Thu Nov 14 11:35am ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer
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.
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.''
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 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.
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.
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.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has been arguably the best tight end in the NFL this season. He absolutely destroyed the Broncos Defense during the Week 15 matchup Kelce caught 11 of 13 targets for 142 yards in the 23-3 win over Denver. Kelce surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the season during that contest. Kelce is going to continue to be an elite PPR TE1 for his matchup with the Bears next week.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey had a day despite his team falling to the Seahawks on Sunday, finishing with 87 yards on 19 carries, while also adding eight catches for 88 yards. After failing to score a touchdown in either of his previous two outings, the 23-year-old also racked up his 15th and 16th score of the season in this one. Though the team has nothing left to play for this year, McCaffrey should remain active over the next two games as he attempts to hit 1,000 yards on both the ground and through the air.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill had no issues in the 23-3 victory over the Broncos in Week 15. Hill caught five of his seven targets for 67 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown came on a 41-yard play where Hill completely destroyed Broncos' Chris Harris. The snowy conditions can't even hold back Hill. Fantasy owners should feel comfortable with Hill as a WR1 for their matchup with the Bears next week.
Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams was held to 26 rushing yards on eight totes and one catch for seven yards in a 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears. Williams, like Aaron Jones, couldn't find much room to operate between the 20s against Akiem Hicks and the Bears Defense. Unfortunately for the 24-year-old, Jones out-touched him 13-nine and scored twice in the red zone. It's also worth noting that Williams has seen only two targets the last two weeks after seeing 12 in Weeks 11 and 12. He'll look to bounce back in a tough matchup next week against the Minnesota Vikings.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware was signed by the team roughly two weeks ago and is already making an impact on the field. Ware rushed seven times for 26 yards in the victory over the Denver Broncos. However, the Chiefs have a running back committee, so Ware has handcuffed fantasy value. Both LeSean McCoy and Darwin Thompson are going to see carries each week. He's not someone worth owning in basically any format. He'll have a tough matchup against the Bears Defense in Week 16.
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (shoulder) has left the game and will not return after being tackled on a third-quarter run. He landed hard on the shoulder/chest area that has been giving him trouble in the last few weeks and will be held out for the remainder of the contest. With Alexander Mattison (ankle) also out, the backfield duties will now be split between Ameer Abdullah and Mike Boone in the second half. Cook had nine carries for 27 yards and three catches for 16 yards before exiting.
New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu caught two passes for only 13 yards in the Patriots 34-13 win over the Bengals. Sanu has been battling an ankle injury over the past few weeks and does not look 100%. Add to that the fact that Sanu is acclimating himself into a new offense and his fantasy value has fallen off the map. The veteran has very little value at present with only two games remaining in the season.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darwin Thompson surprisingly led the team in carries during the Week 15 win over the Denver Broncos. He rushed eight times for 38 yards and caught one pass for one yard through the air. It appears the Chiefs are beginning to feel more comfortable with Thompson. However, LeSean McCoy and Spencer Ware will continue to be worked into the backfield. Thompson will have shaky RB3 or most likely RB4 value against the Bears next week.
The New England Patriots Defense picked off Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton four times in the team's 34-13 win in Week 15. The Patriots gave up an early touchdown but stiffened up from there as they dominated the rest of the game. Stephen Gilmore and J.C. Jackson recorded two interceptions each as the Patriots got a much-need win against a poor Bengals team. The defense now prepares for a huge game against a division rival, the Bills, next Saturday to kick off Week 16.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross had just two catches for 24 yards during the loss to the Patriots on Sunday. Ross was only targeted three times on a day where Andy Dalton threw four interceptions. Since returning to the lineup after suffering a chest injury earlier in the season, the 24-year-old has only four receptions for 52 yards. He still has a shot to get things going over the team's final two games, but that chance could diminish if A.J. Green (ankle) returns at some point during that span.
