The Power Rankings are out and the Patriots are the easy favorites at the top of all the charts — robbing fans from conjuring up even a whiff of media disrespect. What gives, where are the haters? The experts and analysts are not only conceding the Patriots’ dominance at the outset but throwing out the 19-0 takes early and with resignation. Not that I’m arguing, but sometimes it’s hard to keep up with which way the media winds will blow
Storylines write themselves in the NFL, and the Pats tend to find themselves at the center of most. Practically all of 2018 we were served up heaps of stories speculating on ‘the tensions’ in Foxborough. 2019 is bringing a different twist. Watching Antonio Brown shoot his way out of Pittsburgh, and then out of Oakland in spectacular fashion, was amusing. But once that storm system swiftly moved east, it hit New England with force and this season will never be the same.
Between Weeks 2-3 last year the Patriots traded for Josh Gordon, and Tom Brady told Jim Gray of Westwood One:
“So we’ll see how it goes this week and hopefully he can work hard, put the team first and end up helping us in any role that he can find for himself on the team.”
Gordon was a terrific addition to the offense before his suspension. It sounds as if Brady will take the same approach with Antonio Brown and - fingers crossed - like Gordon, he will also have positive production. Forget the storylines, start with a clean slate, and we’ll see what he can do. Next up, the Dolphins in Miami. They rolled over for the Ravens in Week 1 (59-10) and it would take several miracles this time to warrant printing up a second round of T-shirts.
Patriots beat the Fins, and the spread, on Sunday.
Around the AFC East:
New England (1-0) at Miami (0-1)
Buffalo (1-0) at NY Giants (0-1)
NY Jets (0-1) vs. Cleveland (0-1)
Baltimore (1-0) vs. Arizona (0-0-1)
Tennessee (1-0) vs. Indianapolis (0-1)
Oakland (1-0) vs. Kansas City (1-0)
LA Chargers (1-0) at Detroit (0-0-1)
Houston (0-1) vs. Jacksonville (0-1)
Denver (0-1) vs. Chicago (0-1)
Cincinnati (0-1) vs. San Francisco (1-0)
Pittsburgh (0-1) vs. Seattle (1-0)
1st - Staff (AP Pro32)
1st - Lindsay Jones (The Athletic): The Patriots are no longer No. 1 as a sign of respect. They are here because, holy cow, they earned it. The Patriots looked postseason-ready in their 33-3 win against the Steelers, and it’s scary to think what they’ll look like next week against the pitiful Miami Dolphins with Antonio Brown in the lineup.
1st - Consensus (Bleacher Report): In case anyone had forgotten who the NFL’s best team is, the New England Patriots reminded them Sunday night by dropping a piano on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A defense missing linebacker Kyle Van Noy completely stifled Pittsburgh’s supposedly high-octane offense. An offensive line that lost center David Andrews for the season gave Tom Brady enough time to binge-watch a season of Stranger Things before finding an open receiver, which caused him to erupt for 341 passing yards and three touchdowns.
It was a surgical procedure without anesthesia. And the Patriots made it look easy.
If that wasn’t bad enough, they’ll also add star wideout Antonio Brown to the mix when they take the field in Miami on Sunday. Because Godzilla needed wings, I guess.
1st - NFL Nation (ESPN): Rookie who flashed: OT Isaiah Wynn. How the newcomer starred: The 2018 first-round draft choice, who had missed his rookie season with a torn Achilles tendon, played all 70 snaps protecting Tom Brady’s blind side and held his ground in a promising performance. Wynn’s ability to slide and play light on his feet is impressive to watch. Of course, there aren’t too many more important jobs in New England than ensuring Brady is well protected, and the Patriots seem confident in entrusting Wynn with that crucial role.
1st - MMQB Staff (SI): Antonio Brown joins the team that needs him least of all. The Pats might score 100 in Miami, unless Belichick feels bad for Brian Flores.
1st - Chris Grenham (NESN): The Patriots looked like a well-oiled machine in their season-opening blowout of the Steelers. New England has the luxury of adding All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown to the mix next week, making their offense seemingly unstoppable. Combine this with an incredibly deep defense and the Patriots keep the top spot with ease.
1st - Dan Hanzus (NFL.com): Sometimes football just seems too easy for this team. The Patriots shocked the world (actually, was anybody really shocked?) by agreeing to terms with Antonio Brown on Saturday. Then they turned around and delivered a clinical beatdown of the Steelers on Sunday night. Tom Brady spread the ball all over the field to seven different receivers, and the offensive line allowed the 42-year-old quarterback to be sacked only once all night. The offense was impressive, but it’s the defense that makes you think the Steelers are just the first of many teams bound to be on the wrong end of lopsided final scores involving the Patriots in 2019. The Pats have playmakers at every level of their D; the secondary wouldn’t even allow Ben Roethlisberger to pile up some decent garbage-time production in the second half. The Pats don’t care that you don’t like them. And they certainly don’t care about your fantasy team.
1st - Darryl Slater (NJ.com): Analysis: The rich are about to get richer, with Antonio Brown’s arrival.
1st - Peter Botte (NY Post): Absolutely no signs of slowing down for Bill Belichick’s reigning Super Bowl champs, and now Tom Brady gets to infuse shiny new toy Antonio Brown into an attack that racked up 465 total yards in Sunday night’s rout of the Steelers and ahead of a road game against the pitiful Dolphins, who were smoked for 59 points in Week 1 by Baltimore.
1st - Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): The Patriots had already won the weekend when they agreed to add Antonio Brown to their potent offense. Then they pummeled Brown’s former team, the Steelers, to get their latest championship rings in style. They’ve got everyone in major chase mode from the get-go.
1st - Nate Davis (USA Today): If they’re 30 points better than Pittsburgh before bringing Antonio Brown into fold, who’s going to derail them going forward? (AB, right?)
1st - Mark Maske (Washington Post): The defending champs dismantled the Steelers, and now here comes Antonio Brown. His arrival, depending on whether he accepts the ways of Coach Bill Belichick and fits in with quarterback Tom Brady, could make the Patriots practically unbeatable and prompt flashbacks to 2007. Or it could unravel the season and threaten to end the dynasty for good, assuming that time eventually catches up to Brady. Brown is that talented, and he is that disruptive.
1st - Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports): The Patriots won in a rout with Sony Michel getting 14 yards on 15 carries. It’s probably safe to assume he’ll be much better going forward, like the Patriots’ offense needs any more help.