Rain rain go away, it was not the Ravens’ day. The downpour didn’t affect the Patriots that much as they pull off an upset victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football.
The Ravens looked flat throughout most the game Lamar Jackson only rushing for 55 yards, leading a poor day of rushing for Baltimore, whereas New England’s running game blossomed with yet another 100 yard performance by Damien Harris, who continues to produce. Jakobi Meyers still looks solid catching 5 passes for 59 yards and he threw a touchdown to Rex Burkhead on a trick play, but most importantly of all, Cam Newton had a great game, with 2 touchdowns (1 in the air, 1 on the ground) and no turnovers, as he led the Patriots to victory and now a 2 game winning streak.
The defense seems to be regaining it’s footing after getting Lawrence Guy back from injuries and seeing rookie Josh Uche snag his first career sack after getting his first tackle last game against the Jets. JC Jackson keeps improving, with his 5th straight game with an interception, giving him 6 on the year, which is the league best. The defense held the high flying Ravens offense to 17 points, which is the lowest amount of points scored by the Ravens so far this season. The Patriots have now improved to 4-5 and look to get better, as guys like Sony Michel, Julian Edelman, Ja’whaun Bentley, and Stephon Gilmore come back from injury.
Next week the Patriots travel down to Texas to battle the Houston Texans, who are looking to bounce back after a brutal 10-7 loss to the Browns. Will the Patriots extend their winning streak? Only time will tell.
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What a nail biter! Many were certain that the Jets would shock New England and notch their first win, however the Patriots snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. When things were at there worst, Cam Newton rallied the offense and put up a great performance alongside Rex Burkhead and Jakobi Meyers, add a clutch 51 yard field goal from Nick Folk and you’ve got yourself a win.
The Patriots improved to 3-5 on the season, while the Jets fall to 0-9, still the only team in the league that hasn’t notched a win, with that effort, it’s safe to say that the Patriots aren’t too keen on tanking (who really thought the Pats were going to tank?) and this was just the game to gain their confidence back. Cam Newton dropped 274 passing yards on the Jets and 2 rushing touchdowns, 169 yards going to Jakobi Meyers, with 71 rushing yards from Damien Harris and 56 rushing yards from Rex Burkhead. Despite the defense playing underwhelming football in the first 3 quarters, the stepped up in the 4th quarter with a momentum stealing interception from JC Jackson and a clutch sack from Deatrich Wise Jr.
Despite this, you could tell that the Patriots missed run stuffer Lawrence Guy and big linebacker Ja’whaun Bentley, there is no clear timetable for their return and they would definitely provide a second wind for a short handed front seven. In other injury news, the Patriots lost emerging star Damien Harris to an apparent chest injury in the 4th quarter, his status is currently unknown and his availability for next week is up in the air.
On a lighter note, new receiver and new defensive tackle, Isaiah Ford and Isaiah Mack have been cleared to play after the Patriots acquired them during last week’s trade deadline, look to see the speedy Ford bolster an injury riddled receiver core, he will pair nicely with Jakobi Meyers in the short term. One last bit of roster news, the Patriots have claimed tight end, Jordan Thomas off of waivers and he can provide another target for Cam Newton, on top of that they signed tight ends, David Wells and Dylan Cantrell to the practice squad. Next week, the Patriots head home to host the 6-2 Baltimore Ravens and the dangerous Lamar Jackson, it may seem like one sided, but there’s 60 minutes in a game, anything can happen.
They were so close… oh so close. Let’s clear up one thing right away, the tackling for New England was an atrocity to behold, nobody could stop Zack Moss (I don’t know who that is either) and it is very concerning that no name running backs are becoming stars against the Patriots defense, a problem that will be made worse with injuries to Lawrence Guy and Ja’whaun Bentley. The pass defense has had to carry the load as they minimalized Josh Allen’s opportunities and did not allow a receiving touchdown.
