2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Patriots in rare position as postseason underdogs

    2014-01-14 02:12

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - The Patriots' streak of 11 postseason games as a favorite is over.

For the first time since the AFC championship game against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in 2007, New England is a playoff underdog - against Manning and the Denver Broncos in the AFC championship game on Sunday.

Tom Brady & Co. are willing to use that as motivation for the game that will send the winner to the Super Bowl.

''We play with a chip on our shoulder,'' wide receiver Danny Amendola said. ''We like to play that way.''

Count the Patriots out?

Go right ahead, fullback James Develin said.

''I can't really speak for everyone, but I personally love the underdog story,'' he said. ''It just kind of keeps a little bit of the pressure off you and I just like to prove the doubters wrong.''

Brady sounded the first ''woe is us'' note during his weekly appearance on WEEI radio Monday.

''I know when we played Baltimore nobody picked us to win,'' Brady said. ''I'm sure no one's going to pick us to win this week. We've had our backs against the wall for a while. Really, the whole season we've lost players, and teams have really counted us out.

''We've got a bunch of underdogs on our team, and we'll be an underdog again.''

The Ravens were favored to extend their four-game winning streak in the next to last game of the regular season. Baltimore was at home, but the Patriots won 41-7.

Now New England (13-4) is preparing to go on the road again. And Brady's teammates figure if playing the underdog card against Denver (14-3) is good enough for him, it's good enough for them.

''If Tom's going to embrace it, I'm going to embrace it,'' New England running back LeGarrette Blount said with a smile. ''That's the leader of this team, and if that's how he feels, I'm sure that's how most of the guys out here feel.''

In that loss to the Colts seven years ago, the Patriots held an 18-point lead late in the first half but lost 38-34. Indianapolis went on to win the Super Bowl.

That also was the Patriots' most recent playoff road game. Since then, they're 7-2 at home and 0-2 in Super Bowls at neutral sites.

This season, they were underdogs at home against Denver on Nov. 24, but won 34-31 in overtime after trailing 24-0 at halftime. Broncos tight end Julius Thomas missed that game with a knee injury. Now he's back, one of five Denver receivers with at least 60 catches this season.

''He's a heck of a football player, a playmaker, go-to guy for them,'' Patriots safety Steve Gregory said. ''He can create mismatches and things like that, so he's a good football player. But they have a lot of good football players.''

The 250-pound Blount creates mismatches as well - able to elude big linemen and run over small defensive backs. He ran for 166 yards and four touchdowns in Saturday night's 43-22 win over Indianapolis after rushing for 189 yards and two touchdowns in the previous game, a 34-20 win over Buffalo in the regular-season finale.

''I can do a lot of improving,'' Blount said after watching video of the Indianapolis game. ''I've seen a couple of holes I could have hit, and I've seen a couple of cuts I could have made. I'm going to go out there and look at what they're going to give me, and hopefully explode somewhere.''

Blount got off to a slow start this season, his first with the Patriots.

It would be dangerous to underestimate him now, just as the Broncos would be unwise to put too much stock into their status as favorites.

After all, Brady fooled all those teams that bypassed him in the 2000 draft until the Patriots took him in the sixth round with the 199th overall pick.

''He came into the league as a big underdog,'' Develin said, ''so I'm sure he's used to that.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Peyton ManningJan 30 12:52p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning may make a decision on whether he plans to return for another season in the near future, according to his dad, Archie Manning. Archie [ More ]

Brandon MarshallJan 30 10:42a

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall may not return to the team in 2015, in the opinion of ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright. The thinking is that Marshall and WR Alshon [ More ]

LeSean McCoyJan 30 02:32a

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy has said he would restructure his contract to lower the $11.95 million cap hit for 2015, but he will not take a pay cut.

