Patriots

Report: Patriots sending Jakob Johnson to IR with shoulder injury

Report: Patriots sending Jakob Johnson to IR with shoulder injury

The New England Patriots began the season with two fullbacks. Now they have zero.

The Patriots are expected to place Jakob Johnson on injured reserve with a shoulder injury he suffered Thursday night against the New York Giants, The Boston Globe's Jim McBride reported Friday.

New England promoted Johnson off the practice squad on Sept. 21 after sending starting fullback James Develin to injured reserve. Johnson only saw one offensive touch (a five-yard reception in Week 5) over the next four games, but drew praise from head coach Bill Belichick for his strong work ethic.

The 24-year-old is a native of Stuttgart, Germany, and came to the Patriots via the NFL's International Pathway Program. He's the first player from that program to appear in an NFL game.

New England also was without wide receiver Phillip Dorsett on Thursday night and saw Josh Gordon go down with a knee injury in its 35-14 win.

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Patriots-Eagles Preview/Review: Defense and special teams carry the day

Patriots-Eagles Preview/Review: Defense and special teams carry the day

If you hadn't watched the game, Tom Brady's postgame demeanor might have been a sign that the Patriots lost to the Eagles on Sunday.

But Brady's dour mood notwithstanding, the Pats improved to 9-1 on the season with a 17-10 win, helped largely by strong performances from their defense and special teams.

While the Patriots offense struggled, the defense was back to its dominant ways, with the exception of a 95-yard TD drive from the Eagles.

So what went right and what didn't go as planned?

Click here for Tom E. Curran's Preview/Review from the Patriots' Week 11 victory.>>>>>

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ESPN's FPI gives Patriots better chance to earn AFC's No. 1 seed than you might think

ESPN's FPI gives Patriots better chance to earn AFC's No. 1 seed than you might think

The race for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs should be fascinating over the next few weeks even though only two teams, the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens, are in serious contention for the prize.

The Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles 17-10 on Sunday to improve to an AFC-leading 9-1. The Ravens also earned a Week 11 victory, defeating the Houston Texans with ease in a 41-7 blowout. Baltimore is 8-2, but it holds the tiebreaker with New England as a result of its head-to-head win over the defending Super Bowl champs in Week 9.

So, what are the chances the Patriots stave off the Ravens and win the No. 1 seed?

ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) model actually gives the Patriots have a 72.9 percent chance of getting the top seed. This might surprise you based on the Patriots' upcoming schedule, which is listed below:

Week 12: vs. Dallas Cowboys (NFC East leaders)
Week 13: at Houston Texans (tied for AFC South lead)
Week 14: vs. Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West leaders)

FPI also gives the Patriots a 95.2 percent chance of earning at least the No. 2 seed, and a 28.8 percent chance of winning Super Bowl LIV -- 10 percent higher than the Ravens in second place.

The Patriots didn't earn the No. 1 seed last season and it ultimately didn't cost them as they beat the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime of the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Securing the No. 1 seed obviously would be a huge help to the Patriots because the last visiting team to win a playoff game at Gillette Stadium was the 2012 Ravens. However, the primary goals for the Patriots should be just getting a first-round bye, and more importantly, making the necessary adjustments offensively that will allow Tom Brady and Co. to enter the playoffs with plenty of momentum and confidence.

Updated NFL playoff picture entering Week 12>>>

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