Now, the agonizing part, Cam Newton’s fumble. Cam fumbled and cost us the game, that was his only mistake, no interceptions or anything else, just that one fumble, a game hasn’t felt this heartbreaking since Seattle in week 2.A report from Jay Glazer said that Newton is on a short leash due to some of his mistakes and some believe that this might actually have Newton benched for Stidham. That take is ridiculous and anyone who actually believes it simply does not understand that Patriots or football. As I look at reactions from fans on Instagram, there are a few that believe New England should fire Bill Belichick and tank, many Patriots “fans” actually believe this. Words do not describe the level of anger I feel at that statement. Newton should not be benched and Belichick should not be fired, we can’t destroy our coaching staff at the first sign of adversity.
The Patriots are starved for talent and they are armed with a large amount of cap space and (probably) a decent draft pick. It is clear that it is time to reboot and build up the Patriots again and there is no coach I trust more than Bill Belichick. Some have pointed to a possible Stephon Gilmore trade, but the Patriots are no longer in a dire cap situation so a trade would be a little shocking and while it isn’t likely, word is that New England has a high asking price for Gilmore and we will have to wait until the trade deadline on November 3rd.
Next week, New England will travel down to East Rutherford to play the New York Jets, a very winnable game.
With the 2020 NFL trade deadline quickly approaching a week from today on November 3, the Patriots currently sit at a very disappointing 2-4 and are placed third in the AFC East. It is pretty clear that the Patriots are in dire need of more talent possibly on both sides of the ball and a change of scenery for some players around the league would be beneficial by joining New England.
David Njoku, TE, CLE
David Njoku has recently been linked to the Patriots after asking for a trade out of Cleveland. Njoku’s name came up in trade rumors during the 2020 draft and in July, he had requested a trade from the team. As of August, he decided to commit to the Browns and claimed he was “all in”. Less than three months after that, he soon realized that he probably won’t play as big of a part in the offense that he had thought.
Njoku, a twenty-four year old tight end in Cleveland showed flashes of being a top tight end in the league during his first two seasons in 2017 and 2018. In his first two years, Njoku was able to rack up 1,025 yards on 88 targets and 8 touchdowns. His 2019 season however played out differently. The former first rounder suffered a concussion during Week 2 and then was placed on IR for a broken wrist that he suffered on that same play. Njoku only saw action in four games last season with 41 yards and one touchdown on the season. This season, after being placed on IR with a knee injury, the big tight end was activated during the week five matchup vs the Colts. Njoku currently has 83 receiving yards and two touchdowns through four games this season.
Some fans may be weary of taking him on due to his worrisome injury history and his up and down production. Although, due to the talent that Cleveland possesses in their offense, he quickly becomes an afterthought and gets overshadowed by Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper. With a lot of mouths to feed on Cleveland’s offense, Njoku’s stats on the year will not display his full potential. If he were to be brought into New England, he would see the field and be an immediate upgrade over any tight end currently on the Patriots’ roster. He could easily become a top target for Cam Newton and give the Patriots a much needed TE target.
Cleveland already has Austin Hooper as their TE1 and on Sunday, we saw the emergence of rookie Harrison Bryant. As Cleveland shopped offers previously for Njoku, that makes it clear that they will not be getting top dollar for him at this point. They should be willing to part ways with the young tight end for a third round pick, second round at most.
THE TRADE OFFER:
NE trades: 3rd Round Pick
CLE trades: TE David Njoku
Ryan Kerrigan, DE, WAS
A ton of New England fans are focusing on upgrading the offense and giving Cam more talented weapons and rightfully so. But, let’s not forget that the New England Patriots are currently the 17th ranked defense; which is middle of the pack in the NFL and a BIG difference when compared to last season when they had the first ranked defense in the league. Their issues come in the front seven of the defensive side of the ball. Five defensive starters from last season are currently not playing on the team this season. Danny Shelton and Jamie Collins signed with Detroit, Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts acquired by Miami and Dont’a Hightower opting out for the season. Although we still have Lawrence Guy and the sizable jumps in talent and production from Chase Winovich and John Simon, we have one of the worst run defenses in the league. Out of the 32 teams in the league, the Patriots currently sit at the 27th ranked run defense giving up 132 rushing yards per game. It is clear that we need at least a Pro Bowl caliber player to help and can provide not only as a run stopper but also help with pass rush. This New England team ranks for the 4th worst when it comes to getting sacks on opposing QB’s.
