It’s almost unfair. It is unfair. In a down year for most NFL teams, the New England Patriots are finding their stride late in the year, like they always do. It sure did not look like it five weeks ago, when the Seattle Seahawks came into Foxborough and punched this team in the mouth. They did not look good when the score was 13-10 after three quarters of play against the now 1-13 San Francisco 49ers. So when did it turn around?
Three weeks ago, at MetLife Stadium, with two minutes remaining in the game against the rival New York Jets, Tom Brady throws a touchdown pass to rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell to put the Patriots up 5 points. The defense needed to make a play. A defense that has failed to make plays all season long, prior to that game, needed to seal the win. Free agent acquisition Chris Long made the play, stripping quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on a sack, and the Patriots recovered.
Next week, the Los Angeles Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff came into town, coming off a game where he threw for three touchdowns and had a quarterback rating of over 100. The Patriots defense made Goff look like he was a high school quarterback, notching four sacks on the rookie and picking him off twice. The Rams offense, by no means, is a decent offense. Allowing 97 total yards of offense through 56 minutes of play though, is no small achievement.
The next week was the real test. The Baltimore Ravens, coming off of a dominating 38-6 win over the Miami Dolphins, were coming into Foxborough, a place they have never feared. The number one defense, looking to get revenge on the team that knocked them out of the playoffs two years ago. Tom Brady & co. looking to get revenge on the team that warned the Colts about the possibility of the Patriots using under inflated football. It was supposed to be a dog fight game, as both teams are fighting for playoff positioning.
It was not even close. The final score may have indicated otherwise, but Cyrus Jones and Matthew Slater made that possible, as their special teams gaffes pulled the game within 6 points. The Patriots offense struggled on the ensuing possessions, as they punted after gaining one first down on two possessions. The defense held up though, allowing only one field goal on the next two Ravens’ drives. It was time for Brady and the offense to make a play, and they made the play of the game. Brady found Chris Hogan down the middle of the field for a 79 yard touchdown, and the Patriots took care of business.
The next week was no small task either. The New England Patriots played the Denver Broncos, at Sports Authority Field. Brady’s record at Denver prior to this matchup? 2-7. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware still haunt Brady, after combining for 3 sacks, the last time they met for the right to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50. The Broncos defense, while not at the all-time great level they were playing at last year, is still a top defensive unit. It was game on.
For the first time since November 28th of 2004, the Patriots won a game when Tom Brady completed 50% of his passes, threw for under 200 yards, had a passer rating under 70 with 0 touchdowns. They had lost 7 straight, prior to Sunday’s win, under those conditions. The Patriots were able to win by running the ball, playing shutdown defense and control the clock. Dion Lewis rushed for 95 yards on 18 carries, the defense did not allow points on 11 of Denver’s 12 drives (including five straight 3 & outs to start the second half) and won the time of possession battle 34-26.
The offense, even without Gronk, is still capable of putting up 30 points against the number one ranked defense. The defense, while not as talented as other top defenses in the league, is first in points allowed/game. They have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. In a down year for almost every team in the National Football League, the New England Patriots truly do look unstoppable.
Judge Blocks Release of Robert Kraft Spa Video
Apparently that reportedly “damning” video of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s visit to the infamous Orchids of Asia Day Spa, where he allegedly received sexual services, won’t be reaching the public just yet.
The Assistant State Attorney in Palm Beach County has filed new court documents saying that he is obligated to release the footage, involving Kradt and shot inside the Day Spa, to the media as a matter of law.
However, Florida 15th Judicial Circuit Court Joseph Marx has blocked the release of the video for now, according to ABC News.
“I don’t want this released until I’ve ruled,” Marx said in an emergency hearing on a conference call with the two parties and the media late Wednesday afternoon.
Under Florida’s so-called “Sunshine” law, any records made or received by any public agency in the course of its official business are available for inspection, unless specifically exempted by the Florida Legislature, per the report.
Florida state officials said that they would “pixelate or blur depictions of obscene or pornographic images before releasing such records to the public, absent a court order.”
Kraft’s lawyers filed a letter to the judge in court records to apprise him of what they described as “an extraordinary and alarming development involving what appears to be gross prosecutorial misconduct” and accused law enforcement officials of trying to circumvent the judgment of the court.
The plot continues to thicken, but for now, Kraft’s video is locked away from the public.
Florida Prosecutors Offer to Drop Robert Kraft’s Solicitation Charges
Prosecutors in Florida have offered to drop solicitation of prostitution charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft if he agrees to admit that he would have been proven guilty had he gone to trial to fight the charges, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Beaton.
Kraft, 77, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of first-degree solicitation after he was allegedly caught on camera paying for, and receiving, oral and manual sex at the infamous Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.
One of the incidents allegedly occurred back in January on the morning of the Patriots’ AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs, which the Patriots won en route to their Super Bowl victory.
According to the report, prosecutors have offered the same deal to the other men charged in the sting. Beaton considered the offer “unusual” (h/t NBC Sports Boston).
Additionally, if Kraft decides to take the deal, the Patriots owner will have to complete an education course about prostitution, complete 100 hours of community service, and undergo screening for sexually transmitted diseases.
According to ESPN, Kraft is one of 200 people that allegedly engaged in sex acts at Florida massage parlors that were targeted in the sting.
Kraft has denied the allegations.
Tom Brady And Pats Play Record 8th AFC Championship Game, Seek 6th Superbowl
It’s Championship Sunday and one of the NFL staples remain atop the league. The New England Patriots are appearing in their record 8th AFC title game in hopes of competing for a sixth title.
A season that most organizations would be happy with, was one of challenge for the Patriots. Usually a top tier team, they suffered bad losses to the Jaguars, Titans and Dolphins. However, in Patriot fashion along a weak AFC East, the Patriots finished 11-5, won a 10th straight conference title and secured a first round bye.
Kansas City will host New England in the AFC Championship game in what is a rematch from week six. That game featured an offensive clinic , As reported by CBS Boston, Brady went 24-35 passing for 340 yards and touchdown in that game; Mahomes went 23-36 passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. The AFC Championship could very well play out the same way.
The Chiefs will be a tough out, They won their first home playoff game in 25 years last week against the Colts and are riding one of the most prolific offenses in history behind quarterback whisperer Andy Reid and phenome Patrick Mahomes who is arguably the NFLs best young QB.
In what is a David and Goliath matchup, Brady seems to imply they are the underdog. As he told CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, “I know everyone thinks we suck and, you know, cant win games,”. Will the dynasty continue? Or will Reid and Mahomes hoist the Lombardi?
I’m leaning towards the game plan of Bill Belichick and veteran experience of Tom Brady in this one. I think a Patriot/Saints matchup is in order. Either way, it will undoubtedly be one for the ages.
Game Time: Sunday January 20th at 6:40ET/5:40CT on CBS.
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