It’s been almost two weeks since the Patriots have won a game – a stretch of time that feels like forever around these parts.
Yes, the Broncos ended the Patriots perfect season last Sunday in Denver. But with the news that Rob Gronkowski would not miss the rest of the season with a major knee injury, it almost felt like the Patriots left Denver with a win anyways.
New England’s loss last week is probably bad news for this week’s opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles. Since 2003, The Patriots are 38-4 in regular-season games following a loss, including 11 straight wins after a loss since 2012. That’s right; there have been just four two-game losing streaks for the Patriots since 2003 – an incredibly impressive feat.
“Yeah, I think we all want to get back out there because it's been a long time since we've lost a meaningful game,” Tom Brady said earlier this week.
Here are three things to watch on Sunday (4:25p.m. kickoff, FOX 25):
1. Just stay healthy
Assuming it’s a violation of the league dress code, Tom Brady unfortunately won’t be able to jog out to the field covered in bubble wrap. It’s no secret that the walls have been crashing down around Brady recently, as it seems an integral player on the offense goes down every week. Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and most recently Rob Gronkowski have all been hit with the injury bug. Hearts stopped as Gronkowski writhed in pain on the ground last Sunday after being hit low. Brady would like to see something done about that. “You hate to see one of your guys take hits, and I do think they should change some of those rules with those defenseless receivers,” Brady said.
2. All three phases
If you forgot that special teams play can completely change the makeup of a game, you were reminded the hard way last Sunday upon Chris Harper’s muffed punt in the 4th quarter. The Eagles will prove to be challenging in that phase. They average 47.1 yards per punt (8th in NFL) and allow a league-low 4.7 yards per punt return. They average 10.9 yards per punt return (4th in NFL) too. “Special teams is probably the best unit we’ve faced all year,” Bill Belichick said. “They have great returners with [Josh] Huff and [Darren] Sproles, good specialists, they’re a really good cover team, good return team, good rush team, punt blocks, field goal blocks, they make a lot of plays.”
3. Eagles offense
The Eagles have been a disappointment this season, and at times even appear to have given up on head coach Chip Kelly. But believe it or not they do possess plenty of talent on the offensive end. It sounds like Sam