With all these defensive struggles, Ryan Kerrigan is the type of player who can step in and immediately make an impact on this struggling defense. The four time pro-bowler is 32 years old in the final year of his contract with Washington and his name has been one of the most prominent this year when it comes to the trade deadline. The pass rusher averages ten sacks per season in his career and already has four on the year which is almost double the amount the Patriots leading sack getter has. Ryan Kerrigan is owed $6.8M for the rest of the season which seems like a steal for his production and how badly the Patriots need a player of his caliber. With the young guys stepping up for Washington’s defense, Ryan Kerrigan has only started one game this season and probably would not mind getting a starting job somewhere else; especially to be the top guy again.
Ryan Kerrigan should be fairly easy to acquire. You could start off with a fifth rounder and even part with a fourth rounder depending on how New England wants to go about the rest of this season. Giving up a mid round pick to make a potential playoff push, this seems like a no brainer and is a low risk-high reward scenario for the Patriots.
THE TRADE OFFER:
NE trades: 4th Round Pick
WAS trades: DE Ryan Kerrigan
AJ Green, WR, CIN
AJ Green is very comparable to David Njoku for the fact that he has been on the trade block before, and has been connected to the Patriots on multiple accounts. AJ Green to me, is the epitome of the “Patriot Way”. A high level player who keeps his head down and focuses on his work. He lets his numbers and play on the field do the talking. Green is 32 years old and is currently playing on a franchise tag worth about $18M. The veteran wide receiver is in his ninth season in the NFL and has six 1,000 yard seasons. Green only has 297 receiving yards this season but that would most certainly change if brought to the northeast. Cincinnati with a new coach, new QB and new roster all around, has young up-and-coming receiver targets that Burrow would rather target, especially rookie Tee Higgins. It has been rumored that Green is not happy in his situation and potentially wants a trade out of Cincy.
AJ Green in New England might make the most sense and would change the offense of this team tremendously and give the team exactly what they need… AN OUTSIDE THREAT. The Patriots three starting receivers are Edelman, Harry and Byrd. Edelman and Byrd are slot receivers and Harry, in his second season continues to struggle and cannot seem to create separation from top corners to make catches. Adding the seven time pro-bowler to this team would be a win-win situation. Not only does it add a true WR threat on the outside, but it also clears up Edelman. Edelman was most productive in the slot with a bigger threat with him, in this case being Gronkowski. Green being implemented into this team would put the opposing team’s CB2 on Edelman and his production should most certainly go back up.
Some might say giving up a second rounder is too much for a 32 year old player and a team potentially on the decline and maybe so. It all depends on how the Patriots want to go about the rest of this season. But, my response, if you give a second for Mohamed Sanu, AJ Green is definitely worth that. Knowing Belichick, he will not roll over and die especially when the Patriots can turn the season around and get right back into playoff contention.
THE TRADE OFFER:
NE trades: 2nd Round Pick
CIN trades: WR AJ Green
Everson Griffen, DE, DAL
We have already gone over why the Patriots need a pass rusher. Everson Griffen is a veteran defensive end in his eleventh season and may be the cheapest guy to acquire on this list. The vet is a four time pro bowler and has played a good majority of his career in Minnesota before signing with Dallas just this season for $6M on a one year deal. The 32 year old has racked up 20 tackles and 2.5 sacks so far this year. Dallas has recently added Griffen’s name to the trade block in the last week.
Ryan Kerrigan is the better option between the two and should be targeted to acquire before Griffen. Although, if Kerrigan is already traded or Washington wants too much for New England’s value, Everson Griffen is the guy to get.
This trade should be fairly quick if the Patriots were to make a call, I see Dallas giving him up pretty easily for the best offer and I don’t see a team offering too much for him. Maybe a 4th or 5th at the very highest if there’s maybe a Super Bowl contender looking for pass rush help that really wants him.
