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  • Week 3 Monday Night Football: Patriots rooting guide, how to watch, open thread
    by Bernd Buchmasser on September 24, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images The final game of Week 3 is here. For New England Patriots, Week 3 of the regular season is already in the books — the team defeated the visiting New York Jets with a final score of 30-14. Tonight’s primetime game is therefore a relaxing affair, and a chance to scout a team that is on New England’s schedule later this year. So what does this mean for the club? And who should Patriots fans root for? Let’s find out: Chicago Bears (1-1) at Washington Redskins (0-2) When: 8:15 p.m. ET Where: FedEx Field, Landover MD Television: ESPN Live streaming: fuboTV (sign up here) Patriots rooting guide: Go Washington! The Patriots will play the Redskins in Week 5, so today’s game has an impact on two potential playoff tiebreakers: strength of schedule and, if New England wins in two weeks, strength of victory. A Bears loss would have two more effects as well: it would also hurt the strength of schedule/victory for one of the team’s main rivals in the AFC — the Kansas City Chiefs — and improve the standing of the fourth-round pick in 2020 that Chicago traded to the Patriots during this year’s draft.

  • What placing James Develin on injured reserve means for the Patriots
    by Bernd Buchmasser on September 23, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images Related: Patriots place fullback James Develin on injured reserve The New England Patriots have one of the deepest and most talented rosters in all of football, but it is continuously getting challenged just three weeks into the regular season. After already losing the likes of David Andrews and Brandon King to season-ending ailments, the world champions have since had to place Isaiah Wynn and N’Keal Harry on injured reserve as well. Today, another player joined them. New England has placed fullback James Develin on injured reserve today because of a neck injury he suffered in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins. The veteran already missed Sunday’s game against the New York Jets because of the issue, and will now be out for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, let’s dig a little deeper and find out what Develin going to IR means for the player and the Patriots as a whole. The Patriots take Develin’s injury quite seriously According to a report by The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, Develin is dealing with a muscle and disc issue in his upper back/neck area — one that was looked at by multiple doctors over the course of the last week. While the injury itself is not believed to be too serious and leaves the door open for a potential return this season, the timeline for a recovery remains unclear at this point. The Patriots are playing it safe by shutting the 31-year-old down for now, while taking a wait-and-see approach as it relates to his injury. He will miss at least the next eight weeks NFL teams are allowed to return players from injured reserve if they get moved to the list after cutdown day. Develin therefore becomes eligible for that treatment, but not before having spent at least eight weeks on IR. After six of them, he would be allowed to return to practice. Two weeks later — which would be ahead of New England’s Week 12 game against the Dallas Cowboys — the team would then have to make a decision: activate him or keep him on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. All of that is only relevant, of course, if the Patriots think that Develin can return to the field at all in 2019. One of Develin, Isaiah Wynn and N’Keal Harry will not return this season Teams are only allowed to bring two players back off injured reserve per season. As things currently stand, however, three Patriots are eligible — and all three could have a major impact upon returning: Develin is one of the NFL’s best fullbacks and an important piece of the team’s running game and kicking game operations; Isaiah Wynn is the team’s starting left tackle; N’Keal Harry is a promising first-round rookie receiver. At least one of the three men will end his season on injured reserve, which means that some tough decisions are waiting for Bill Belichick and company. New England’s running game takes a hit The Patriots have had a tough time moving the football on the ground through the first three weeks of the regular season, especially because of inconsistent blocking up front. Develin, one of the best lead blockers in all of football, would have helped in this regard but will now have to watch the team try to figure out another way of kickstarting their rushing attack. Needless to say that him being out complicates matters significantly. Jakob Johnson will see a bigger role moving forward With Develin out of the picture for at least eight weeks, the Patriots are expected to turn to Jakob Johnson to fill his spot on the team — just like he did on Sunday against the Jets. The first-year man, who came to New England via the NFL’s International Pathway program, is a clear downgrade from Develin and lacks his experience but has apparently shown notable development at this stage early in his career. The team therefore promoted him from the practice squad to the active roster last week, and he will likely stay there for the time being. His workload, however, is expected to increase significantly after Johnson played a mere two snaps on offense and six in the kicking game against New York. The Patriots have one open spot on their 53-man roster Shortly after the news of Develin’s trip to injured reserve broke, the Patriots made the move official — creating an open spot on their active roster. How will it be filled? With Johnson on the team already, it appears unlikely that another fullback gets added. Instead, the team will likely target an area of need which means that wide receiver or tight end (at least until Benjamin Watson returns from his suspension after Week 4) could be atop the list of priorities.

