Morning Sports Update

An NFL analyst explained why the Patriots are the ‘scariest’ team in the AFC

"Patriots, welcome back, whether America wants to see you or not, they're already here."

Patriots AFC playoff picture
Jalen Mills celebrates the Patriots' 45-7 win over the Browns with fans on Nov. 14. Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

On Sunday, the Pride defeated the Minnesota Whitecaps in overtime, 2-1 thanks to a deciding goal from Amanda Boulier.

Also on Sunday, the Bruins lost to the Calgary Flames, 4-0.

And tonight, the Celtics host the Rockets at 7:30 p.m.

An NFL analyst’s take on the Patriots’ position in the AFC: Speaking during a Monday segment of the NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football,” one of the show’s analysts said he places the Patriots in a special category.

“There is one team that I am very scared of in the AFC, and it’s not the Bills, it’s not the Titans, it’s not even the Chiefs, it’s the New England Patriots that scare me the most,” said NFL analyst Pete Schrager.

Advertisement:

“The Patriots are playing the best football in the AFC right now,” he added.

New England, after starting 2-4, has since won five games in a row, including a shutout win over the Falcons on Thursday.

“There is only one team that’s ascending, and hasn’t had a hiccup. That seems to be New England,” Schrager explained. “They won 25-0, and let’s not forget that on Thursday night they absolutely dominated an NFL team that was at home with Matt Ryan, a former MVP at quarterback. All the rookies are playing great, all the defensive superstars are stepping up at once.”

While acknowledging that the Patriots will face some difficult tests over the next month, Schrager said he remains confident in New England.

“They’ve got a really tough schedule coming up. They have the Colts, they have the Titans, they have the Bills twice, and yet I don’t doubt it,” said Schrager. “I feel like Belichick’s got them dialed in.”

After a down season in 2020, Schrager thinks the Patriots have already completed a rebuild.

“Patriots, welcome back, whether America wants to see you or not, they’re already here.”

Trivia: Before Mac Jones, who was the last Patriots rookie quarterback to win a game that he started?

Advertisement:

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He is currently on the roster of an AFC East team.

More from Boston.com:

A Revolutionary Thanksgiving: New England goalkeeper Matt Turner said he will host teammates Andrew Farrell and Carles Gil for a Thanksgiving dinner in Maine ahead of their Nov. 30 playoff matchup against New York City FC.

Bill Belichick’s Monday morning press conference:

On this day: In Thanksgiving Day in 2012, the Patriots and Jets played through a scoreless first quarter. The game, to that point, had given no indication of the iconic (or, depending on a fan’s perspective, infamous) moment that was to follow.

Things began to change immediately, however, when Tom Brady completed a three-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker on the first play of the second quarter.

The Jets responded with a nine-play drive that ended with a Shonn Greene fumble on fourth and one at the Patriots’ 31-yard line.

New England took over, and Brady instantly connected with Shane Vereen for an 83-yard touchdown pass. Still, this was all just an appetizer for what proved to be the main course that Thanksgiving.

After completing an 11-yard pass to Clyde Gates on the Jets’ next drive, New York quarterback Mark Sanchez turned the wrong way for a handoff. Finding himself alone in the backfield and still holding the ball, he tried to scramble back to the line of scrimmage to at least fall down to avoid a loss of yardage.

Advertisement:

Of course, that’s not how it played out. Instead, Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork threw Jets lineman Brandon Moore back into Sanchez with such force that the Jets quarterback collided with Moore’s posterior, causing him to fumble the football.

New England safety Steve Gregory—who already had an interception and a fumble recovery on the Jets’ two preceding drives—picked up the ball and ran it back for touchdown.

The “butt fumble” was born.

New York’s second quarter misery wouldn’t end there, unbelievably. On the ensuing kickoff, Devin McCourty forced a fumble, and Julian Edelman ran it back for yet another Patriots touchdown.

In less than a minute of actual game time, the Patriots had turned a relatively even AFC East matchup into a blowout. Buoyed by a 35-point second quarter, New England went on to easily win the game, 49-19.

Daily highlight: The University of New Hampshire men’s soccer team advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament with a 4-1 win over North Carolina on Sunday.

The opening goal was a beauty, with UNH’s Bridger Hansen jumping over a defender before hitting a bicycle kick into the corner of the net.

Trivia answer: Jacoby Brissett

Jump To Comments

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com