So... what was that again about Tom Brady and a cliff?
Seems the Patriots veteran QB earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors (30-39, 447 yds, 3 TDs) setting the record at 28 for most times receiving that award. Not too shabby, eh? Whoever put him out to pasture last week (Nick Wright? Max Kellerman?) might want to bring him back in, at least for now.
With Houston on tap for Week 3 and Carolina in Week 4, followed by a trip to Tampa Bay to face the Bucs on a short week, New England’s offense will face much stiffer, physical defenses than what the Saints could muster. The upcoming three-games-in-18-days stretch will be challenging. As far as this Sunday goes, the Pats and Texans are fairly familiar with each other and I’m predicting the final score will be familiar too, even with the latest injury report looking eerily similar to the starting lineup.
**[Edited to correct the Pats schedule. I skipped over the Panthers]
Around the AFC East:
New England (1-1) vs. Houston (1-1)
Miami (1-0) at NY Jets (0-2)
Buffalo (1-1) vs. Denver (2-0)
Kansas City (2-0) at LA Chargers (0-2)
Pittsburgh (2-0) at Chicago (0-2)
Baltimore (2-0) vs. Jacksonville (1-1)
Oakland (2-0) at Washington (1-1)
Tennessee (1-1) vs. Seattle (1-1)
Cincinnati (0-2) at Green Bay (1-1)
Cleveland (0-2) at Indianapolis (0-2)
1st - Mark Cannizzaro (NY Post): Big rebound road win over Saints Sunday and suddenly the sky is no longer falling in New England. Even with mounting injuries, they remain the class of the league. As great as Tom Brady is, New England running backs have combined for a league-high 385 yards from scrimmage.
1st - Chris Simms (Bleacher Report): The New England Patriots put on an offensive display against the Saints. Of course, they weren't facing a great defense in New Orleans, but Tom Brady was phenomenal, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had an incredible game plan. ...
2nd - Joe Giglio (NJ.com): The surest bet in pro sports: Tom Brady after a loss.
3rd - Joshua Schrock (NESN): The defending Super Bowl champions rebounded from their Week 1 loss by shredding the lowly Saints. If tight end Rob Gronkowski remains healthy, New England has more than enough talent to repeat.
3rd - MMQB Power Poll (SI).
3rd - Elliot Harrison (NFL.com): So much for the demise of the Patriots. Felt so much pressure from the comments section of this article, Twitter and Maurice Jones-Drew on the "NFL Power Rankings" show to move New England further down, and I wouldn't do it. The most encouraging sign from Sunday's win in New Orleans -- one of the tougher venues in which to pull such a thing off -- was the re-emergence of Rob Gronkowski, who was effectively neutralized in Week 1 by Kansas City (and specifically, Eric Berry). Hopefully, Gronk, who suffered a groin injury in the victory, will be active this week. Gronk like touchdowns. Gronk like candy.
3rd - Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk): Nice. /That’s it?!?
3rd - Manish Mehta (NY Daily News): Tom Brady sure did look like a decrepit over-the-hill quarterback, who definitely needs to hang 'em up, right? TB12 carved up the paltry Saints defense en route to the third most prolific passing day (447 yards) of his 18-year career. Maybe 40 really is the new 30. Or maybe Brady runs on batteries. Newsflash: The Patriots are far from done.
4th - Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports): Not every question was answered, but this was mostly the Patriots team we expected to see. I still believe this is likely the best team in football, or will establish itself as such by the end of the season.
4th - Mark Maske (Washington Post): Tom Brady is back to being Tom Brady, rather than the impostor who found his way on the field during the opening loss to the Chiefs. Brady took out his frustrations on the Saints’ defense and the Patriots looked like their old, reliable selves. But the injuries are piling up, with TE Rob Gronkowski, RB Rex Burkhead and WRs Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett all hurt Sunday. Still, as long as Brady is on the field, the Patriots remain among the AFC’s top contenders. He and Coach Bill Belichick will find a way to make things work.
4th - Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): Completion percentage is at an all-time high, but watchability is trending in the other direction. Why has the 2017 NFL season been such a slog?
4th - Experts (ESPN): Tom Brady reminded everyone in Week 2 that he is still, in fact, Tom Brady, and that alone is reason for optimism. But another reason for optimism is the Patriots' stable of running backs, who have combined for a league-best 385 yards from scrimmage this season. James White, Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead are all producing early on.
4th - Kevin Dillon (MassLive): That was more like it. The Patriots scored early and often against the Saints, as Tom Brady finished with 447 passing yards and three touchdowns in a bounce-back win. The biggest question surrounding the Patriots is whether they have any receivers left after a number of injuries. If Rob Gronkowski misses any time, New England could be in trouble.
5th - Staff (AP Pro32).
6th - Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): You knew you were going to get that Tom Brady in New Orleans, making things look Big Easy again no matter what injuries befell them. Now it's time for the defense to regroup and make a notable statement.
6th - Staff (USA Today): Rumors of Tom Brady's demise were, of course, exaggerated. He could've thrown 12 TD passes against New Orleans if Bill Belichick had let him.
AVERAGE RANK: 3.5 (+1.1)