  • Patriots place fullback James Develin on injured reserve
    by Bernd Buchmasser on September 23, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images New England loses its fullback at least for the next six weeks. The New England Patriots entered their Week 3 game against the New York Jets with one player having been ruled out on the final injury report: fullback James Develin was unable to participate in practice all week long because of a neck injury, and subsequently declared out. As it now turns out, the game against the Patriots’ division rivals will not be the only one the veteran will miss this season. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Patriots will place Develin on injured reserve. Moving the 31-year-old from their active roster to the reserve list has some major implications both for Develin and New England’s offense as a whole considering how the team uses him: he usually serves as the lead blocker in the running game, works as a part-time tight end and ball carrier, and is a regular member of the Patriots’ special teams units. Needless to say that losing Develin for at least eight weeks — that is how long he will have to remain on injured reserve before potentially being named as on of the Patriots’ two return players — is a major blow to an offense that already has lost some players to injury: center David Andrews will miss the remainder of the year; left tackle Isaiah Wynn and wide receiver N’Keal Harry are also candidates to return off IR. With Develin now out for the foreseeable future, recently promoted Jakob Johnson is expected to remain on the 53-man roster and play a bigger role moving forward than the two offensive snaps he saw against the Jets.

  • Injury update: Early signs encouraging when it comes to Julian Edelman’s chest injury
    by Bernd Buchmasser on September 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images Related: Julian Edelman leaves Patriots’ game against Jets with chest injury; will not return The New England Patriots celebrated another convincing victory on Sunday, when they defeated the visiting New York Jets with a final score of 30-14. Not all was quite as positive as the final score might indicate, however, as the team suffered multiple injuries along the way. Two of them stand out among the others: wide Julian Edelman suffered a chest injury in the second quarter; linebacker Dont’a Hightower hurt his shoulder in the fourth. While the severity of Hightower’s injury is not known at this point in time, it looks like Edelman and the Patriots may have dodged a bullet when it comes to his chest issue. Early signs are certainly encouraging, after all, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported: shortly after Sunday’s game, he pointed out that X-rays on Edelman’s chest were negative; on Monday he added that the reigning Super Bowl MVP “will be good.” The Patriots’ first practice report of the week — it will be released on Wednesday — will add more context to the situation, but the first reports coming out of Foxborough about the 33-year-old are positive. Edelman not suffering a major injury does of course mean that the team’s number one pass catcher in terms of playing time, receptions and yards will probably be available again sooner rather than later. With Edelman out, New England turned to Jakobi Meyers to fill the vacant spot in three-receiver sets alongside Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett II. The undrafted rookie fared well against the New York Jets, but is obviously a downgrade from the veteran receiver that enjoys quarterback Tom Brady’s trust like few, if any, other players.

  • Bill Belichick will keep the Patriots defense humble despite its historic start
    by Ryan Spagnoli on September 23, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports The Patriots defense has been historically good this season, but longtime team captain Devin McCourty knows that Bill Belichick will “find a flaw.” The New England Patriots defense continued to shine yesterday with a 30-14 win over a division rival, the New York Jets. After the two touchdowns allowed were off a muffed punt by Gunner Olszewski and a Jarrett Stidham pick-six, the team’s defense set a record becoming the first team in the Super Bowl era to not allow a touchdown in its first three games of the season. It also set a franchise record by allowing the fewest points to open up a season. Despite facing star running back Le’Veon Bell, who the Patriots held to just 69 total yards on 23 touches, New England’s defense allowed the Jets to gain just 105 yards of total offense — the fewest yards allowed in Bill Belichick’s 20 seasons as the team’s head coach. The Patriots certainly have been good against the Jets and in their two previous games, and they stand out even when stacked against some of the league’s best ever defenses: Notable defenses through first 3 games:'85 #Bears: 3 W's 59 points, 958 yards, 8 TO'91 #Eagles: 2 W's, 29 points, 615 yards, 11 TO'00: #Ravens: 2 W's, 55 points, 902 yards, 6 TO'13 #Seahawks: 3 W's, 27 points, 725 yards, 10 TO'19 #Patriots: 3 W's, 3 points, 597 yards, 6 TO— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) September 23, 2019 With the Patriots’ opponents this season a combined 0-9 so far, however, safety Devin McCourty knows that Belichick will not allow the unit to get ahead of itself. “If you ever sit in a Bill Belichick meeting, don’t worry, he’ll find it. We’ll come in here tomorrow and he’ll have it broken down,” McCourty said of the team’s defensive holes during his postgame press conference. “Whether it’s run technique, whether it’s pass-rush games up front, leveraging coverage, depth on the safeties on the half-field, on the middle. All of those fundamentals he’ll have down.” Belichick’s ability to stress taking it one week at a time, no matter who lines up under center for the opponent, has this defense expecting perfection. Jamie Collins Sr. has led the front seven while McCourty and Stephon Gilmore lead the talented secondary as the Patriots defense has forced opponents to go three-and-out on 13 out of 37 drives this season; it also has forced a punt or turnover on downs on 89% of drives. The Patriots defense will look to continue this remarkable run as they travel to a tough environment this Sunday to face the 3-0 Buffalo Bills. They will then head to Washington before returning home for a Thursday night showdown with the Daniel Jones-led New York Giants. The streak is going to end at some point, however, this defense is oozing with confidence and has a swagger to it that makes it near impossible for opposing offenses to find success.


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