Guest of the League
Game of Thrones Est. 2018
FFL: Playoff Week 2 | NFL: Week 15

Losing to Eagles still bugs Patriots’ Brady, motivated him

Thu Nov 14 11:35am ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Tom Brady, Nick Foles, Carson Wentz, Jordan Howard, N'Keal Harry, Miles Sanders

In this Feb. 4, 2018, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sits on the field after fumbling against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game, in Minneapolis. The Eagles upset the Patriots 41-33. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)


PHILADELPHIA (AP) Losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl two years ago still bugs Tom Brady, even though the New England Patriots rebounded to win their sixth title last season.

''That's a lot of mental scar tissue from that year,'' Brady said in his weekly radio appearance on WEEI in Boston. ''That was a tough game. In a lot of ways, we learned from that year and we came back stronger the next year. We won the Super Bowl in '18. I think everything is a matter of perspective and when you play in that game and you play great teams, you're not going to win them all.

''This is not the Harlem Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals. This is all about tough competition against the best teams. They deserved it that year, and now a couple years later we get a chance to play the organization again. We've had a lot changes, they've had a lot of changes. It's totally different circumstances. Huge game for us. Big game for them. The better team is going to win.''

The Eagles (5-4) meet the Patriots (8-1) on Sunday for the first time since backup quarterback Nick Foles led Philadelphia to a 41-33 victory on Feb. 4, 2018, to capture the franchise's first championship since 1960.

Foles is in Jacksonville now, so the Patriots will get their first chance to see Carson Wentz. He was recovering from knee surgery and watched Foles' MVP performance against New England from the sideline.

''He can do it all - good arm, athletic, can extend plays, tough kid, can run if he needs to, can make all the throws, get the ball down the field, gets the ball to all his receivers, uses the backs, tight ends and receivers based on who is open, his route progression,'' Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. ''He's good at reading defenses. They give him a lot of responsibility at the line of scrimmage to change plays or adjust plays. There's some checking going on there and so forth. So, looks like he's pretty good at everything, a pretty accomplished guy.''

The Eagles have won two in a row after consecutive lopsided losses and are tied with Dallas for first place in the NFC East. The Patriots are coming off their first loss, 37-20 in Baltimore.

Both teams had a bye so they're well-rested and some of the players who've been out are getting healthier.

HISTORIC COMPARISON

With rankings at or near the top of the NFL in several defensive categories, the Patriots have drawn comparisons to the 2000 Ravens' defense.

That Baltimore unit, led by future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, held opponents to a single-season record-low 10.3 points per game. The Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl over the Giants that season.

The Patriots have allowed only 10.9 points per game through nine games, while allowing the fewest yards per game (249.3). They're first in interceptions (19), second in passing yards allowed (150.2) and fourth in sacks (32).

Eagles coach Doug Pederson started at quarterback for the Browns the second time they faced the Ravens that season and suffered cracked ribs in a 44-7 loss. He said he sees parallels between the two defenses.

''I think the biggest thing that jumps out to you right now, the glaring thing, is the turnover ratio,'' Pederson said. ''The fact that they've got six defensive scores this season, the interceptions, the fumbles they're causing - it's a brand of defense where they just smother you. They just corral you. They're OK with giving you 2, 3, 4 yards, but they're right on top of you.''

ROOKIE WATCH

Patriots rookie receiver N'Keal Harry is again available to make his NFL debut after being activated off injured reserve before the loss to Baltimore.

Harry, who was sidelined with a preseason ankle injury, has been practicing without restriction since being activated.

The 32nd overall pick in the draft became the first receiver selected by the Patriots in the first round since they chose Terry Glenn seventh overall in 1996. Harry is the first receiver taken in the first round under Belichick.

''We'll activate the players that we feel give us the best chance to compete against the Eagles,'' Belichick said about whether Harry will play.

THE WEAKNESS

The Patriots have allowed at least 135 yards rushing in four of their last six games, including 210 to the Ravens. Their vaunted defense has one flaw, susceptibility against the run. The Eagles' biggest strength is running the ball. Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders have combined for 861 yards rushing and seven touchdowns.

THE STRENGTH

Throwing the ball against New England is a tough task. The defense has allowed just three touchdown passes while making 19 interceptions. Wentz has only thrown four picks this season, but the Patriots have had four in a game three times already.

REINFORCEMENTS

Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters could return for the Eagles after missing time with a knee injury. Rookie first-round pick Andre Dillard played well in Peters' absence.

Player Notes
Da'Shawn Hand Dec 13 2:13am ET

Detroit Lions DE Da'Shawn Hand (ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Thursday, Dec. 12.

