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New England Patriots links 12/29/17 - Stats: Red zone defense tightens up in critical situations

Daily news and links for Friday

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Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images



  • Tom E. Curran previews the New York Jets who come into Foxboro having lost 8 of 10 with their usual shaky QB situation.
  • Nick O'Malley gives us a breakdown by position to see who has the edge in Sunday's matchup.
  • Nick O'Malley points out 15 observations in advance of Pats-Jets: ‘If I bet you $5, could you name what team Mark Sanchez plays for now?’
  • Michael Hurley is a tad concerned with Tom Brady's December drop-off. He doubts that Brady is fully healthy, or even close to it, and believes it’s affecting his play.
  • Mike Reiss says Tom Brady has noted his high level of trust in Malcolm Mitchell and his return opens the door for him to possibly contribute in the playoffs.
  • Steve Balestrieri (PatsFans) What can we expect from Malcolm Mitchell at this point of 2017?
  • Mark Daniels puts Brandin Cooks on the exclusive and hard-to-make list of Tom Brady’s favorite receivers.
  • Jeff Howe writes about the Patriots linemen enjoying tasty visits to Shaq Mason's 'pancake house'.
  • Mike Reiss reports the Patriots practiced outside in preparation for what is expected to be one of the coldest home games in franchise history Sunday.
  • Mike Reiss notes Rob Gronkowski was not spotted at practice. Alan Branch, Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead also weren't on the practice field either.
  • Adam Kurkjian relays the players' thoughts on staying warm while remaining flexible in frigid temps.
  • Nick O'Malley offers some statistics that show the dominance of New England's red zone defense in critical situations.
  • Mark Farinella writes how Trey Flowers is in the unique position these days of being both mentor and student, and he relishes both roles.
  • Chad Finn understands why everyone's talking about James Harrison, but calls out some unsung mainstays more worthy of notice.
  • Phil Perry notes James Harrison's career path quickly earns him respect in a locker room loaded with underdogs.
  • Ron Borges states that if James Harrison can't provide the edge, he'll be gone.
  • Ryan Hannable notes Bill Belichick added a touch more detail on the signing of James Harrison: “Well, he was available. It is hard to get players at this time of year that have that kind of ability to help a team. We got that a couple of weeks ago with Kenny Britt and so things just worked out. We’ll see how it goes.”
  • Jeff Howe Patriots Notebook: Tom Brady’s back, Rob Gronkowski’s out at practice.
  • Mark Farinella Patriots Notebook: Jets' safeties to dance with Gronk.
  • Zack Cox Patriots Notes: This New England special teamer is turning heads with his big hits.
  • Jeff Howe goes three-and-out in his Friday Football Mailbag: Picking an all-time Patriots fantasy roster.
  • Doug Kyed Patriots Mailbag: Steelers' smear campaign against James Harrison is bizarre.
  • Ryan Hannable looks at potential playoff opponents to see who the Patriots would rather avoid in the divisional round.
  • Matt Chatham (BlogTalkRadio) Real Thing Patriots Podcast: Patriots-Bills Part 2 review; Plus Jets, Jets, Jets finale preview. (1 hour, 28 min.)
  • Russ Goldman (PatsFans) Patriots Fourth and Two Podcast: James Harrison signs and Jets preview. (65 min.)
  • Zack Cox Patriots 2017 year in review: Super Bowl glory and the long quest to repeat.
  • Hayden Bird takes a look back at the truly unique year of 2017, and the most important Boston sports moments from it.
  • Joshua Schrock relays ESPN Insider Mike Sando's bold predictions for 2018: Bill Belichick to coach the Giants. /Soooo dumb.
  • Jim Lazar says Belichick has lost his damn mind by signing 'enemy among us' James Harrison, and makes his Week 17 picks. Pats win 31-13.


  • Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) Tom Brady back at practice, Rob Gronkowski out sick.
  • Kalyn Kahler (SI) How the NFL is watched.
  • Bill Barnwell (ESPN) 2017 NFL season alternate universe - What bizarro timeline might have looked like.
  • Marc Sessler ( Marcus Mariota among seven people who matter most in Week 17.
  • Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) Week 17 NFL schedule intrigues: Russell Wilson vs. resurgent Cardinals D, plus more interesting things to watch.
  • Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Dean Blandino: NFL didn’t properly value the V.P. of officiating job.
  • NFL Films Presents ( Bill Belichick and Rick Forzano. (6.29 min. video)
  • MMQB Staff (SI) Best of the NFL 2017: Year-end memories.
  • NFL Films ( It's NFL Films' 50th anniversary of placing mics on players and coaches; Vote for which NFL star is the #BestMicdUp.
  • Elliot Harrison ( NFL Week 17 game picks: Patriots win 27-13.
  • Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) PFT’s Week 17 picks. Florio picks Patriots 27-10; MDS picks Patriots 33-17.
  • Sports Staff (USA Today) Week 17 NFL picks. 5 of 5 pick Pats to win.