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New England Patriots links 1/16/19 - Defense develops distinct identity under Flores

Daily news and links for Wednesday

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Divisional Round - Los Angeles Chargers v New England Patriots
J.C. Jackson could be a big factor on Sunday
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images



  • Kevin Duffy points out how the defense developed a distinct identity in the final few months under Brian Flores: They’re solid on the back end, anchored by Stephon Gilmore. They don’t allow many big plays and are as creative and aggressive up front as ever.
  • Evan Lazar’s Film Review: How the Patriots made diversity their offensive identity.
  • Zack Cox dives into the Pats-Chiefs film to see what New England can learn from the Week 6 shootout.
  • Michael Hurley thinks we can expect another big day for Sony Michel on Sunday, who might be an even bigger factor than the weather.
  • Doug Kyed believes the Patriots may have a secret weapon to neutralize Tyreek Hill.
  • Ryan Hannable calls J. C Jackson, who didn’t even play in Week 6, the Patriots’ X-factor vs. the Chiefs.
  • Michael Hurley serves up some still-warm leftover thoughts: Julian Edelman is making his case for the Hall of Fame.
  • Mike Petraglia explains why there’s no real reason for the Patriots to fear any Arrowhead mystique.
  • NBC Sports Boston‘s Jerod Mayo adds the Arrowhead Field turf to the list of factors Pats should be concerned with on Sunday. “It was a huge problem... the grass would just come up all the time.”
  • Bob George (PatsFans) Patriots up against it in hostile Kansas City.
  • Phil Perry explains why Patrick Mahomes’ skill set will put the Patriots ‘plaster’ rules to the test.
  • Keith Pearson talks up Chiefs’ threat at running back, Damian Williams.
  • Tom Keegan raves about how fired up Kansas City is for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
  • Tom E. Curran writes ‘Andy Reid’s got an intimate appreciation for what he’s up against in Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots mystique. He’s hunting big game this week.’
  • Ian Logue (PatsFans) McGinest: Frigid playoff game against Titans sent players to the hospital.
  • Doug Kyed notes Bill Belichick spreads around praise for the team’s improved health.
  • Ryan Hannable relays Dont’a Hightower on how “it means a lot” to stay injury-free this season. /Means a lot to us too.
  • Michael Hurley provides a brief history of the Patriots on the road in the AFC Championship game.
  • Michael Hurley highlights how the Patriots have already accomplished more than most Super Bowl losers in history.
  • Jerry Thornton (Barstool Sports) The referee for the Patriots-Chiefs game is a deflategate co-conspirator.
  • Michael Hurley recalls the dubious history of AFC Championship game referee Clete Blakeman with the Patriots.
  • Phil Perry posts his Pats-Bolts Report Card: Patriots so thoroughly pummeled the Chargers for the vast majority of this one that the grades will be, for the most part, better than they’ve been all year.
  • Kevin Duffy Patriots Notebook: Chiefs’ blazing starts a concern.
  • Nick Goss posts the video from the Pats’ Twitter account highlighting some of the incorrect predictions/takes ESPN’s Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith made about last Sunday’s matchup.
  • Nick Goss hears NFL legend Eric Dickerson call for a Patriots-Rams Super Bowl rematch because Pats “cheated us” in 2001. /Re-watch the game, man.


  • Kevin Clark (The Ringer) Bill Belichick will need a master-class coaching performance to beat Patrick Mahomes II and Andy Reid.
  • Danny Kelly (The Ringer) The Chiefs’ underrated pass rush could be the key to stopping Tom Brady.
  • Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) Bill Belichick: No better fast starting team than the Chiefs.
  • John Clayton (Washington Post) 6 Things that could decide NFL’s conference title games, including Tom Brady’s road struggles.
  • Lorenzo Reyes (USA Today) Eight X-factors that could determine who wins AFC, NFC Championship Games
  • Lorenzo Reyes (USA Today) Patriots at Chiefs AFC Championship Game preview: Can Patrick Mahomes outduel Tom Brady in rematch?
  • Eric Edholm (Pro Football Weekly) Dominant trench play this postseason is the trend being overlooked.
  • Michael David Smith (ProFootballTalk) Patriots don’t have much experience on the road in the playoffs.
  • Danny Kelly (The Ringer) The unfinished business Conference Championships: What the regular-season matchups tell us about this weekend.
  • Robert Mays (The Ringer) The divisional round was a master class in what sets the NFL’s four best teams apart. ‘No team forms better game plans week to week than Bill Belichick and his staff...’
  • Hub Arkush (Pro Football Weekly) New England Patriots make fools of their critics by destroying Chargers: It would be a mistake to think they can’t do it again against Chiefs in AFC title game.
  • Bill Pennington (NY Times) Patriots make a statement with a furious rout of the Chargers. “The essence of the New England Patriots’ reign as this century’s most successful NFL team has been their peculiar capacity to feel smug and belittled at the same time.”
  • Robert Mays (The Ringer) The Starting 11: The NFL’s final four shows why every team wants a Sean McVay.
  • Dan Graziano (ESPN) Can Andy Reid rewrite the book on ‘Playoff Andy’?
  • Lorenzo Reyes (USA Today) Ranking every possible Super Bowl LIII matchup by entertainment value.
  • Michael Renner (Pro Football Focus) Biggest offseason question for every NFL team. Patriots: Is Tom Brady ageless?
  • Analysis Team (Pro Football Focus) 2019 NFL Free Agency Profile: Trey Flowers.
  • Will Brinson (CBS Sports) 2019 NFL Playoff Bracket Projection: Chiefs top Saints in Super Bowl, Andy Reid wins first title.
  • Tadd Haislop (Sporting News) NFL playoff picks, odds for 2019 championship games: SN experts like Saints vs. Chiefs in Super Bowl 53.


  • Nicolas Roesch (TheZoneReport) Chiefs’ opponent preview, AFC championship game: Scouting the Patriots.
  • Blair Kerkhoff (Kansas City Star) Chiefs-Pats: No, Tom Brady, your team doesn’t stink ... but your style is appreciated.
  • Pete Grathoff (Kansas City Star) Some Patriots fans are not happy with NFL’s choice to referee AFC Championship Game.
  • Brooke Pryor (Kansas City Star) Chiefs activate offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, release veteran safety. “Duvernay-Tardif, a five-year veteran, started the first five games of the season at right guard before fracturing his fibula against Jacksonville.”
  • Pete Grathoff (Kansas City Star) Rare astronomical event on Sunday night could be a good omen for the Chiefs.
  • Peter Grathoff (Kansas City Star) Here’s the early buzz about Chiefs-Patriots game from national writers, broadcasters.