THE TRADE OFFER:
NE trades: 6th Round Pick
DAL trades: DE Everson Griffen
All credit goes to Mike Ciccketti for this article. If you love what you read and if you love NFL content, consider listening to First and Goal: Dean Gridiron Talk. The show consists of myself (CJ Medeiros), Mike Ciccketti, Ben Pope, and CD Caraballo, and we break down some of the biggest games of the week, as well as some studs and duds, and more. We’re on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Anchor.fm, and Pocket Casts, check us out.
I never thought that I’d miss last week’s performance against Denver, alas here we are. This was a disastrous game and there is no silver lining, no positives whatsoever. Cam Newton threw an ungodly three interceptions and was benched for Jarrett Stidham late in the game (who also had an interception as well). The 49ers picked the Patriots apart on offense and defense and the Patriots couldn’t get much of anything going.
The Patriots’ defense was beat by the legs of Jeff Wilson Jr., who came seemingly out of nowhere and ran for 3 touchdowns. Jimmy Garoppolo, threw 2 interceptions, but that was about it defensively, he still threw for 277 yards on 80% completion passing-wise. There aren’t enough adjectives in the English language to describe the nausea I felt watching New England get blown out on their home soil. The 49ers defense covered everyone and pressured Newton and Stidham repeatedly forcing mistake after mistake. Let me be clear, I don’t quite place the blame on Newton, 2/3 interceptions weren’t even his fault. On on pick, Jakobi Meyers just fell down and that allowed the safety to have an uncontested pick. The other bounced off of Julian Edelman’s hands and right to a defensive player, but Newton’s first INT was just a bad read on his end. Nobody on this offense can seem to get separation, a matter only made worse by a N’Keal Harry head injury, (likely a concussion that will sideline him for a short time).
With New England’s offensive woes, there is one looming question: what’s next? Bill Belichick is surely unhappy with this performance and there will almost definitely be some roster reshuffling. I stand by my opinion that the Patriots must make a trade in order to stay competitive, but there is a scarier alternative, tanking. Many have speculated that the Patriots will tank for a top draft pick, but this isn’t the Bill Belichick way, I highly doubt they will, but if they want to still be a contender for the playoffs, a trade must happen. Many speculate that the Pats will target John Ross, Will Fuller, Golden Tate, Evan Engram, or David Njoku, but those are only rumors. The Patriots are at a crossroads and fans will watch will bated breath as Coach Belichick decides how to handle the future. In the mean time, New England will travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills next week for a divisional showdown.
One last thing, the next article will be written by guest writer, Mike Ciccketti, he will list players that he thinks are worth trading for. Don’t miss out, subscribe to CJs Patriots Opinions to be the first to know when it’s posted.
This game was abhorrent no matter how you slice it. The Patriots’ offense was lifeless until halfway through the fourth quarter, the running game was stuffed and the passing game was mediocre. The defense only held Denver to field goals where Brandon McManus went 6/6, but the offense should have at least been able to be respectable, alas it was not to be.
Let’s get some things out of the way, first, we must address Cam Newton. Newton threw two interceptions, but seeing as they came from tipped passes, I do not blame him at all. Newton rarely got time to throw, as the reshuffled offensive line was beaten repeatedly and caused Cam to be sacked 4 times. Damien Harris basically disappeared in the second half along with the rest of the running game and it only gets worse offensively. Tackle, Jermaine Eluemunor, was injured and the Patriots had to rely on Justin Herron and Hjalte Froholdt, neither performing particularly well. The biggest factor was that New England only had one practice in two weeks… yes, ONE. Now there are some who may point out the Titans’ success, even though they didn’t practice for two weeks, but the Titans have superior weapons on offense and the teams are so different that the point is mute at best. On top of that, there were two egregious officiating errors that I cannot ignore; first, the big holding call on Stephon Gilmore, Gilmore was called for holding on a 3rd down which pushed Denver further into field goal range, and they ended up scoring 3. Second, on the Patriots’ final drive, Cam Newton threw a deep ball to Damiere Byrd and he was knocked down by a defender before the ball was in the area and it went uncalled, if called it would have placed New England squarely in the red zone.
