Patriots

Report: Antonio Brown may face criminal charges in 'next few weeks'

Report: Antonio Brown may face criminal charges in 'next few weeks'

A civil lawsuit may not be the only case on the plate of Antonio Brown's lawyer this fall.

Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko published a report Monday revealing new allegations of Brown's sexual misconduct in addition to several other incidents involving the New England Patriots wide receiver.

In an interview Tuesday on WEEI's "Dale & Keefe," Klemko suggested Brown could face criminal charges stemming from those incidents in the near future.

"We did hear over the course of the reporting that there were a couple people considering criminal charges against Antonio Brown," Klemko said. "We weren’t able to report on any of those specifically because they haven’t gathered all of their evidence and made the filings and all that. I think that is going to be coming in the next few weeks."

Klemko didn't name the specific incidents that could result in criminal charges against Brown. But Klemko reported several instances of Brown refusing to pay employees he's hired, and it's possible that could result in legal action.

"(Brown) has a history of hiring people to do a job and then creating some sort of division when the pay is due and then not paying," Klemko said. "At some point, that becomes illegal."

The only active case against Brown is the civil lawsuit his former trainer, Britney Taylor, filed accusing him of rape and sexual assault. Taylor reportedly met with the NFL for 10 hours Monday as it considers discipline for the receiver, but keep an eye out for more charges Brown could face this fall.

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NFL playoff picture: Three likely scenarios for Patriots on Super Bowl LIV path

NFL playoff picture: Three likely scenarios for Patriots on Super Bowl LIV path

The New England Patriots' chances of earning the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs took a massive hit with Sunday's Week 14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, but the defending Super Bowl champions still control their own destiny when it comes to securing a first-round bye.

All the Patriots have to do is win their final three games and they'll lock up the No. 2 seed, assuming the No. 1 seed Baltimore Ravens don't have a complete meltdown over the next 21 days. ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) gives the Ravens a 96 percent chance of securing homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

So, assuming the Patriots win their final three games of the season and earn the No. 2 seed as AFC East champs, here are three of the most likely playoff scenarios confronting them.

Scenario #1
Divisional Round
: vs. Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Championship Game: at Baltimore Ravens

The Chiefs are the No. 3 seed and should stay in that spot through the end of the regular season. ESPN's FPI projects the Chiefs to finish 11-5, or one game ahead of the Houston Texans for the No. 3 seed. Kansas City, as the No. 3 seed, likely would play the Pittsburgh Steelers or Tennesee Titans at home on Wild Card Weekend. The Chiefs would be favored over both of those teams, and even though they lost 35-32 to the Titans in Week 10, it's hard to imagine Tennessee beating KC again (and at Arrowhead Stadium).

If the No. 3 seed wins on the first playoff weekend, that team automatically would go to Foxboro for the Divisional Round. The Patriots would need to earn their third playoff win versus the Chiefs since 2015 to set up another rematch in the AFC Championship Game versus the Ravens.

Scenario #2
Divisional Round
: vs. Houston Texans
AFC Championship Game: at Baltimore Ravens

The Chiefs are no lock for the No. 3 seed. Kansas City should win its final three games (home to Denver Broncos, at Chicago Bears, home to Los Angeles Chargers), but if the Chiefs slip up at all and the Texans or Titans finish with the same record as them, the AFC South winner would take the No. 3 seed. How so? Well, the Titans and Texans both beat the Chiefs earlier this season, so they own the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The Texans did beat the Patriots 28-22 at NRG Stadium in Week 13, but Houston is an easier opponent for New England than Kansas City. The Texans, compared to the Chiefs, have less playoff experience and are by most accounts not as elite at both quarterback and head coach. The Texans have also never won at GIllette Stadium. Houston is 0-7 versus New England on the road since the two franchises first played in the 2003 season. The Texans also play in a stadium with a roof and would be more susceptible to being negatively impacted by any frigid/snowy January weather conditions in Foxboro.

Scenario #3
Divisional Round
: vs. Houston Texans
AFC Championship Game: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The most likely best-case scenario for the Patriots would be the Texans coming to Gillette Stadium for the Divisional Round, combined with the Chiefs beating the Ravens in their Divisional Round matchup. The Chiefs actually are the only team to beat both the Patriots and Ravens in 2019.

This scenario would set up, assuming the Patriots beat the Texans, another New England-Kansas City showdown in the AFC title game. The Patriots beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in last season's conference title game, but this matchup would be in Foxboro, and New England is 7-1 all-time (6-1 in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era) in AFC title games played at home.

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NFL odds Week 15: Opening spread for Patriots vs. Bengals game revealed

NFL odds Week 15: Opening spread for Patriots vs. Bengals game revealed

The hard part of the New England Patriots' 2019 regular season schedule is over, and now they finish up with three very winnable games.

The final road game of the regular season for the Patriots is Sunday afternoon against the Cincinnati Bengals, and as expected, oddsmakers like the defending Super Bowl champions to cruise to an easy win.

New England is 9.5-point favorites over Cincinnati in the opening odds for Week 15, according to the betting lines at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. It's a pretty large spread given the Patriots' struggles offensively, which continued Sunday in a 23-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots typically are a smart bet against the spread each season, but their ATS record in 2019 is a mediocre 7-6. The Bengals are 5-7-1 ATS but 1-4-1 at home. 

New England still has a lot to play for over the final three weeks of the season. The Patriots are unlikely to reclaim the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff race, but they still control their own destiny in the battle for the No. 2 seed and the playoff bye that comes with it. New England's margin for error is pretty slim, though, as it leads the Chiefs by only one game for second place in the conference. 

The Bengals, meanwhile, would be better served losing to the Patriots and thus increasing their odds at landing the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Cincinnati enters Sunday with a league-worst 1-12 record.

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