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Five Things to Watch This Week - Weeks 16 and 17 (Game 15 and 16)

The Patriots play their fifteenth regular season game at EverBank Field against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, December 23rd at 1:00 PM.

The Patriots play their sixteenth regular season game at Gillette Stadium against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, December 30th at 1:00 PM.


Hoomanawanui!
I don't feel good about the way my team played last week.  Plus we lost our best chance for a playoff bye.  But... I know Bills fans who would stab somebody for a chance at the playoffs (honestly, most Bills fans I know would be happy to stab somebody for you anyway...).

So instead of moping...  Let's make fun of the Jets!

Epic Buttfumble vs. Season Ending Botched Snap.  Discuss.

Obviously, Epic Buttfumble will never be topped.  But Season Ending Botched Snap has its merits, too (especially if it ends up resulting in mass firings).  The Jets have a way of snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.

I'm worried that things with the Jets are SO BAD now they'll be forced to clean hou…

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 14 (Game 13)

The Patriots play their thirteenth regular season game at Gillette Stadium against the Houston Texans on Monday, December 10th at 8:30 PM.

Woo Hoo!  AFC East Champs!

Not the most complete game they've played all season, but I'll take it.  The best thing about the Dolphins game was the 7 minute drive to close out the game.  We haven't had one of those in a while.


So close!
Christmas Special Power Rankings:

1) A Charlie Brown Christmas

2) The Spirit of Christmas

3) Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas

4) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

5) Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special


Here's five guys coming back this week that I'll be keeping an eye on:

1) Chandler Jones - Ankle injuries have to be rough when you're 260 pounds.  'Cause every time you take a step...  You know...  That's 260 pounds landing on your bad ankle.  Ouch.

2) Logan Mankins - The offensive line has been pretty good this year, even the weeks he's been out.  But I'd still rather have …

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 13 (Game 12)

The Patriots play their twelfth regular season game at at Joe Robbie Stadium Pro Player Park Pro Player Stadium  Dolphins Stadium Land Shark Stadium Sun Life Stadium against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, December 2nd at 1:00 PM.

Holy crap... It's already December.  The season is 75% over.  Noooooo!

Savor every last bite.


Was there any way I wasn't going to go with this image?  No.
Before we start with the Dolphins, let's take a moment to look back and reflect on the Thanksgiving Massacre in North Jersey.  So much Jets schadenfreude!  (Rex-enfreude?)

Remember - That game was 0 - 0 at the end of the first quarter.  Then 7 minutes of game time later and it was 35 - 0 and pretty much over.  Whoa.

That game had everything you could want.

Passing touchdowns?  Check

Rushing touchdowns?  Check

Defensive touchdowns?  Check.

Special teams touchdowns?  Check.

LOL-Sanchez moments?  Check.

I've been spending about 20 minutes a day every day since then watching this.  It just makes …

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 12 (Game 11)

The Patriots play their eleventh regular season game at MetLife Stadium against the New York Jets on Thursday, November 22nd at 8:20 PM.

Is anything better than Thanksgiving?  (Answer: no).

Excellent win last week.  Fifty nine points on the board.  Solid all around.

Good times, right?  Unfortunately, the biggest story coming out of that game was Rob Gronkowski's injury.  He'll be out 4 to 6 weeks after surgery to repair a broken arm (I wonder if he can appear to Goodell and get it reduced to 2?).

This also means it'll be a while longer until we finally see the Five Tight End Voltron Offense on the field.  Boo.



It'll be a while before we see this again.

Ryan Power Rankings:

1) Nolan

2) Gosling

3) Jack

4) Private

5) Rob

6) Jeri

7) Bob

8) Matt

9) Fitzpatrick

10) Rex


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Julian Edelman - Edelman gets a game ball for his performance last week.  VERY GOOD, JULIAN.  NICE JOB.

2) Visanthe Shiancoe - With Gronk out, may…

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 11 (Game 10)

The Patriots play their tenth regular season game at Gillette against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday November 18th at 4:25 PM.

Apparently the Colts have... a new quarterback?... or something?  I don't know... I wasn't able to find anything out about him for you guys.  Sorry.

The 4:25 PM games are not good for me personally.  The five year-old has a very limited attention span.  A three hour football game doesn't offer him too much.

"Is football over yet?"

"I want to watch a mooooovieeeee!"

"Why does Dad get to watch TV during dinner?"

In between downs I have to play ball and wrestle and do general parenting activites.  It makes watching the games rather hectic.

I'm contemplating Tivo'ing the game and watching it after the Small People have gone to bed.  Not good times.

...or it might be time to get the kid hooked on gambling.  Either one.


Belichick showing a better arm than either Sanchez or Tebow.

Branch Power Rankings:

1) Executive

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 10 (Game 9)

The Patriots play their ninth regular season game at Gillette against the Buffalo Bills of Western New York and the Greater Toronto Area on Sunday November 11th at 1:00 PM.

OK...  Enough bye-week crap.  Let's get right back to it.



When in England, Ridley runs on the left side of the field.

