Patriots

Ravens vs. Bills: Week 14 spread, live stream, playoff picture impact

Ravens vs. Bills: Week 14 spread, live stream, playoff picture impact

The New England Patriots are in two different AFC playoff races -- the fight for the No. 1 seed in the conference and AFC East supremacy -- and Sunday's showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills impacts both of those scenarios.

The Ravens look like the best team in the NFL thanks to quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is the betting favorite for NFL MVP. Many football fans and the media have been reluctant to take the Bills seriously so far given their weak schedule. But it's now time to pay close attention to the Bills, whose convincing road win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving was quite impressive.

Here's everything Patriots fans need to know about the Ravens vs. Bills Week 14 matchup.

When: Sunday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: FuboTV

Odds (via Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas)
Spread
: Ravens -6
Over/under: 44

Playoff Picture Impact
The Ravens enter Week 14 as the No. 1 seed in the AFC as a result of their Week 13 win over the San Francisco 49ers, combined with the Patriots' loss to the Houston Texans. The Ravens and Patriots have identical 10-2 records, but Baltimore owns the head-to-head tiebreaker because of its Week 9 victory over New England. The Patriots need the Ravens to lose at least one more time for the defending champs to take back the No. 1 seed and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. The Bills are the Ravens' toughest test over the final four games of the regular season.

Buffalo is only a game behind New England for first place in the AFC East, which is a surprising scenario this deep into the season. The Patriots currently own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bills as a result of their Week 4 win in Buffalo. Therefore, a Patriots loss and a Bills win in Week 14 would still keep New England atop the division, but it likely would also set up a fascinating Week 16 matchup at Gillette Stadium with first place in the division at stake.

A Bills win over the Ravens throws the AFC playoff race into chaos, which would be a pretty exciting scenario for the final three weeks of the season.

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How Jimmy Garoppolo won his 49ers teammates over soon after Patriots trade: 'It was sick'

How Jimmy Garoppolo won his 49ers teammates over soon after Patriots trade: 'It was sick'

MIAMI -- George Kittle was dressed as a pirate. It was the day before Halloween of his rookie season. He was going to celebrate the holiday as any 24-year-old would. Then, as any 24-year-old would, he peeked down at his phone to check on a notification.

Jimmy Garoppolo had been traded by the Patriots to Kittle's 49ers. He had a new quarterback.

"I said, 'Wow, that's really interesting.' It was cool," Kittle remembered. "Jimmy G. Two Super Bowls. Hell of a leader. It's fun to have someone like that."

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Kittle and other Niners this week remembered the deal that sent Garoppolo to San Francisco and in the process changed the course of the franchise. They couldn't have known exactly what they had then. Garoppolo had only two NFL starts to his name. But now, sitting in front of microphones in Miami in the days leading up to Super Bowl LIV, they couldn't believe their good fortune that Garoppolo landed in their laps. 

The hints that they had something in Garoppolo came early. 

"Honestly, it sounds cliche but it's real, it was at the first practice," said fullback Kyle Juszczyk. "He ran the scout team the first day. And that first period he absolutely diced our defense. You could see it in his footwork, his mechanics, the confidence that he emitted. You could see that this guy was the real deal."

For Kittle, the sign came loud and clear that his offense had a new leader. It came before Garoppolo even made his first throw from under center. 

"It was funny, his first play under center, he has a really good cadence," Kittle said, referring to the quarterback's calls at the line of scrimmage. "He has a good voice for it. Right after he said, 'Hut! Hut! Hike!' for the first time, everyone was like, 'Whoa! Nice!' It was sick."  

"Very authoritative," offensive tackle Joe Staley said of Garoppolo's line-of-scrimmage vocals. The 13-year veteran smiled and added, "He's commanding. Lets you know he's there."

It came together quickly for Garoppolo in his second professional stop. He started five games after being traded, winning all five, and completing 67.4 percent of his passes at a clip of 8.8 yards per attempt. 

He tore his ACL after three games the following season, but rediscovered his 2017 form this season. The Niners went 13-3 with Garoppolo taking the snaps. He completed 69.1 percent of his throws (fourth in the NFL), threw 27 touchdown passes (sixth), and put up an 8.4 yards per attempt figure (third). 

"I didn't really know much, actually," Staley said of Garoppolo's days in New England. "I remember the one game he had in Arizona where he started and did really, really well. But didn't know much. Didn't have much of a reaction [to the trade] either way. Knew everyone was really high on him. 

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"Then he came in here and he really blew me away. In the huddle. All the little nuances of being a quarterback. The command that he had. His quick release. You could definitely tell that he was trained in that Patriots system as far as getting rid of the ball fast, which is awesome for an offensive lineman. He's continued to grow and develop since he's been here. It's been awesome to see him get to this point."

The Niners are back in the Super Bowl after a 4-12 record last season. Back in the Super Bowl with a chance to win one for the first time since January 1995. And thanks in part to Tom Brady continuing to play at an MVP level the season Garoppolo was dealt, thanks to the Patriots holding onto Garoppolo until midseason that year, all it cost the Niners to change everything was a second-round pick.

"I think," Juszczyk said, "we got him for a bargain."

Tom Brady reacts to Dante Scarnecchia's retirement with heartfelt message

Tom Brady reacts to Dante Scarnecchia's retirement with heartfelt message

On Tuesday, longtime New England Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia decided to call it a career.

Several Patriots players bid farewell to the soon-to-be 72-year-old via Instagram, including quarterback Tom Brady.

Brady left a comment on the Patriots' Instagram announcement, commending Scarnecchia's for his unmatched dependability:

Couldn't have been a greater man or coach! What a privilege to play and work with Dante for two decades. The definition of the Patriot Way - consistent and dependable EVERY DAY!!

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Five of the Patriots' six Super Bowl titles came with Scarnecchia coordinating the blocking schemes that protected Brady.

As for who will take on the difficult task of replacing Scar, assistants Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo appear to be the leading candidates.