Darrelle Revis’ future will likely be clearer after 4 p.m. on March 10. (NFL Game Rewind)
Barring the New England Patriots pick up Darrelle Revis’ $20 million option by 4 p.m. March 9, the cornerback will be a free agent by 4 p.m. March 10.
Where the six-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro and former Defensive Player of the Year will go from there is uncertain. But ESPN’s Adam Schefter thinks Revis’ future with either be with his last team or his first team.
“I believe it will come down to the Patriots and the Jets,” Schefter told Mad Dog Sports Radio‘s Adam Schein on Thursday. “And I think the Jets are going to pay him short of whatever he wants to bring him back there. Because, not only could they use him, but it would be a huge moral, emotional victory for that franchise to bring him back there, to get him to finish his career there.”
Jimmy Garoppolo stepped in for the second half against Buffalo. (NFL Game Rewind)
Jimmy Garoppolo entered Week 17 having gone 9-of-10 passing for 92 yards and a touchdown over his first five NFL games. He left it having gone 19-of-27 for 182 yards and a touchdown over his first six.
The second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois hadn’t thrown a pass since Oct. 26 against the Chicago Bears, in a game that was a 25-point New England Patriots lead by the time he entered it in the fourth quarter.
Garoppolo had only entered to kneel down and hand off in the two months since then. But the 2013 Walter Payton Award winner would get throw the ball again on Dec. 28. And he would get to run with it, too.
It was an 11-point Buffalo Bills lead at the start of the third when the 37-year-old Tom Brady traded in his helmet and the 23-year-old rookie stepped in. The fourth-ranked Bills defense, holding opposing quarterbacks to a 74.9 passer rating and leading the league with 50 sacks, awaited him.
Only they did more than wait.
After Brian Tyms and the Patriots defeated the Bills in Week 6, Buffalo got even in Week 17. (NFL Game Rewind)
Numbers often tell the story. This time, it’s hard to say what they told.
The New England Patriots headed into Sunday’s matchup with the Buffalo Bills with little to gain in the standings. The first-round bye had already been clinched, and so had the home-field advantage throughout the playoffs for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
But Buffalo had something to play for.
The product on the field, in many ways, was a byproduct of that, as the 8-7 Bills outlasted the 12-3 Patriots by a score of 17-9 in Week 17. And as the Bills turned to 9-7 and the Patriots turned to 12-4, it all began to add up.
Rookie wideout Sammy Watkins and the Bills broke off the line against the Patriots on Sunday. (NFL Game Rewind)
Danny Amendola was the one to lead the New England Patriots out of the tunnel on Sunday afternoon. But that was just one of the details that made game No. 16 different than the 15 before it.
The top-seeded 12-3 Patriots headed onto the Gillette Stadium field to face the 8-7 Buffalo Bills for a 1 p.m. contest with no playoff implications at the receiving end of it. And with a first-round bye and home-field advantage already in hand, New England did so without six starters.
Out was wideout Julian Edelman, tight end Rob Gronkowski, offensive linemen Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer, linebacker Dont’a Hightower and cornerback Brandon Browner. In was the likes of Brian Tyms, Michael Hoomanwanui, Josh Kline, Marcus Cannon, Jonathan Casillas and Malcolm Butler.
The likes of the defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, defensive ends Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, second-year linebacker Jamie Collins and six-time Pro Bowl corner Darrelle Revis were in along with them, though. So was Tom Brady for the first five offensive series. Continue reading
With Jonas Gray out, Patriots rookie halfback James White is active for the third time this season. (Oliver Thomas)
The New England Patriots aren’t taking any unnecessary risks in the season finale. Tight end Rob Gronkowski and five other starters will be inactive as the team faces the Buffalo Bills for a 1 p.m. Sunday kickoff at Gillette Stadium.
