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Here’s what I’ve thought watching Patriots games for the past 5-6-7 weeks – this isn’t a very good team. I mean, they’re good. They have Brady. They have Belichick. They are always a threat, but…
This is the worst Patriots team I’ve seen in as long as I can remember. They weren’t really better than the Chargers here, it’s just Anthony Lynn…don’t get me started. Philip Rivers…that guy can find a way to lose any game. Back to the Patriots – not good. As a football bettor, in your gut, when you see ‘Patriots’ you think ‘A’ team…don’t bet against them. Don’t bet against Brady-Belichick. Those days are about done. You should see them as a ‘B’ team right now. The Computer…it sees a ‘B’ team in New England and has for weeks.
Fortunately, for the Patriots, their schedule ahead is a ticket to the #1-2 seed in the AFC…which means you can’t count them out of anything. They are 6-2 now, and The Computer says 12-4/11-5 is coming. They have five games left with the combination of Miami-Buffalo-Jets. Buffalo is a nice story but they aren’t sweeping the Pats, not likely beating them once either.
I think everything to know about the Patriots will be told in Week 15 at Pittsburgh, a showdown for the #1 seed…and Pittsburgh will dismantle them and usher in the new-era minus the Patriots.
As for the Chargers…The Computer loves many of the internals on them. But the on-field results drag them down in our system. They find ways to lose. The upcoming schedule will do the rest of the damage. So, poorly coached I don’t even know where to begin. I’m not going to waste time being a broken record on Anthony Lynn…just…utterly ridiculous with some of the people that have risen to a head coaching jobs in the NFL, not just Lynn.
The Chargers are staring at 7-9 at best. A possible collapse to 5-11 isn’t out of the cards. Better than 8-8 would be a miracle.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I’m really starting to worry I am holding Patriots assets that are declining in front of my eyes because Tom Brady (32-47 for 333, 1 TD/0 INT) is fading slowly and his flaws are exaggerated because the O-Line can't block for him as well…and they have no running game.
Brady has turned into a dink and dunker, somewhat out of necessity for a lack of time to throw. Look at what has happened from the first four games of 2017 to the last four…32.3 PPG scored by NE Weeks 1-4 to 21.8 PPG scored Weeks 5-8…against mostly terrible defenses.
Brady was 32-of-47 passing in this game.
1-of-6 on passes classified as ‘deep’…for 16 yards.
31-of-41 on ‘short’ passes.
If this fantasy season wasn’t taxing enough…trying to bet on the Patriots assets is starting to spring a leak as well.
If you ignore Brady’s 5 TD/0 INT spike in Week 3, he’s thrown 11 TDs in his other 7 games. It’s not bad and he is playing fine, but the ‘special sauce’ seems to be missing with Brady a little too often now. Misfiring to Brandin Cooks a lot…because it’s not dump-passes to Cooks, they are a little more downfield or to the sidelines. Brady is slipping.
If Brady is slipping then Cooks can only aspire to WR1.5-2 production with occasional spikes to WR1. Top 5 WR output is not in the cards for Cooks if Brady keeps playing like he has. Brady is not wheeling and dealing unless forced to. Lately, he’s OK with just dumping the ball off smartly.
Gronk is going to work because that relationship is forged in steel and James White as his top check-down guy is a necessity. Cooks or Chris Hogan are ‘as needed’ but not leaned on until there is trouble…thus all the late game greatness to Cooks – we see that Cooks-Brady magic at times and (I) think the magic is about to start on the reg. It’s a potential head-fake. Brady’s current game/style/ability may not allow him to work the entire field at all times like he used to.
I’m not saying all this is for sure on a Pats further decline…but I am seeing the signs of it and I am worried. Worried it’s time to trade Brady hot. However, I’ll probably be like Belichick – I’ll go down with the ship on Brady. Just when you think you got Brady-Belichick beat…
-- I saw Rex Burkhead (4-15-0, 7-68-0/7) catching a lot of passes in this game and shrugged my shoulders. I haven't seen any reason all season to believe the Pats are going to lean on Rex.
Then, I re-watched this game and saw the way they were working him…you know how I’ve said Burkhead is a Julian Edelman replacement candidate. I think they kinda did that in this game…only Rex coming out of the backfield doing it.
It may have been a one-game thing, Amendola banged up, etc., but I’m not ready to bury Rex yet after this re-watch. I suddenly have a renewed interest in what happens next game. The upcoming Denver game is another wise spot for dink and dunk to the RBs.
-- Speaking of dying assets – Keenan Allen (4-61-0/5). One TD in 7 games. 5.0 catches, 68.5 yards per game…which is good but not as radical as you’d think with Allen with all the targets he gets. Well, he still gets targets but is catching a career-low 54.8% of them…that’s the issue. He’s covered too easily/everyone knows Rivers is going there.
Rivers has 13 TD passes this season…1 to Allen, 1 to Tyrell Williams…5 to RBs. He’s another QB fading away.
And because Rivers’ is fading with age and is overrated, and this Anthony Lynn offense is a sight to behold…you cannot trust Tyrell Williams, Hunter Henry, Mike Williams or Austin Ekeler to really matter consistently. Next year, it will be worse. The Chargers will go off a cliff with Rivers…so, sell your Chargers’ assets ASAP.
-- LAC DB Adrian Phillips (12 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD) had a game-high 12 tackles but didn’t really stand out to me. He’s been putting up numbers of late, though – 7.5 tackles, 0.50 PDs per game the past 4 games.
He’s a 3rd-year player with below-average measurables: 5/10”/202, 4.58 40-time, 7.10 three-cone.
-- Note -- Denzel Perryman will be coming off IR soon, and if I know Anthony Lynn…Perryman is going right into the starting lineup as the main ILB. He’ll matter for IDP for tackles counts in the middle.
-- Who won’t matter for tackle counts for the Chargers – Jatavis Brown (2 tackles). One of the best defensive talents in football is now playing about 25% of the game snaps. I don’t even have any words for this.
How I wish I was an NFL GM to make trades with the Chargers right now.
If this is a foot injury issue, then I feel better…but then why is he playing at all?
-- Elandon Roberts (6 tackles, 1 TFL) is going to have to start the rest of 2017, and that will be a great thing for IDP. I love Roberts as a talent. He’s an easy 6+ tackles a game with plenty of TFLs guy.
-- The Pats offense may be sagging but their defense is kicking in – this was the 4th-straight game holding an opponent to 17 points or fewer. 14-17-7-13 (15.3 per game) points allowed the past four games…which is more like their 2016 defense that led the league in lowest PPG allowed.
Snap Counts of Interest…
30 = Dion Lewis
27 = Rex Burkhead
20 = James White
13 = Mike Gillislee
66 = Hayes Pullard
25 = Korey Toomer
22 = Jatavis Brown