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*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
Re-watching this game…the Patriots should’ve won 40+ to 20+. It’s silly that they lost, as it is, on that crazy play at the end -- but they had so many drives stalling in the red zone and nearer to the goal line it was a shame they didn’t roll more points. The Pats scored 27 in the 1st-half and were down at the goal line with :20-30 seconds and ran a couple plays before half but Brady got sacked on their last shot with no timeouts and the clock wound down to 0:00. Normally, the Pats score 3-7 there and would’ve led 30-21 or 34-21 at the half. So many blown opportunities and then the NFL-famous strategy of ‘we’re winning so let’s control clock and play for FGs’ routine…which I get, but the Pats didn’t try hard to score at the end, near the goal line again…settled for an FG before kicking off to Miami setting up the miracle ending/loss.
If the Patriots had scored a TD every time they hit the red zone this game they might have popped for 50+…and that’s why I LOVE the Vikings hosting Miami this week -- the Dolphins are a fraud and terrible on the road.
New England is in a do-or-die spot vs. the Steelers this week. Two legendary teams running out of steam this year. If the Pats win, they keep up hope for a #1 seed (not likely), but at least can get a #2 seed. I keep going back and forth on who wins NE-PIT. I say NE, The Computer says PIT. The Pats are either going to wind up 12-4 or 11-5, and pretty likely to be the #2 seed. A pipe dream they catch the Chiefs (writing this opener pre-LAC-KC).
Miami has found their way to 7-6 and has a real shot at 9-7. However, I suspect they will get murder-death-killed by Minnesota this week and then lose to either JAX or at BUF in the final two weeks and wind up 8-8 and out of the playoffs. What a gift for the #3 seed in the AFC if they could get to host Miami in the 1st-round of the playoffs.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Let me say this… Tom Brady (27-43 for 358 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT) looked the best I’ve seen him all year. This offense looked the best I’ve seen it all year. Stalled some in the red zone but the passing game really was humming.
I say that because it’s likely were seeing typical December Patriots coming into their own at the right time. It’s showtime -- and here they come.
Gronk (8-107-1/8) may be realizing it’s ‘money time’…and starting to work a little harder.
Josh Gordon (5-96-0/9) has been incredibly steady for weeks. Who would have thought ‘steady’ and ‘Josh Gordon’ would be in the same sentence.
Cordarrelle Patterson (2-51-1/3) really gives them an extra gadget…he should be starting/playing 50% of the snaps but NFL teams don’t like scoring a lot, so…
Gronk-Gordon-CPatt + Edelman and Hogan…how do the Patriots do this time and time again? Weapons on top of weapons.
-- Sony Michel (20-57-0) has 1 rushing TD in his last 5 games…FB James Develin has 4 rushing TDs in that span as the new goal line guy.
Develin taking TDs, Rex Burkhead taking whole series in and out…hard to trust Michel or James White (4-13-0, 2-15-0/4) to have great FF efforts one week to the next. I love White, but his output is all over the road now.
-- Ryan Tannehill (14-19 for 265 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT) is smoking hot…2-3-3 passing TDs since his return from injury. He’s averaging 2.0 passing TDs per game this season. Not sure that keeps up vs. MIN this week.
-- How can Kenyan Drake (6-24-0, 1-55-1/1) be the Dolphins obvious best weapon, and in the game of the year for them…he only sees one target? The guy has been making a killing on passes out of the backfield for weeks, and yet he would have had less than 5 fantasy PPR points if he had not had that miracle play in the end.
How stupid is the Miami O-C? I know who he is…and therefore you don’t have to answer that question. I know the answer.
How can you trust Drake week to week if in their biggest game his best touch comes on a last play, unplanned third lateral to him in desperation?
-- Maybe Drake should shoot his mouth off in the press, and then he’ll get the ball…like Kenny Stills (8-135-1/9). Stills disappears from the offense for weeks, complains…BOOM…6.0 rec., 86.0 yards, 1.0 TDs per game the past two weeks.
Not sure that’s happening against Xavier Rhodes and Jalen Ramsey the next two weeks…
-- Fantasy Playoff Notes from these two teams…
Miami has at MIN and hosting JAX the next two weeks…a killer for their passing game. They would need Kenyan Drake help big-time, but…really? More Brandon Bolden maybe… All things MIA the next two weeks is bad.
The Pats go at PIT and then host BUF, and the Week 16 Buffalo game is going to be a needed game, so the Patriots offense should function as normal and their DST be a nice play Week 16.
Snap Counts of Interest:
24 = Drake
23 = Gore
04 = Bolden
33 = White
33 = Michel
17 = Burkhead
48 = S Gilmore
38 = JC Jackson
31 = Jason McCourty
11 = Jonathan Jones