Reports of the Patriots’ demise have been greatly exaggerated, especially when one considers their old-school beatdown of the Chargers in Week 13. Bill Belichick, the Patriots’ legendary coach, and resident evil genius, did what he always does before facing a rookie quarterback, he built him up in the press.
“He’s impressive – very talented player, tall, sees things well, has a good arm, can certainly make all the throws,” Belichick said of Justin Herbert on Tuesday. “He’s athletic, can escape the pocket, smart. They do a number of things at the line of scrimmage – you’ve seen him check plays, audible against pressure, change plays against check-with-me type situations.
“So, it looks like he’s going be a good quarterback for a long time, a lot to work with and I know he’s a smart, hard-working kid that likes football and I’m sure he will continue to get better, as he has this year throughout the course of the season. He’s improved from the early games that I’ve watched, and like I said, has a lot of good skill players to work with – good tight end, good backs, good receivers. So, yeah, he’s a good player.”
And after that butt-kissing, he devised a defense that would render a butt-kicking. When the day was done the Patriots lambasted the Bolts in their own playpen to the tune of a 45-0 annihilation. The NFL odds on this game reflected the Chargers as two-point home favorites but it just goes to show you that the bookies aren’t always on the right side of things. Belichick is now 20-5 versus rookie quarterbacks.
New England will stay in Los Angeles to face a much bigger threat this coming week when they take on the Rams. The Patriots are now 6-6 on the season and if they run the table, could have a chance at making the postseason, a thought that was almost incomprehensible a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, it will be a tough row to hoe, yet, if anyone can do it, the man under the hoodie can.
Seattle stunned by big blue
In another example of the oddsmakers having the wrong favorite last week, the Seahawks were installed as high as 13-point favorites over the underwhelming New York Giants on Sunday. But a funny thing happened. The Giants not only showed up to fight but they wound up winning in a defensive battle that culminated in a 17-12 victory for New York.
“The team had a different swagger about them, had a different juice about them today because we know we played our brand of football,” Giants safety Jabrill Peppers said. “We know we can shock a lot of people.”
“These guys do a great job,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do, and they’ve done it as well as they possibly can. And you see the results come in.”
The Giants are following a similar pattern from their Super Bowl season ins 2007 when they struggled out of the gate and picked up enough steam to eke into the postseason. They then delivered one of the most miraculous Super Bowl victories over what is considered to be one of the greatest teams in the history of the game, the 18-1 New England Patriots.
No one is considering this team Super Bowl-caliber and they are simply lucky to be residing in the NFC East, the worst division in football. The Giants are the prettiest pig in the poke right now but that could change over the next four games. But for right now, Big Blue shocked the world and the Seahawks didn’t even know what hit them.
Saints keep marching
New Orleans does one thing no matter what – win. No Drew Brees, no problem. Come on down Taysom Hill, you 30-year-old undrafted son of a gun. Brees has been sidelined with 11 broken ribs and a punctured lung suffered against the 49ers three weeks ago, and although his replacement hasn’t been perfect, he’s been winning, and that’s what counts. It’s interesting to note that the Saints inked former Bucs’ starter, Jameis Winston, to a one-year deal as Brees’ backup before the season but chose to give the nod to the human Swiss Army knife himself, Taysom Hill.
Now that the Saints have vanquished their chief rivals in the division, the Tampa Bay Bucs, on two occasions this season and are coming off of a hard-fought, 21-16, win over Atlanta last week, they are in charge of the NFC South and could have Brees back under center this week against Philadelphia.
Brees recently stated, “Maybe, we’ll see. I’m just taking it one day at a time,” Brees said Sunday night in his weekly interview with Cox Sports Television. “I know I sound like a broken record — kind of sound that way to myself. But listen, I’m getting antsy, I want to play. But I also know there’s a process with healing here and there’s kind of some benchmarks I need to hit in order to get back out there.”