White Power Rankings (wait a minute... that doesn't sound right...):

1) Walter

2) Gandalf

3) Stripes

4) Walkers

5) Tracy


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Stevan Ridley - Ridley had 106 yards and 2 TDs against Buffalo last time out.  I like it!

2) Aaron Hernandez - I'd like to see Hernandez get it going again this week.  He's been off since returning from his injury.

3) Wes Welker - Don't look now, but Julian Edelman's backup is having a killer season.

4) and 5) Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder - The offensive line was a major question mark at the beginning of the season.  The fact that we're not talking about them more is significant.


Did Mic…

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 8

The Patriots play their eighth regular season game at Wembley Stadium in London against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday October 28st at 1:00 PM.

Let's see... How'd we do last week?

Late turnovers?  Check.

Sloppy defense?  Check.

Secondary giving up huge plays?  BIG CHECK.

Letting an inferior opponent hang around?  Check.

Inability to sustain a long drive in the 4th quarter to finish out the game?  Check?

/checks final score

Wait... We WON that game?  Whoa.

I'm tired of waiting for this defense to come around.  I thought this was going to be the year.  It's not.

Other than this hilarious safety, there wasn't much to feel good about.  (I've watched that on a loop for hours...  That will never, never get old.)



Ninkovich brings the pain.

Devin Power Rankings:

1) Hester

2) Banks

3) Cars

4) Castle

5) Hester (again)

...

11,9970) McCourty


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Rob Ninkovich - Somebody on the defense finally made a game changing pla…

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 7

The Patriots play their seventh regular season game at Gillette against the New York Jets on Sunday October 21st at 4:25 PM.



Welcome Back, Aaron Hernandez.
Bros and Lady Bros,

Not good times in Patriots Nation.  With that loss last week, we've already lost as many games as we did all of last year.

So is this a BAD TEAM?

Or is this a GOOD TEAM that's just not playing well?

We've lost 3 games by a total of 4 points.  There's no such thing as a good loss.  But it's also not like we're getting killed.

My first reaction after last week's game was to crap all over the secondary.  But I think the blame really lies with Brady on that loss.  Not too many plays from that game will be featured on the "TOM BRADY'S 100 GREATEST NFL MOMENTS" DVD I'll be buying 5 or 6 years from now.


Danny Power Rankings:

1) DeVito
2) Trejo
3) Torrance
4) Woodhead
5) Boy



Here's five guys I'll be expecting to play better this week:

1) Wes Welker - Welker showed up…

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 6

The Patriots play their sixth regular season game at CenturyLink Field against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday October 14th at 4:05 PM.



Woop woop woop.
I re-watched most of the Pats - Broncos on the NFL Network Replay this week.  And let me tell you, it was definitely a butt kickin'.  It wasn't even as close as the final score would indicate.  The Patriots RAN ALL OVER the Broncos.  Whenever they wanted it, it was there for them.  Somebody on Twitter referred to the current Patriot's offense as "speed crushing" their opponents.  That's a pretty accurate description of what's been going on lately.  I can't ever remember seeing anything like this combination of speed and power.  Hopefully, it'll work on the road.

Newton Power Rankings

1) Isaac  
2) Cam
3) Raspberry
4) Huey
5) Fig

...

87) Apple


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Stevan Ridley - Another solid week.  151 yards and a touchdown.  Was the late fumble was worrisom…

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 5

The Patriots play their fifth regular season game at Gillette against the Denver Broncos on Sunday October 7th at 4:25 PM.



He's gonna get his name in the paper.

Oh you know... Just two of the five best QBs of all time playing this weekend.  NBD.

I'm no scout... but Peyton has no arm strength left.  Watch how many times he throws the ball more than 15 yards.  I think he's done.

I'm huge on the Patriots this week.  Especially if we can keep running the ball like we have been.


Sterling Power Rankings:

1) Archer
2) Roger
3) Hayden
4) Moore
5) Ice Cream Bar

...

11,957) John


Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Stevan Ridley - 106 yards and two touch downs last week.  I enjoyed the BenJarvus Green-Ellis era in New England, but I can't remember too many runs he ever had of more than five yards.  Ridley is a little more explosive.

2) Brandon Bolden - 137 yards and a touch down last week.  Welcome to the party, Brandon Bolden!  Some kind of crazy...…

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 4

The Patriots play their fourth regular season game at The Ralph against the Buffalo Bills of Western New York and the Greater Toronto Area on Sunday September 30th at 1:00 PM.

The Patriots are 1 - 2 (don't look now, but I think Devin McCourty just gave up another 30 yard reception) ... And yet I'm not panicking.  They lost two games by a total of 3 points, with each game coming down the last play.  There's still a lot of football left.


"Hey... You guys wanna grab a beer later?"
With the regular refs coming back this week, the NBA reclaims its rightful place as the worst officiated league in all of sports.

Reportedly, when the end of the lockout was announced, Ed Hochuli threw his work shirts in the dryer for 4 hours and banged out 5 more sets of curls.


Jackson Power Rankings:

1) Samuel L.
2) Ms.
3) Andrew
4) 5
5) Cannery
...