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones carried the ball 13 times for 51 rushing yards with two touchdowns and wasn't targeted in a 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears. The Bears are a much better run defense with Akiem Hicks in the lineup, as they stifled Jones between the 20s. Jones broke free in the red zone twice, including a 21-yard run in the third quarter, complete with broken tackles. It wasn't the most productive day on the ground or through the air for Jones, but his nose for the end zone, 17 touchdowns this year, has made up for many sub-par days- and turned good outings into great ones. Up next is a Week 15 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, who Jones gashed for 150 scrimmage yards and a touchdown back in Week 2.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was able to bounce back after three straight mediocre performances. Mahomes completed 27 of 34 passing attempts for 340 yards and two touchdowns and one interception in the Week 15 victory. It wasn't a perfect game for Mahomes, but it was in snowy conditions. He was able to play very well despite the frustrating field conditions. Fantasy owners should feel confident that Mahomes will be a top tier option against the Bears in Week 16.
New England Patriots running back James White totaled only 62 yards from scrimmage but caught and ran for a 23-yard touchdown in the Patriots win over the Bengals in Week 15. The Patriots coasted to victory after a tight first half and explosive plays simply were not on the menu in this contest. White has been a disappointment in fantasy this season but his impact on the offense over the last month continues to increase. Of all the runners in the Patriots backfield, White is the one to deploy in fantasy lineups over the final few weeks.
New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry caught two passes for 15 yards with one touchdown in the Patriots 34-13 win over the Bengals. The rookie saw only four targets in the game and continues to be a raw talent in an experienced offense. But Harry has proved to be a threat in the red zone and capitalized on his size for a seven-yard touchdown reception. Harry's fantasy value should be reserved for dynasty and keeper leagues the rest of this season.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker had another big game in a 36-20 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday, scoring 19 standard league points on four receptions and two touchdowns. Parker finished with 72 yards on the day, putting Miami on the board for the first time with a 20-yard touchdown in the first quarter, as well as giving the Dolphins their last points of the day with a 29-yard catch on their last drive of the game. In the middle of the breakout season fantasy owners have been waiting on, Parker now has eight touchdowns and 954 yards on 59 receptions in 2019. Even missing most of last weeks game after being concussed, Parker is one of the leagues hottest receivers and now has 75 points in his last five games. Next week, Parker and the Dolphins will face a bad Bengals team but one thats been sneakily good against wide receivers in fantasy, allowing just the 22nd-most points to them this season.
New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead carried the ball six times for 53 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown run, in the Patriots romp over the Bengals in Week 15. Burkhead put the game away with the touchdown scamper and added two receptions for six yards in the game. Burkhead is third in the pecking order among Patriots running backs but the team has opted for a run-heavy attack the past few games. Burkhead is possibly worth a bench stash but is tough to trust the rest of the fantasy season.
Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy was given another start, but was not able to do much with the opportunity. McCoy rushed six times for 16 yards in the Week 15 win over the Broncos. It was snowy conditions and head coach Andy Reid said he wouldn't push McCoy too hard. It doesn't sound like McCoy is going to be an asset to fantasy owners anymore. Both Spencer Ware and Darwin Thompson received more carries in this one. McCoy will be a desperation RB3 for a tough Week 16 matchup with the Bears.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd caught just three of his seven targets for 26 yards during the loss to the Patriots on Sunday. Boyd was expected to see a small increase in production with Auden Tate (knee) recently landing on injured reserve, but he failed to produce. Instead, Boyd, along with the rest of the offense, stood by as Joe Mixon ran for 136 yards on 25 carries, while Andy Dalton threw four interceptions. A.J. Green (ankle) still hasn't ruled out returning at some point this year, and if he does come back over the next two games, Boyd will see his stock decrease.
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert had 44 yards on three catches during the Week 15 loss to New England. Eifert, who has just two touchdowns on the year, is a long way away from his 2015 version, where he compiled 72 receptions and 13 scores. With only two games left, Eifert does have a chance to get a little something going against the Dolphins in Week 16, but those looking for a streamer should look elsewhere before utilizing his services In any fantasy lineup.
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel was back in the team's offensive graces this week, posting a team-high 19 carries for 89 yards with 14 receiving yards in the Patriots victory over the Bengals. One week after having his snaps severely cut down, the second-year running back delivered some solid production. Teammate Rex Burkhead scored in the red zone but Michel was leaned on throughout the game to move the chains. While this doesn't automatically have Michel back in fantasy starting lineups, it does help his value heading into the final two games of the season.