From TheHuddle

Miles Boykin Dec 13 1:30am ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Miles Boykin caught his only target for a five-yard touchdown in Thursday night's Week 15 win over the Jets. Boykin is just one of the several receivers that quarterbackLamar Jackson chooses to throw touchdowns to in any given week and can't be trusted as a fantasy playoff asset. Baltimore faces the Cleveland Browns in Week 16. Boykin caught all three of his targets for 32 yards and a touchdown in Week 4 against the Browns.

From RotoBaller

Willie Snead Dec 13 1:20am ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead caught his only target for 15 yards in Week 15's win over the Jets. Snead's numbers are too erratic to be trusted as a starting option at this point. He has failed to put up more than 15 yards in a game in his last eight games played, although he did catch two balls for 61 yards and a touchdown against the Browns in Week 4.

From RotoBaller

Robby Anderson Dec 13 1:13am ET

New York Jets WR Robby Anderson had four catches for 66 yards in a Week 15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Fantasy Spin: After consecutive weeks of 100-plus yards, Anderson played second fiddle to Jamison Crowder on Thursday night. Still, after a pretty disappointing season, Anderson has turned it up recently, averaging 5.5 receptions, 92.5 yards and 0.5 TDs per game. He may not offer the same level of consistency as Crowder, but Anderson has a higher upside. He's a possible WR3 in Week 16 against the Steelers.

From TheHuddle

Jamison Crowder Dec 13 1:03am ET

New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder had six receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, Dec. 12.

Fantasy Spin: Crowder continues to see heavy involvement in the passing game as he was targeted 11 times, nearly double that of Robby Anderson, and he caught a pair of TD passes to erase the stink of an inexplicable drop in the end zone. Crowder has been targeted seven or more times in six of the last seven games, and he's a much steadier play than Anderson or Demaryius Thomas (hamstring), who was down Thursday night with a strained hammy. Heading into Week 16, Crowder should have steady WR3 value.

From TheHuddle

Marquise Brown Dec 13 1:00am ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown caught all four of his targets for 45 yards and a 24-yard toe-tap touchdown in Thursday night's Week 15 win over the Jets. Brown was the second-highest targeted receiver in the game, trailing tight end Mark Andrews, who had seven. Hollywood plays a Cleveland Browns Defense in Week 16 that he caught four balls for 22 yards against in Week 4. Despite the good game on Thursday night, the rookie doesn't play many snaps and is a touchdown-dependent deep threat as a WR4 for fantasy owners.

From RotoBaller

Tyrell Williams Dec 13 1:00am ET

Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson said that wide receiver Tyrell Williams (foot) is still bothered by his plantar fasciitis. "Plantar fasciitis, its a pretty significant injury, but hes battling through it. Hes taking medication before every game trying to manage the pain," Olson said. The first-year Raider opened the year like gangbusters with five straight games finding the end zone. He predictably fell off from there and has just six catches for 62 scoreless yards the last three games against the Jets, Chiefs and Titans. He hasn't gone over 100 yards in a single game this year and also doesn't have more than seven targets in a game in 2019. Williams is a low-upside, low-volume, touchdown-dependent WR3/4 for fantasy owners. Throw in his lingering foot injury and you have a player to avoid.

From RotoBaller

Mark Andrews Dec 13 12:50am ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews caught four of seven targets for 52 yards and a one-yard touchdown early in the second quarter in Thursday night's win over the Jets. Andrews' eighth touchdown broke the Ravens franchise record for touchdowns by a tight end in a season. He at least doubled all other receivers in targets except for receiver Marquise Brown. QuarterbackLamar Jackson's highly coveted tight end will have a rematch against the Browns in Week 16. Andrews caught four of eight targets for 31 yards and a touchdown in Week 4 against the Browns. He's a high-end TE1.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Dec 13 12:43am ET

New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell carried the ball 21 times for 87 yards against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15. Bell also had two receptions for one yard.

Fantasy Spin: Yep, you read that headline correctly. Bell, who accounted for 1,946 total yards during his final season in Pittsburgh, hadn't topped 70 rushing yards in a game this year until Thursday night when he ran for 87 in a 21-point loss to the Ravens. Obviously some of Bell's early-season struggles can be traced to Sam Darnold's absence, but he simply hasn't been the same player for the Jets. He'll doubtless be motivated in Week 16 in his first meeting with the Steelers. That motivation runs both ways, though, and Bell could have some really boom-or-bust potential in that one.

From TheHuddle

Seth Roberts Dec 13 12:40am ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Seth Roberts led the team in receiving in Thursday night's win over the Jets. Roberts caught all three of his targets for a season-high 66 yards and a 33-yard touchdown pass just before the end of the third quarter. Roberts now has 19 receptions for 248 yards and two touchdowns in 2019. It's tricky to predict who quarterbackLamar Jackson will throw a touchdown pass to in any given week, making it too difficult to trust Roberts as a fantasy asset against the Browns in Week 16.