This unpracticed and injured offense lost them the game, wasting a strong showing by the defense, who snagged two clutch interceptions when it mattered most. I’m through ranting, but action need to be taken. Rest assured that there will be no griping about how New England should “Tank for Trevor”, that’s not the answer, especially not for Bill Belichick. The offense needs a play maker who can stretch the field and free up Edelman, Harry, and Byrd, someone to draw coverage. There are many big names on the trade market, here are some possible trade targets:
Dede Westbrook (WR): Jacksonville is facing a full scale rebuild and Westbrook’s speed will bolster New England’s offense. He shouldn’t even cost that much to acquire, a 4th rounder at most.
John Ross (WR): As a former first rounder, Ross has yet to live up to expectations. This means that he will be cheap to trade for and his break neck speed will force coverage to be taken away from New England’s other pass catchers.
David Njoku (TE): Njoku is in an interesting spot, the Browns have plenty of depth at tight end and Njoku will be the odd man out after the Browns signed Austin Hooper in free agency.
The following scenarios are huge reaches, but anything is possible…
Zach Ertz (TE): It is no secret that Philly is hesitant to commit to Ertz in the future and a big name tight end would be just what the doctor ordered for the New England passing attack.
Michael Thomas (WR): Many have reported that the Saints are starting to become fed up with their star wideout, as his recent fight with a teammate and social media arguments are well documented. It has already been hinted that the Pats may swing a deal for Thomas and with his current standing in New Orleans, it may not take much more than a 1st rounder.
So Stephon Gilmore has COVID, this news shocked and sickened Pats fans everywhere, luckily he has been confirmed to be asymptomatic. Gilmore contracted the virus after having dinner with quarterback Cam Newton before Newton was diagnosed, this is likely where Gilmore caught it. In other Pats-COVID news, practice squad defensive lineman Bill Murray has been confirmed to have the virus and has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list with Gilmore and Newton.
The Patriots are one of a few teams who has lost players to the virus, so in response to the number of rising positives, the NFL has placed some new guidelines.
What is interesting for Patriots fans is that the NFL removed the 5 day waiting period for asymptomatic players, meaning that if a player can test negative twice in shorter period of time, the may be able to play, instead of 2 negative tests over 5 days. With this in mind, Cam Newton just might be able to play against the Denver Broncos and with all due respect, I don’t think any Pats fan wants to see Hoyer (or Stidham to an extent) start again this season. As for Gilmore, the Patriots have plenty of depth at corner; JC Jackson, Jason McCourty Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams and they may even bring undrafted standout, Myles Bryant up from the practice squad. So at least cornerback should be fine, with that all eyes turn to Cam Newton to see if he will suit up against Denver on Sunday, anything is possible.
The Patriots drop to 2-2 after a horrid loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Cam Newton was out with COVID-19, so Brian Hoyer got the starting nod from Belichick, to put it mildly, Hoyer was awful. His worst moments came in the end of the 2nd quarter, where he froze in the pocket and took a sack when he had ample time to throw the ball away, then he called a timeout that New England didn’t have. While taking a sack in that spot is never good… he did it again in the 3rd quarter in Chiefs territory which killed the drive.
Hoyer was rightly benched in the 3rd quarter for Jarrett Stidham, who opened with a touchdown to N’Keal Harry, before throwing 2 interceptions (one wasn’t his fault though, Edelman dropped a pass that fell to a defender). Long story short, they needed Newton and everyone who watched the game, fan, player, or sports personality, knew that New England would have won the game if Newton was healthy.
While the backup quarterback play was painful to watch, the other half to why they lost was the officiating. Yes, it’s a trite excuse to blame the refs, but goodness were they atrocious. Let’s start with Kansas City committing blatant pass interference on N’Keal Harry on a crucial 3rd down and not getting called. Damien Harris getting throttled while out of bounds went “unnoticed”, there was even a flag thrown, but the penalty was walked back. Then, the crown jewel of 2020 NFL referee incompetence (so far) was an obvious Patrick Mahomes fumble that was ruled a sack and whistled dead. Not only was Mahomes nowhere close to being down, it fell right into the hands of a defender, so it never touched the ground, to me, that was the turning point of the game.
