Plenty to digest from the weekend’s slate of games. Most importantly, the Patriots now have a two game lead in the AFC East. Without Tom Brady. Yup.
One more against the Bills at home, and then our sweet prince shall return and all will be right with the football world once again.
Across the AFC the usual suspects are rising to the top of heap early in the season.
The Broncos and Ravens are the other two AFC undefeateds at 3-0. As much as I was hoping the Broncos would be QB-less in 2016, Trevor Siemian has done all the Broncos need him to. He had 312 passing yards and four touchdowns against a defense that has been pretty well-respected the last few seasons. And it was on the road.
Each week teams get a little more familiar with Siemian on tape so I’ll be curious to see what Belichick throws at him in Denver in December. But if he can continue to play like this. the Pats and Broncos are once again on a collision course in the AFC Championship, with the only question being where it’s played.
The Ravens have squeaked out some close wins over some suspect teams (JAX, BUF. CLE) but I think they’re re-calibrating a bit. They’ll be better down the line if they can stay healthy. After the Steelers got blown out by the Eagles, Baltimore will be in contention to win the North. Their schedule is pretty soft until the last month (@NE, PHI, @PIT, @CIN).
Latest word on the Patriots’ quarterback situation came from Adam Schefter:
Even the New England Patriots are uncertain who will be starting at quarterback next Sunday vs. the Buffalo… https://t.co/xNWZhAUz5y
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 25, 2016
My money is on Brissett. He was throwing fine after sustaining the injury when a 370+ Vince Wilfork landed on his hand. Garoppolo’s shoulder pain should be better the coming week, but the joint is still very weak. After I had the same injury in high school, my collarbone was suddenly sticking out and would forever more click around when I swung my arm just right. It takes more than a couple weeks to get the full joint strong and functioning again. If Garoppolo goes he’ll be limited.
As always, I’m excited to see what Rex and Rob Ryan throw at the Patriots’ offense. Defensively, after what we saw against Houston, I’m expecting nothing less than a total shutdown of the Bills “offense”. If the Patriots don’t turn the ball over five times like the Cardinals did, they should be more than fine no matter who’s under center and with what effectiveness.
Things to watch this week: With the long break do we get Hightower back? Will Gronk’s role expand against the Bills? Is a quarterback (T.J. Yates?) signed? Will Jonathan Cooper see his first game action?
In case you missed it, we’re putting together a fun bus for Tom Brady’s first home game back on October 16th, against the Bengals. It will be the guys from Shit Pats Fans Say (Nick Stevens (aka “Fitzy”) and George Kippenhan) and yours truly. There will be giveaways and other fun and for less than you’d pay for parking, a party ride to and from the game. You can sign up here and use this discount code f7d929 to get $10 off ($41.81 total with code).
Hope you’ll join us!!