Gronkowski, who has caught 82 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns over 15 games, will have to wait until the divisional round of the playoffs to play in a 16th. After his 2013 was cut short with ACL and MCL tears suffered against the Cleveland Browns last December, resting the three-time Pro Bowler is something the top-seeded Patriots had the opportunity to do.
Also inactive for New England in Week 17 is running back Jonas Gray, wide receiver Julian Edelman, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, left guard Dan Connolly, linebacker Dont’a Hightower and cornerback Brandon Browner. Continue reading
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could see extended snaps for the Patriots in the regular-season finale. (NFL Game Rewind)
The NFL regular season will end on Sunday. And for the New England Patriots, it will end in Foxborough against the Buffalo Bills.
Not much will be on the line for either side when New England and Buffalo kick off Week 17 at 1 p.m. The 12-3 Patriots are guaranteed a first-round playoff bye and home-field advantage throughout, while the 8-7 Bills are eliminated from joining them in the postseason.
But there are some points of significance in the AFC East matchup, even if playoff implications are not one of them.
Here is a look at what to monitor in the 2014 finale. Continue reading
Running backs coach Ivan Fears and the Patriots will be without Jonas Gray against the Bills. (NFL Game Rewind)
Week 17 could be the venue for fourth-round halfback James White and undrafted cornerback Malcolm Butler.
The New England Patriots will be without running back Jonas Gray and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard against the Buffalo Bills, the team announced in the official injury report Friday, furthering the attrition of the two positions.
Gray, who rushed for five yards and a touchdown in the process of suffering an ankle injury versus the New York Jets last Sunday, was limited in practice this week before becoming a non-participant on Friday. And Dennard, who was a healthy inactive in each of the last three games, landed on the report with a hamstring injury after final session of the week.
An additional 15 Patriots were limited Friday. All 15 are listed as questionable for the 1 p.m. regular-season finale at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. Continue reading
For quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots, a meeting with the Bills is in sight before the playoffs are. (NFL Game Rewind)
The 12-3 New England Patriots and 8-7 Buffalo Bills will play a football game with no playoff implications on Sunday.
Exactly whom will be playing will have implications for the No. 1 seeded team in the AFC, however.
Since New England secured the top spot in the conference, and the first-round bye and home-field advantage that come along with it, resting core contributors against an eliminated Buffalo team has become the expected byproduct for Week 17. Only that was not the message head coach Bill Belichick sent in his press conference earlier this week.
“We’ll do the same thing we always do,” Belichick said of managing players. “It won’t be any different this week than it’s been any other week. It won’t be any different this year than it’s been any other year. We’ll do what we feel is best for our football team, period. Whatever’s best for our team then that’s what we’ll try to do.”
What is best for the Patriots remains to be seen. Taking away helmets from players who are not slated to play again until Jan. 10, 2015 may not be it. Waging the risk of injury over the risk of two consecutive byes may not be it, either. Continue reading
Former Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes and the Bills will close the regular season in Foxborough. (NFL Game Rewind)
One team is third in the AFC East, the other is first in the AFC. One team is scheduled to have its season end at Gillette Stadium this Sunday, the other is scheduled to have a first-round bye and home-field advantage for the Sundays after.
Week 17 may hold little significance for the 8-7 Buffalo Bills and the 12-3 New England Patriots, but the connections between the two sides are significant.
Here is look into 10 of the ties. Continue reading
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick focused on Buffalo in his Tuesday news conference, not the No. 1 seed. (NFL Game Rewind)
Bill Belichick’s Tuesday morning news conference commenced with a statement on his team’s Week 17 opponent, the Buffalo Bills.
“We’re rolling through the division here,” Belichick said. “It’s interesting looking at Buffalo. They’re obviously a good football team. Very tough, tough-minded team.”
The New England Patriots head coach’s opening address spanned nearly three minutes. There was no mention of the game between the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night, nor was there a mention of the fact his team clinched the AFC’s No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs as a result.
But those topics did eventually arrive in the discussion. Continue reading