11,957) Victoria
11,958) Tom
11,959) -ville
11,960) Chad

Here's five things I'll be watching for this week:

1) Tom Brady - He looks …

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 2 (Game 2)

The Patriots play their second regular season game at Gillette Stadium against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday September 16th at 1:00 PM.

(It's just one game... It's just one game... It's just one game...)

Holy crap, we have a defense again!

(It's just one game... It's just one game... It's just one game...)

And a running game!  Hot damn!

(It's just one game... It's just one game... It's just one game...)

OK... Deep breaths... Calming back down.  It may just be one game, but it's definitely a good sign of things to come.

The offensive line was better than advertised (minus Nate Solder).  Gronk and Hernandez are cementing their status as the best 1-2 TE combo ever.

Also... Ridley!

Brady can be a "B" level quarterback and we still win games.

Negatives - It was against Jake Locker and the Tennessee Titans.  Also, if I'm being honest, the secondary looked a little lost at times.

But guess what?  We've got the Mighty Arizona Cardinal…

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 1 (Game 1)

The Patriots play their first regular season game at LP Field against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday September 9th at 1:00 PM.

So... Um... Yeah.  Let's not get too hung up on how last season ended... It's a new year.  Like Coach Belichick says... We're focusing on next week.  We're moving on.

It's also an election year.  Republican or Democrat...  Liberal or Conservative...  Let's not lose sight of the one thing that unites us all...  That the Jets are horrible.



Gronk seems to be enjoying the benefits of being famous.
Let's dive right in!

The Patriots signed both Gronkowski AND Hernandez to long term deals (ed. note - phew) in the off-season.   They also added extra Tight Ends Jake Ballard, Daniel Fells, Michael Hoomanawanui and Visanthe Shiancoe. At this rate, we'll soon be fielding the NFL's first ALL TIGHT END OFFENSE!  (It's the logical next step in the evolution of the game...)

Josh McDaniels - Welcome back!  You'll get another shot at…

C'mon... Really?

At the NY State Fair last week, I saw 2 different people in "Cowboys Stadium" t-shirts.

Not COWBOYS t-shirts.

Cowboys Stadium.

Why do they inspire this bizarre loyalty from idiots all across the country?

Not Again...

"So Tom... We need to ask if you're OK with something a little unusual for this photo shoot.."

"I'll do it!"

"Don't you want to wait to hear what it is?"

"Whatever it is, I'll do it!"


Thursday Morning Third Down Back Presents: Special 2012 NFL Draft Edition Fake Bill Belichick

Draft Day - 2005.  I'm rocking out to a pre-release copy of the new White Stripes album (ed. note - "Get Behind Me Satan").  It's no Bon Jovi... but it's still pretty good, I guess.

Theo Epstein from the Red Sox is sitting in with us in our Draft Room. 

We've got the 32nd pick in the first round (again), so there's a lot of sitting around waiting for the Buffaloes and Jacksonvilles and Minnesotas of the world to get their heads out of their asses.

I mention to Theo that I'm thinking tight end with the first pick.

Anyway, the Steelers take Heath Miller off the board at #30 and Theo starts chirping.

"Wait... I thought Heath Miller was your guy."

"Yeah.  He's going to be good.  And I love drafting tight ends."

"And the Steelers just took him."

"Yeah.  So?"

"They're your rivals!  Your mortal enemies!"

"Pretty much."

"Why aren't you flipping out over this?  Why aren't you throwing chair…

Five Things to Watch This Week - AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!

The Patriots play their second playoff game of the season at Gillette against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday January 22nd at 3:00 PM.

So much for not having won a playoff game in 4 years.

If I may be allowed to turn into Tawmmy from Quinzee for a moment...

    HOLY CRAP BRADY IS FACKIN' AWESOME.

Are the Patriots really as good as they looked last week?  Or was Denver just that bad?



Gronk is ripped!
I'm a little worried about Baltimore.  Joe Flacco is not so good.  Ray Rice still scares the crap out of me.  But I'm mostly concerned about how well our offensive line holds up against their defense.

Here's five guys I'll be counting on to keep Brady upright this week:


1 - 5) Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Brian Waters, Nate Solder - Brady will only be as good as these guys play upfront.  When they can give him time, he's deadly.  That's pretty much it.


Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

NO. 

My prediction: Pats 34, Ravens 24

Stay hydrated, my fri…

Five Things to Watch This Week - PLAYOFFS!

The Patriots play their first playoff game of the season at Gillette against Denver Broncos on Saturday January 14th and 8:00 PM.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to track down any information about who's playing quarterback for the Broncos on Saturday.  If anyone can find this information somewhere, please let me know and I'll send it along.

Somehow Belichick whipped this team into shape and went 13 - 3.  13 -3 with a horrible, horrible defense.  But the NFL has changed.  It's not even the same league it was 10 years ago.   Does defense even matter anymore?

I'd really like to see a deep playoff run this year.  But with the recent history of this team in the playoffs, I'm keeping my expectations low. 


 Sterling Moore, winner of Week 17's "Wait, Who's That Guy?" award.
Here's five guys on offense I'm hoping can carry the team this week:

1) Tom Brady - I can finally bring myself to admit that Brady had a bad game against the Jets in th…