Patriots

Patriots move back into AFC's No. 2 seed with Steelers loss

Patriots move back into AFC's No. 2 seed with Steelers loss

The Steelers' upset loss at Mile High early Sunday evening worked out to New England's favor, sliding the Patriots back into the No. 2 seed in the AFC.

At 8-3 the Patriots stand one game behind the Kansas City Chiefs, of whom they own the head-to-head matchup over, and a half-game over the Houston Texans, who play the Tennessee Titans on Monday night.

Of the Patriots, Steelers and Texans, Pittsburgh has the toughest schedule the rest of the way. Three of the Steelers' final five opponents have at least eight wins on the year (Chargers, Patriots, Saints), while the Patriots and Texans' final five opponents both have a combined record under .500.

Here's how the playoff picture looks after Sunday's games:

AFC SEEDS
1. Kansas City 9-2
2. New England 8-3
3. Houston 7-3
4. Pittsburgh 7-3-1
5. LA Chargers 8-3
6. Baltimore 6-5

IN THE HUNT
Indianapolis 6-5
Tennessee 5-5
Miami 5-6
Cincinnati 5-6
Denver 5-6

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Former Patriots offensive lineman Mitch Petrus dies at 32

Former Patriots offensive lineman Mitch Petrus dies at 32

Former New England Patriots guard Mitch Petrus died on Thursday night in Arkansas as a result of a heat-related illness, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Petrus was 32 years old.

Petrus had a brief stint with the Patriots during the 2012 season. In mid-November of that season, he was signed to provide depth on the offensive line after Logan Mankins and Dan Connolly suffered injuries. He appeared in two games for the squad and served mostly as a depth before being waived by the team in December. That season was Petrus' last in the NFL.

Petrus was drafted by the New York Giants in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft after playing collegiately at Arkansas and showcasing his excellent strength in the pre-draft process. Petrus put up 45 reps of 225 pounds at the NFL Combine. At the time, it was tied for second-most all-time and currently stands as the third-most in combine history.

In Petrus' second year in the league, he started a career-high three games for the Giants and was a part of their roster for the whole season. He was active for the Giants' four postseason games including the team's 21-17 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl 46.

Romo breaks down Bill Belichick's coaching genius>>>

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Tony Romo offers insightful take on Bill Belichick's coaching genius

Tony Romo offers insightful take on Bill Belichick's coaching genius

As a longtime Dallas Cowboys quarterback-turned-lead analyst for CBS, Tony Romo has encountered plenty of knowledgable players and coaches.

But if you ask Romo, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is in a class of his own.

"From a football mind standpoint, I really don’t know that I have met anybody really that close," Romo said Wednesday in an interview with Dallas' 105.3 The Fan. "He’s rare."

So, what makes Belichick different? For one, the Patriots coach is always at least a step ahead ... in some cases a step ahead of being a step ahead.

"Everyone says he’s going to take away what you do best," Romo said. "They think he’s going to double-team the opponent's best player. I’m like, ‘No, you have to understand, he’s taking away the inside run, while he’s taking away the inside receivers -- Antonio Brown or someone.' 

"It’s like, they know he’s going to take away Antonio Brown, but he takes away multiple things and he does it differently the next time he plays you from different looks."

Most importantly, Belichick isn't afraid to experiment with new schemes and personnel packages, making it extremely difficult for teams to game-plan against New England.

"He genuinely is not scared to go outside the box," Romo said. "And I find in the NFL very few teams vary from what they do. So, what he does then is he drafts people that he believes can adapt from week-to-week."

In Romo's eyes, Belichick's masterpiece was Super Bowl LIII, where he and linebackers coach Brian Flores helped limit the explosive Los Angeles Rams to three points.

"(That was) one of the greatest defensive performances I have ever seen in football," Romo said.

This is all coming from a guy who played Belichick's Patriots just twice in his career (and lost both times), so the legendary coach clearly knows how to make a lasting impression.

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