There is a scenario in which the Patriots do not win the AFC East this year.
If the Bills come into Foxboro on Saturday (4:30 p.m., WBZ) and take down the Pats, if the Pats lose their Week 17 home game against the Dolphins, and if the Bills take care of business at home against the Jets in Week 17 – then will we have the first non-Patriots AFC East winner in 11 years.
Buffalo could very well grab a victory this coming weekend, given how well its defense is playing and given how mediocre the New England offense has looked lately.
Tom Brady hasn’t posted a game with a 100.0 passer rating since Week 5 at Washington, and in Sunday’s 34-13 win over the Bengals he passed for a season-low 128 yards.
Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott has proven to be something of a Brady-stopper, too, as last year (also in Week 16 at home) Brady turned in his worst performance of 2018 (13-of-24 for 126 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTS for a passer rating of 48.3).
In the one meeting so far this season, McDermott’s D also flustered Brady – holding him to 18-of-39 passing for 150 yards, zero TDs and a pick.
Say this for Brady, though. He does not (as Mike Tomlin said about Mason Rudolph) “kill” the Patriots. In fact, he’s on pace for his lowest interception total in a season since 2015.
Also, Brady hasn’t thrown more than one interception in a game once this season.
Last year, Brady had four games in which he threw multiple interceptions.
Sony Run Man
Sony Michel and the Patriots rushing attack looked relatively strong against the Bengals on Sunday as the second year man rushed for 89 yards on 19 carries and the Pats offense registered 175 yards on 32 carries total.
Rex Burkhead, who came up huge in the postseason for the Pats last year, has his best game of the season as well as he rushed for 53 yards on six attempts (8.8 yards per carry). He also found the end zone for the first time since Week 3 against the Jets, when Isaiah Wynn, Matt LaCosse and Shaq Mason opened up a huge lane.
The Pats’ run game found its identity late in the season last year, so hopefully for Bill Belichick’s crew we’re seeing some déjà vu.
Latest on video tape scandal
The Kraft Sports and Entertainment producer responsible for the Bengals sideline video gaffe nine days ago, released a statement on Sunday night giving his side of the story. David Mondillo, who has been suspended by Kraft Sports and Entertainment for the incident, said the following:
“On December 8th I was doing what I have done for more than 18 years – working to produce high quality content that tells the unique, behind-the-scenes stories of people, players and the organization. It never occurred to me that my actions and the actions of my crew would be misconstrued. Our department was charged with completing four Do Your Job segments before the end of the year. One of the segments was to follow a pro scout throughout his week to show the audience what his job entails. Before the shoot began, I obtained permission and received credentials and a parking pass for Sunday’s game. With permission in hand, we started taping on December 6th – following the scout’s travel through the weekend to Cleveland and obtained footage of him working in his hotel room and interviewed him about his job. The final element needed to complete the story was to shoot from the press box at Progressive Field to show the audience what his responsibilities are on game day. We went directly to the press box and set up our camera to get the footage we needed. We interviewed and shot the Patriots scout sitting in a chair watching the action and panned back and forth from him to what he was seeing on the sidelines. We also took footage of the field as the intent was to show what he was looking at when he looked through his binoculars watching the game. At that point, I went to the restroom and when I came back, my cameraman was told to stop shooting by someone from the NFL and he was joined by two others from the Bengals organization and an additional NFL security person. We stopped shooting immediately when asked to do so and cooperated fully. We had a detailed exchange about who we were and why we were there and what they wanted us to do. I gave the Sony SXS card to NFL security and we complied with their request, packed up and went home. I had no intention to provide footage to football operations, I did not provide any footage, and I was never asked to do so.”