Larry FitzgeraldJan 29 05:52p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald's new contract should be able to get worked out this offseason, according to team president Michael Bidwill. 'Larry and I have met about it, [ More ]

Earl ThomasJan 29 01:12p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) was administered a human growth hormone test by the league Wednesday, Jan. 28, and he believes it was directed at him after he [ More ]

Austin CollieJan 29 03:33a

Free-agent WR Austin Collie (Patriots) signed a contract with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

Tom BradyJan 28 12:33p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady (illness) admitted that he is currently battling a cold, but he said he expects to be 100% ready for the Super Bowl Sunday, [ More ]

Brandon MebaneJan 27 11:23p

Seattle Seahawks DL Brandon Mebane (hamstring) said Tuesday, Jan. 27, that his hamstring surgery went well and he should be full go for the team's offseason program in April.

Richard ShermanJan 27 11:23p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) has torn ligaments in his elbow, but he is improving daily and he is no longer receiving treatment for the injury.

LeGarrette BlountJan 27 08:33p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount should be a factor in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Feb. 1, in the opinion of Boston Herald writer Karen [ More ]

Adrian PetersonJan 27 07:43p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was directed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to meet with a league-assigned psychiatrist following Peterson's suspension. The National Football League Players Association is now [ More ]

Rob GronkowskiJan 27 12:23p

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is an offensive weapon that the Seattle Seahawks are focused on shutting down during the Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1. Seahawks head coach [ More ]

Trent RichardsonJan 27 10:43a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson's one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team voided the guarantee of a $3,184,062 salary in 2015.

Josh GordonJan 26 02:13p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is in Stage Three of an alcohol program, which requires him to be tested for alcohol for a minimum of two years. His failed [ More ]

Rob GronkowskiJan 26 02:03p

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski could cause a problem for the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX, because the Seahawks defense allowed 11 touchdowns to tight ends this [ More ]

Earl ThomasJan 26 02:03p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) said he won't miss the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots with a dislocated shoulder, but he also admitted that it won't [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Jan 26 01:52p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) said he'll need to shut himself down this offseason in order to enter 2015 fully healthy and in great shape. He [ More ]

Josh GordonJan 26 12:33p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon tested positive for alcohol, according to sources, and his failed test will subject him to a possible one-year suspension. Gordon caught 24 passes for [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictJan 26 12:23p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (knee) is recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee, and the surgeon who operated on him is hoping that he will be at [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Jan 26 11:22a

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) said he played this season with two tears in his right hamstring, which never fully healed.

Josh GordonJan 25 09:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be under contract through the 2016 season, and he will only be a restricted free agent after that year due to his looming [ More ]

Josh GordonJan 25 04:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon has reportedly failed another drug test and will be subject to a one-year banishment, according to multiple league sources.

Earl ThomasJan 23 09:02p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) will play in the Super Bowl, head coach Pete Carroll said Friday, Jan. 23.

Dennis PittaJan 23 04:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) met with some specialists last week, but the team is not expected to have an update on his status for a few weeks, [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 23 01:12p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel had a big proponent last year in owner Jimmy Haslam, but Haslam now thinks the team needs a quarterback in order to get their [ More ]

Jimmy GrahamJan 23 10:32a

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) said he'll rehabilitate his shoulder injury after the Pro Bowl, but he hasn't made a final decision on surgery. 'It's something we [ More ]

Mark IngramJan 22 06:42p

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram, who will be eligible for free agency this offseason, wants to return to the team next year, and he thinks the interest is [ More ]

Vernon DavisJan 22 06:22p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis had just two touchdowns in 2014, and they both came in Week 1. He also wasn't targeted at all in the red zone [ More ]

Geno SmithJan 22 05:32p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith has a lot of talent and promise, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. At the same time, Bowles acknowledged that the quarterback [ More ]

Brian HoyerJan 22 04:52p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer could be re-signed this offseason, according to his agent. Hoyer is expected to meet with general manager Ray Farmer and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo in the near future.

Johnny ManzielJan 22 02:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel will be working with a new offensive coordinator this year in John DeFilippo, but DeFilippo is unsure if the team's quarterback next year is [ More ]

Joe FlaccoJan 22 12:52p

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco will have his fourth difference offensive coordinator in as many years in offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. However, head coach John Harbaugh is confident Flacco [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group