If there is anything to take away from this showing, it that the defense is still strong, surrendering 19 total points (7 came from a pick six). Many sources even believe that the Patriots have set the blueprint for how to slow down the Chiefs offense, after keeping Mahomes to under 300 yards and Travis Kelce under 100 yards and 0 touchdowns. Next, the Patriots will have to face the Denver Broncos in New England and while it is a long shot, Cam Newton may be back in time for the game.
There are many who believe that Patriots 1st rounders Sony Michel and N’Keal Harry are draft busts, this is not the case. N’Keal Harry is only in his sophomore season and Sony Michel is in his 3rd season and has proven himself to be a capable running back. These are their stats so far this season: Sony Michel has 173 yards and 1 touchdown through 3 games. Though this may not be too impressive, it is important to note that the Patriots use a running back by committee. N’Keal harry has 15 catches and 145 yards through 3 games.
Some may point out to Michel and Harry’s injury woes and while that is true, they’re still young and it’s unfair to give them the “bust” label. Michel has ran for over 900 yards in each of his 1st two seasons and carried the Patriots past the Chargers, Chiefs, and Rams in his rookie season. The offensive line has been injured this season and last season, so it makes sense why his numbers aren’t as great, but he has still been the Patriots’ lead back and at this point in time he is only getting warmed up, especially after an 100 yard performance against the Raiders.
N’Keal Harry is an interesting case. He was injured for over half of the season after being drafted and rarely was thrown to when healthy, which is strange as New England drafted a receiver for Tom Brady but Brady insisted on throwing only to Julian Edelman. Now with Cam Newton, Harry has seen more targets and has found more success in the new Patriots offense. With Edelman playing in his 12th season, the Patriots like what they have in N’Keal Harry and he may be the new WR1 in the coming years. he has impeccable chemistry with Cam Newton and this will continue to help Harry develop as a receiver.
With the two of them in New England’s new look offense, they will grow and develop into an important part of the team. Make no mistake, they have a bright future and with Cam Newton leading the way, they will continue to make strides.
The Patriots had a bigtime bounce back against the Las Vegas Raiders in New England and handed the Raiders their first loss on the season. First and foremost, it’s a fair bet that most Patriots fans were worried after the first half, (I know I was) but the Pats silenced all questions in the second half with a deadly ground and pound offense. By the start of the 4th quarter New England was up 23-10 and as a fan, it felt like the game was almost decided. The passing attack wasn’t as sharp as last week, with Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry battling injuries, but plays were made when needed, it wasn’t the cleanest passing day, but a win is a win.
On the other hand, the running game is as deadly as ever. Sony Michel had a big day, toting the rock 9 times for 117 yards and JJ Taylor and Cam Newton added 43 and 27 yards respectively. However, today’s star was Rex Burkhead, who had 49 rushing yards, 49 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns, 1 receiving and 2 rushing, his hat trick propelling them to their second win of the season. Things were spotty on the defensive side of the ball, opposing quarterback Derek Carr had a respectable performance (and a garbage time touchdown to pad his stats). Stephon Gilmore struggled less this game, but a pass interference call did not help. The pass rush made plays when it mattered, with Chase Winovich forcing a fumble and Deatrich Wise Jr. recovering a ball in the end zone for a defensive touchdown. The defense did it’s job by limiting the opportunities for Vegas’ playmakers, holding Josh Jacobs to 71 yards and Darren Waller to 2 catches, which threw the Raiders off, relying mostly on Hunter Renfrow.
The biggest factor in victory
The rushing attack: Burkhead saved the day for the Patriots and made some fantasy owners very happy. With 96 total yards and 3 touchdowns, his effort helped the Patriots overcome their early struggles. Michel averaged 13.3 yards per carry and ran up and down the Las Vegas defense with 117 yards, ripping off big plays and breaking tackles in a strong second half. It is also worth mentioning that Cam Newton is now 2nd all time in quarterback rushing yards (4,881), right behind Michael Vick (6,109).
Next week the Patriots will face one of the leagues hottest teams, the reigning champion, Kansas City Chiefs, in Kansas City, a good test for the Patriots to see if they can stop/keep up with the KC offense.