From RotoBaller

Ty Montgomery Dec 13 12:40am ET

New York Jets running back Ty Montgomery had two rushes for five yards while catching his only target for an additional five yards. Montgomery's biggest impact in the game came returning kicks as he took a backseat to Le'Veon Bell in the backfield. With Bell healthy and Bilal Powell (ankle) working his way back there's no reason to own Montgomery in fantasy leagues.

From RotoBaller

Sam Ficken Dec 13 12:30am ET

New York Jets kicker Sam Ficken missed his only field goal and made just one of two extra points in a loss to the Ravens Thursday. Ficken was the hero last Sunday with a walk-off field goal, but had a night to forget in Week 15. To be fair, the kick Ficken missed was a 49-yarder, but this is also the second week in a row he's missed an extra point. The career journeyman doesn't get enough scoring opportunities and will likely have to contend with the swirling MetLife Stadium December winds next week in a home date with the Steelers. Look elsewhere when filling the kicker spot.

From RotoBaller

New York Jets Dec 13 12:30am ET

The New York Jets Defense was unable to slow down MVP frontrunner Lamar Jackson and the high-flying Ravens offense Thursday night. Baltimore's offense couldn't have done much better playing against practice cones as Jackson had all day in the pocket to do whatever he wanted, which was usually throwing to wide-open receivers running free in the secondary. The Jets defense did put up a touchdown off of a blocked punt but could get nothing else going on a night to forget. The matchup gets a little better next week with a home date with the Steelers, fantasy managers playing for a championship, however, should still have better options than this unit.

From RotoBaller

Sam Darnold Dec 13 12:23am ET

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold completed 18 of his 32 passes for 218 yards, 2 TDs and an INT against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, Dec. 12. Darnold also ran for 11 yards.

Fantasy Spin: Darnold played reasonably well against a tough Ravens defense but came up short in a few spots, most notably throwing an interception late in the first half and turning the ball over on downs, that kept the Jets from adding on to their score. The USC product closes the season against a couple of tough defenses and should probably be benched until 2020 in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Mark Ingram Dec 13 12:20am ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram put up his fifth multiple touchdown performance of the season in Thursday Night's Week 15 win over the Jets. Ingram rushed for 76 yards on 13 carries and a rushing touchdown on the first drive of the game. He added a reception for a 10-yard stretch touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The veteran back will look to keep his momentum moving as he heads into a Week 16 matchup with the Cleveland Browns. Ingram rushed for 71 yards without a touchdown in Week 4 against the Browns.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Brown Dec 13 12:20am ET

New York Jets tight end Daniel Brown caught just one pass for four yards in a loss to the Ravens Thursday. Brown got just two targets while filling in for the injured Ryan Griffin (ankle) who was filling in for the injured Chris Herndon (hamstring). Brown is a serviceable blocker, so there's that, but the third-string tight end won't have any appeal in fantasy football.

From RotoBaller

Gus Edwards Dec 13 12:20am ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards rushed for 35 yards on five carries in Thursday Night's Week 15 win over the Jets. Edwards was able to break free for a 28-yard gain during garbage time, but he doesn't get enough touches to push him over the hill of being Ingram's handcuff. Leave him on your bench for now.

From RotoBaller

Paul Richardson Dec 13 12:10am ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson (hamstring) has been limited the last two days in practice. Richardson has been out since Nov. 24 against the Lions, but it's looking like he might be active again in Week 15's divisional tilt against the Eagles. In the season opener against Philly, Richardson had four catches for 36 yards. On the season as a whole, he's predictably disappointed in this weak offense for 28 catches (42 targets), 245 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins isn't being asked to do much in a lost season, so it's hard to trust any receiver on this squad in fantasy outside of impressive rookie Terry McLaurin. If Richardson returns, avoid him in the fantasy semifinals.

From RotoBaller

Jamison Crowder Dec 13 12:10am ET

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder was one of few bright spots for the Jets Thursday, going for 90 yards and two touchdowns on a team-high 11 targets. Crowder got off to a hot start, making five catches for 72 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He cooled down after that but found the end zone on his only catch of the second half to score some garbage-time points for his fantasy owners. Crowder had been quiet three games in a row but had been getting plenty of targets so it was just a matter of time before he found his rhythm again. He'll be a WR3 in a tough matchup with the Steelers in Week 16.

From RotoBaller

Vyncint Smith Dec 13 12:10am ET

New York Jets wide receiver Vyncint Smith caught three of five targets for 40 yards in a loss to the Ravens Thursday. The 40 yards are a season-high for Smith who got more playing time with Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) missing the game in Baltimore. Smith has just three games this year with more than one catch and will not be fantasy-relevant even if Thomas misses more time.

From RotoBaller