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Not sure there's much room for over analysis when they kicked our asses for the first thirty minutes. We got bailed out by mistakes from a mediocre team for the second straight week. Taking anything from it, we stayed tough mentally...but aside from that it was a horror show. We came out completely flat on both sides of the ball, the coaching decisions we made in the first half worked horribly, and Brady looked awful for a good portion of the game. We absolutely can't play like that against good teams...and Miami beating a few other crappy teams doesn't tell me that they're worth trumpeting the virtues of.
Possible playoff games (best to worst):
I really feel most of those should be an automatic win. The Jets have the hardest road of all teams (3 of the 32 possible situations get them in and the most likely 16 [ie, Denver winning] give them only 1 chance to get it... win and basically have everyone else lose).
The Bengals are by far most likely second round matchup. So Andy Dalton should prepare to become the greatest playoff QB ever (his first two games will be against the sorry Texans and the awful Patriots D)
I don't mind the Pats struggling a bit against the Dolphins. They flipped a switch and won the game. I'd like to see them put a solid effort together all-around against the Bills so they have good energy going into the BYE, but everything with this team is about showing up for the playoffs. They absolutely have to show up there. With this team, games in the regular season are fairly meaningless.
Lately it seems like none of the defensive tackle/defensive end prospects are going to be good enough fits for Bill Belichick's taste. Brandon Thompson seems like the most likely first-round option because of his brute strength and ability to command double teams but Thompson also struggles to disengage while occupied by two blockers. Fletcher Cox has brute strength and versatility between 4-3 and 3-4 fronts but does not play with an effective pad level and is easily knocked off balance; Cox is dominated by double-teams. Jerel Worthy projects as a 4-3 defensive tackle who can anchor against the run and flashes elite quickness off the line of scrimmage but would most likely end up filling Albert Haynesworth's projected role with the team; is a rotational player worth a first-round pick? Devon Still is disruptive against the pass and can knife into the backfield but has serious medical concerns after tearing his ACL and MCL in 2007 and breaking his ankle in 2008; Still does not play with leverage against the run and only gave consistent effort in a "contract" year. Dontari Poe is a small-school prospect who has massive size but is very raw and his height prevents him from anchoring as well as expected from a man his size; Poe disappeared during a number of games this season. Does anyone else think New England is going to put off drafting a top five-technique prospect for another year?
lol. ESPN Boston has some of the dumbest writers on the block.
"Mayo missed 2 weeks and Spikes missed like 7..."
That's because MCL sprains come in 3 grades: 1, 2, and 3. If it were 3 - Mankins (and every other NFL player) would be on IR right now. If it were grade 2, he'd probably be IR'd as well because the best case scenario for return would probably be the Super Bowl week.
A reasonable grade 1 sprain can take a week to fully heal as long as you stay off of it and treat it properly. NE doesn't need to win this game to be in good position. Just a bye is helpful. The home field advantage stuff is just icing on the cake, worst case scenario.