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prensaestatal.com Enero 21, 2018


Sputtering Patriots' offense should have different look in playoffs

13 Enero 2018, 07:31 | Gerardo Tarin

How a punter changed the course of NFL history

Jets-Patriots preview

7, 2017, and the sky was falling.

It's the result of winning 11 of 12 games after a last-second loss to the Panthers on October 1, and in that stretch the Patriots have almost doubled-up their opponents, outscoring them by an aggregate of 329-168. So, too, should receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder).

The Giants then got an interception by linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, who picked off Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins' pass intended for receiver Josh Doctson.

Meanwhile, in New England, the train just keeps a-rolling. And the injuries mounted: Dont'a Hightower, Derek Rivers, Shea McClellin, Marcus Cannon, Nate Ebner, Malcolm Mitchell. Before that, it hadn't happened since October 20, 2013, in a 30-27 road loss to the Jets.

With a win or Steelers loss, the Patriots clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. This means that once again, the road to the Super Bowl will go through Foxboro. Running back Dion Lewis was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week after scoring twice and setting season highs with 129 yards on 24 carries in last week's 37-16 win over Buffalo. They have to earn everything beyond that.

The Patriots pounded the Jets 26-6 in the season finale, sending the Jets to 5-11 for the second straight season and another year without a playoff appearance, but the biggest takeaway from this meaningless game was Hackenberg still could not get on the field.

The Patriots' defense has battled injuries this season.

NY quarterback Eli Manning made his 216th appearance, which ties Hall-of-Fame defensive end Michael Strahan's franchise record for the most games played in a Giants uniform.

In this salary cap era, that shouldn't happen.

It's all about "Doing Your Job", or "Next Man Up".

The better to remind them how bitter cold it was.

"That's what an National Football League season is all about", said left tackle Nate Solder. "We just have to get better there, focus and finish".

The Jets are coming off a defensive bout with the Los Angeles Chargers, in which only three scores were made between the two teams.

"That's all you can do". We've got a young team. With 249 career victories, Patriots coach Bill Belichick can tie Tom Landry (250) for third all-time among head coaches. "We hated every part of being out there, but I think everybody came out today and was like, 'This isn't as bad as Thursday practice".

Wouldn't it be nice to be the team responsible for the Patriots NOT getting the number one seed? But, you know, chemistry-wise we are there. We needed all those steps.

"If those guys are able to get out there and play, I think anytime you get good players healthy, it helps a lot", Brady said.

Lewis has emerged as one of the team's MVPs in the late stage of the season. New England will take a much deserved week off before playing the lowest remaining seed in the AFC Divisional Round.

The Jets came into this contest wanting to make sure that Rob Gronkowski did not shred them to bits like he usually does and they succeeded by double-teaming him on most plays.

Only San Francisco and Denver have claimed more No. 1 seeds, with eight each. "And those are some of the things that we'll take a look at".



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