Week 16 Risers and Fallers: Pats Come Out Flat, Nearly Blow it Against Jags

So much for redemption.  Anyone who thought the Patriots would take out their frustrations about last week's loss to the 49ers had to have grown a few more grey hairs Sunday as New England barely beat the lowly Jaguars in Jacksonville.  Missing Brandon Spikes and Alfonzo Dennard, New England's defense allowed 436 total yards, including […]

Week 15 Risers and Fallers: Pats Stage Furious Comeback, Let Win Slip Away

You just can't make up games like this, folks.  On a night where New England uncharacteristically turned the ball over four times, allowed Colin Kaepernick to throw four touchdown passes and even let Randy Moss snag his 156th career TD reception, the Patriots nearly pulled off a comeback for the ages.  Almost.  Down 31-3 early […]

Week 14 Risers and Fallers: Patriots Topple Texans in Monday Night Showdown

The New England Patriots entered Monday night as 5.5-point favorites against the AFC's top team, the Houston Texans.  Within 13 minutes, Tom Brady had already thrown two touchdown passes, including a beautiful 37-yard strike to Brandon Lloyd on play action, to put the Pats up 14-0.  By halftime, New England was up 21-0.  Although the […]

Week 10 Risers and Fallers: Defense Struggles but Manages to Seal Victory

It's never easy against the Buffalo Bills.  And if the defense doesn't tighten up, the road to the Super Bowl will only get tougher in the second half of the season.  After executing a historic beatdown of the division rival earlier this season, New England looked poised for a similar result Sunday before it appeared […]

Midseason Report Card: Defensive Edition

  While their 5-3 record indicates the Patriots have some holes, this team could very well be 8-0 if not for a few fourth-quarter lapses. As the offense continues to put up huge numbers, the defense has had its moments of brilliance and embarrassment. After dedicating six draft choices to the defense, the results have […]

Week 5 Risers and Fallers: Brady tops Manning as Patriots Move Above .500

For the ninth time in 13 tries, Tom Brady and the Patriots came out on top against Peyton Manning. This time the circumstances were a little different. Manning, playing in his first game against the Pats as a Bronco, was typically lethal in picking apart New England’s oft-burned secondary. Brady, however, got most of his […]

Week 4 Risers and Fallers: Patriots Stomp Bills in Second Half in 52-28 Blowout

Yesterday’s AFC East showdown between the Patriots and Bills read much like a Mark Twain novel. In the first half, the Patriots looked sloppy, unorganized and downright awful. Safeties Pat Chung and Steve Gregory made Scott Chandler look like Gronk 2.0 and the offense couldn’t capitalize on two Buffalo turnovers. Seeing Ryan Fitpatrick sling the […]

Week 2 Risers and Fallers: Uncharacteristic Mistakes cost Patriots Home Opener

Plain and simple: The Patriots didn’t deserve to win this game. Despite being handed a free shot at vindicating themselves for a day marked by turnovers, poor special teams play and a potentially catastrophic injury, the normally flawless Patriots failed to execute in the most important of times. Sunday’s 20-18 loss to the Arizona Cardinals […]

Week 1 Risers and Fallers: Pats shut down CJ2K

Will the real CJ2K please stand up?  I don't know who was wearing No. 28 for the Titans on Sunday, but the Patriots managed to put a deathly end to Chris Johnson's proclamation that he'll lead the league in rushing this season.  In New England's 34-13 trouncing of Tennessee, we saw early investments from the […]

State of the Position: Linebackers

A message to all running backs: Fear the Patriots linebackers. The starting trio of Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes and Dont’a Hightower has the potential to be the league’s best, sooner than later. Each player brings a unique skill set to the defense, and all three are familiar with playing in pressure situations as former SEC […]

State of the Position: Running Backs

It’s officially the year of the youth movement at running back for the New England Patriots. For a position that’s usually featured reliable but aging veterans, this season should be a breath of fresh air. Second-year man Stevan Ridley appears poised to be the lead back now that BenJarvus Green-Ellis is in Cincinnati. Although “The […]

State of the Position: Cornerbacks

If there’s one position on defense with the most volatility it’s by far the cornerbacks. Based on talent, the group should be much improved. But in the NFL, talent doesn’t always win on Sundays. Headlining the cornerbacks is third-year pro Devin McCourty. The former first-round pick struggled mightily in 2011 after earning a Pro Bowl […]

State of the Position: Wide Receivers

With Rob Gronkowski hobbled by a severe high ankle sprain, the Patriots' wide receivers got exposed in Super Bowl XLVI. Even ignoring Wes Welker’s backbreaking drop, the receivers as a whole failed to make much of an impact against the Giants secondary. Veteran Deion Branch managed just three catches for 45 yards and Chad Ochocinco […]

State of the Position: Defensive Line

On a defense full of unfamiliar faces, Vince Wilfork is the one constant. The burly 325-pound nose tackle has gone from a first-round pick to a four-time Pro Bowler while playing alongside some all-time greats. However, as he enters his ninth year with the Patriots, it’s clear there’s a youth movement along the defensive front. […]