saturday might be good for Belichick's Patriots if you believe in omens.

Either New England or Alabama has won their respective championship for six consecutive years, but they've never overlapped titles in that span.

Alabama's loss Saturday all but guarantees the Tide won't reach the College Football Playoff, meaning it will be up to Belichick and the 2019 Patriots to keep the streak alive.

If New England falls short? Belichick and Saban fans can drown their sorrows by watching the two coaching legends in the same room.

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Patriots vs. Bengals Injury Report: Julian Edelman misses practice, Tom Brady limited

Patriots vs. Bengals Injury Report: Julian Edelman misses practice, Tom Brady limited

The New England Patriots had several important players on their Wednesday injury report.

Veteran wide receiver Julian Edelman was the only Patriots player who didn't practice. He's nursing knee/shoulder injuries. The Athletic's Jeff Howe reported Edelman's absence was for "load management." Edelman wasn't the only wideout listed -- N'Keal Harry (hip) was a full participant and Mohamed Sanu (ankle) was limited.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was a full practice participant but is listed on the injury report with a right elbow issue. He anticipated this scenario during his press conference after Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. 

New England's Week 15 opponent is the Cincinnati Bengals, who have seven players on their injury report ahead of Sunday's matchup at Paul Brown Stadium. Three of quarterback Andy Dalton's top weapons on offense -- wide receivers John Ross III (limited) and A.J. Green (did not practice), and tight end Tyler Eifert (limited) -- are listed. Injuries to key players is among the many reasons why the Bengals have a league-worst 1-12 record.

Here are the first Week 15 injury reports for both teams.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-3)

DID NOT PRACTICE
Julian Edelman, WR, Knee/Shoulder

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
JaWhaun Bentley, LB, Knee
Byron Cowart, DL, Concussion
Ted Karras, OL, Knee
Jason McCourty, CB, Groin
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Ankle
Danny Shelton, DL, Shoulder

FULL PARTICIPATION
Tom Brady, QB, RIght Elbow
N'Keal Harry, WR, Hip

CINCINNATI BENGALS (1-12)

DID NOT PRACTICE
Geno Atkins, DT, Non-injury related
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Non-injury related
A.J. Green, WR, Ankle

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
Tyler Eifert, TE, Non-injury related
Sam Hubbard, DE, Knee
John Ross III, WR, Foot
Renell Wren, DT, Hip

Pats sign trick-shot kicker to practice squad>>>

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Matt Cassel: How Bill Belichick will handle 'Spygate 2.0' behind the scenes

Matt Cassel: How Bill Belichick will handle 'Spygate 2.0' behind the scenes

When “Spygate” originally went down, we as New England Patriots players were unaware of anything that was going on. 

The story became national news pretty quickly. You'd turn on the television and hear everyone calling us cheaters and saying, “This is the reason why they’ve accomplished what they’ve accomplished.” 

It was so blown out of proportion, and it was all speculation at that point.

We were going into our second week of the 2007 season, and Bill Belichick addressed the team to discuss the elephant in the room.

He said, “Look, this is what’s going on, but it’s nothing you guys need to be concerned with. It’s a league issue, and you guys have nothing to do with it."

It was a general statement just notifying the team: "You’re going to be asked about it. I’ll handle the questioning on it."

The fact of the matter was, he wanted to get back to status quo. He reminded us that we had a game that week, and that we had to focus on that.

After that, it was business as usual. “Spygate” wasn’t this overarching theme he addressed constantly throughout the week. Once he said his peace in that first meeting, we were on to the San Diego Chargers (our next opponent), and then the week proceeded as usual.

I think this week's circumstances are completely different from when that development first broke in 2007. 

The players and football staff have no understanding of anything the production team is doing. ... We never saw those guys.

This situation is something in which the film crew for the Patriots' in-house production team was doing their show, "Do Your Job," on an individual scout.

The players and football staff have no understanding of anything the production team is doing on week-to-week basis. We never saw those guys unless they requested an interview with us like any other media outlet.

They weren’t at practice, they were never in meetings. There’s just no communication between them and the players and coaching staff, unless they're doing a story on one of us.

So, this is outside even the realm of football, really.

It's a mishap by the Patriots' production group in that they forgot or didn't acknowledge the rules, and because of the history, everybody immediately draws the conclusion that Bill had something to do with it and this team is somehow benefiting from this. 

That's false -- especially when you're talking about the Cincinnati Bengals, who have won one game all year. That's what makes it more comical when you consider the circumstances.

My guess is Bill won't make more than one quick statement to the team about this.

He'll say, “Look, none of you guys have anything to do with it. Even as a team and a coaching staff, we have nothing to do with this. You let me address it in the media, and if you don’t have any common knowledge of it -- which none of us do -- then there’s really no reason to comment on it.” 

That’s it. Then it’s back to business, back to the work week and back to getting ready for the Bengals. I don’t think it will be brought up any more than that.

Editor's note: Matt Cassel had a 14-year NFL career that included four seasons with the New England Patriots (2005-2008). He's joining the NBC Sports Boston team for this season. You can find him on game days as part of our Pregame Live and Postgame Live coverage, as well as every week on Tom E. Curran’s Patriots Talk podcast and NBCSportsBoston.com.

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