Morning Sports Update

Damien Woody thinks the Patriots are playing ‘championship style football’

"That's a winning formula, particularly late in the season."

Kyle Van Noy Tackle
Kyle Van Noy and Joejuan Williams tackle Falcons fullback Keith Smith during the Patriots' win. AP Photo/Danny Karnik

The Patriots defeated the Falcons 25-0 on Thursday, extending the team’s winning streak to five consecutive games following an impressive defensive display.

New England now gets an extended break before facing the Titans on Nov. 28 in what will be an anticipated matchup.

Tonight, the Celtics host the Lakers in a matchup of classic NBA rivals. The game tips off at 7:30 p.m.

Damien Woody on the 2021 Patriots: As the Patriots continue to string together wins, one of the members of New England’s first Super Bowl champion-winning team sees a familiar dynamic at work.

Asked for his take on his old team following Thursday’s win over the Falcons, Damien Woody — who helped the Patriots win two Super Bowls in the 2000s — explained why he believes Bill Belichick’s team is on the right path.

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“They can go to the Super Bowl,” said Woody, reiterating a point he’d made earlier on Thursday. “A lot of those reasons they showed tonight.”

Listing the various factors — defensive dominance, a strong running game, a powerful offensive line that’s healthy after several early season injuries, and a favorable turnover margin led by rookie quarterback Mac Jones — Woody thinks New England has the ingredients for a playoff run.

“When you look at the totality of that, that’s a winning formula, particularly late in the season,” Woody noted.

As for the growth of Jones since the start of the season, Woody said he believes the rookie doesn’t have to be the star of the team for the Patriots to succeed.

“He is a piece of a bigger puzzle that is championship style football,” Woody explained. “He’s developing, he’s not turning the football over. He’s efficient. On third down, he’s money.”

Looking ahead, Woody acknowledged that the Patriots’ upcoming schedule (which includes games against the Titans, Colts, and two AFC East clashes with the Bills) will provide tough tests.

But asked if he’s optimistic, the former Patriots’ center cited his first-hand experience.

“New England, being a part of that program, this is the time of year they always start to play well.”

Trivia: Damien Woody started Super Bowl XXXVI at center for the Patriots. Can you name the other four offensive linemen who started the game for New England.

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(Answer at the bottom).

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Bill Belichick’s press conference from Friday morning:

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Daily highlight: Kyle Van Noy capped the Patriots’ defensive dominance with a pick-six Thursday night.

Trivia answer: Matt Light, Mike Compton, Joe Andruzzi, Greg Randall.

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