Morning Sports Update

‘It’s staring you right in the face’: Rich Eisen explained why he buys the Patriots as an AFC favorite  

 "If you don't believe it, you need to."  

Mac Jones Patriots
Mac Jones and the Patriots during the team's win against the Titans. Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

The Revolution lost to New York City FC on penalty kicks in the Eastern Conference semifinals on Tuesday night. New England scored a dramatic equalizer in extra time to force penalties, but couldn’t prevail in the end.

Elsewhere, the Bruins lost to the Red Wings, 2-1.

Tonight, the Celtics host the 76ers at 7:30 p.m.

Rich Eisen on the Patriots: Back in October, NFL radio host Rich Eisen said that he thought the Patriots were going to be a playoff team.

In the ensuing weeks, New England has only extended what was then just a two-game winning streak. And as Eisen pointed out on Monday, Bill Belichick’s team has done so convincingly.

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“Over their five-game winning streak, they led the league in points per game and have led the league in [fewest] points allowed per game,” Eisen noted. “So they were winning games on average of 35-10, because they’ve averaged 35 points per game in the five-game win streak, and then allowed only 10 points per game in the five-game win streak.”

Pointing out that the Patriots won by a similar scoreline on Sunday (36-13), Eisen then described how the Patriots consistently appear able to make intelligent plays, citing examples of situational awareness.

“That’s the Belichick way of playing, and that’s the Belichick-championship way of playing, and that’s the way these Patriots are playing football right now,” he explained.

The Patriots went undefeated in November, marking the sixth time in the Belichick era that New England has achieved the feat. Four of the five previous times, the season ended with Belichick’s team in the Super Bowl.

“I’m telling you, folks. It’s staring you right in the face,” said Eisen. “If you don’t believe it, you need to.”

Interestingly, the longtime football anchor sees Tom Brady’s Buccaneers as the powerhouse in the NFC.

“The Buccaneers are still the team to beat in the NFC, because somebody’s going to have to face Tom Brady and that title-defending team in a win-or-go-home game,” Eisen said simply.

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The one weakness for New England, in Eisen’s view, might be Mac Jones as a playoff quarterback in his rookie season.

“Someone’s going to have to look at the Patriots in a win-or-go-home game and say, ‘Not today.’ It’s more viable that it could happen to the Patriots this year because Mac Jones has never done it,” said Eisen. “First go-arounds in the playoffs for quarterbacks, they don’t go like Tom Brady [in 2001]. They don’t even go like [Patrick] Mahomes where you win and then you make it to the AFC Championship Game and lose. So, we’ll see.”

Trivia: Of the five times Bill Belichick’s Patriots have gone undefeated in November, New England went on to play in the Super Bowl on four occasions. Which team did they lose to in the playoffs in the one year where they didn’t make it to the Super Bowl?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: The game turned against New England in the second half thanks to two touchdowns from Anquan Boldin.

More from Boston.com:

Bill Belichick breaking down the top plays from the Patriots’ win:

On this day: In 1956, Bill Russell led Team USA to a gold medal in the Melbourne Summer Olympics. The Games were the first ever held in the southern hemisphere, and were therefore played in a different season than usual.

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The timing meant that Russell’s Celtics debut—having been picked second overall by Boston in April’s draft after some maneuvering by Red Auerbach—had to wait. Of course, the rookie made an immediate impact, helping the Celtics win the team’s first championship.

Daily highlight: Though the Revolution lost in the end, Tajon Buchanan—who will be leaving New England with the season over—capped his career with the club by scoring a dramatic tying goal in extra time.

Trivia answer: 2012 Ravens

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