Broncos – Patriots Wedsenday Injury Report

Broncos Vs Patriots. (Photo From AP)

Broncos Vs Patriots.
(Photo From AP)

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (6-2)

OUT
No players listed.

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
DE Chandler Jones – Hip

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
DL Dominique Easley – Knee
DB Nate Ebner – Finger
OL Cameron Fleming – Finger
WR Matthew Slater – Shoulder

FULL PARTICIPATION
QB Tom Brady – Ankle
CB Bandon Browner – Ankle
LB Dont’a Hightower – Knee

DENVER BRONCOS (6-1)

OUT
No players listed.

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
RB Montee Ball – Groin
LB Lamin Barrow – Consussion
S Quinton Carter – Hamstring
G Louis Vasquez – Illness

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
CB Omar Bolden – Concussion
RB Ronnie Hillman – Shoulder
LB Steven Johnson – Ankle

FULL PARTICIPATION
CB Chris Harris Jr. – Knee
K Brandon McManus – Right Groin
RB Juwan Thompson – Knee

(Injury Report provided by Patriots.com)

Broncos Vs Patriots: 3 Players To Watch

Julian Edelman is a player to watch. (Photo By: Keith Nordstrom)

Julian Edelman is a player to watch.
(Photo By: Keith Nordstrom)

The Patriots will host the Denver Broncos Sunday evening in a huge game between two of the best teams in the NFL. The Pats are coming off a big win against the Bears and the Broncos are coming off a big win over divisional foe the Chargers. This game is always a big game because of the Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, who face each other at least once a year, every year.

Aside from those two, here are the 3 players to watch in this game.

1. OL Nate Solder: He will have a very difficult job this Sunday when he faces DE Demarcus Ware. Ware has 7 sacks in the 7 games he has played. Solder is the guy who protects Tom Brady’s blindside and will have to play his best game this season on Sunday. Ware is older, but still very good. Solder has had an up and down season but can’t afford to be even a little down this weekend. Solder has been better as of late, but it must continue. Solder is the guy to watch on the line because he will have the most important job, keeping Ware off of Tom Brady. If Solder and the entire line can protect Brady then the Pats will score.

2. CB Darrelle Revis: Most important matchup on defense for the Pats will be Demaryius Thomas against Darrelle Revis. Revis has been excellent in most games this season against a team’s number one wide receiver. He shut down AJ Green, and Brandon Marshall. The biggest difference for Revis in this matchup will be the QB throwing the ball, Peyton Manning. Revis can do it, but this will be his most difficult matchup. Revis has the skills and knowledge to shut down the youngster in Thomas, and if he can keep Manning’s favorite target in check then the Pats can win the game.

3. WR Julian Edelman: He will go against Chris Harris and it will be a battle. Harris is a very good corner and he’s about the size and speed of Edelman, so what a matchup. Can Edelman win it and improve on his past two performances? We will see. Brady loves Edelman and trust him so Brady needs his go-to-guy to be open on Sunday. If Edelman can torch Harris, things will be easier for Tom Brady.

 

Alan Branch signs with the Patriots, release Deontae Skinner

Alan Branch. (Photo By: Timothy T. Ludwig)

Alan Branch.
(Photo By: Timothy T. Ludwig)

DL Alan Branch has officially signed, as expected since last week.

The 6’6, 325 pound linemen is expected to add another big body to the line to help against the run.

To make room on the roster, the Patriots released LB Deontae Skinner. He had 9 tackles and one sack during his time with New England this season.

If he clears waivers, he will be eligible to sign with the Pats practice squad. I expect the Pats will want to keep him around so I look for that to happen if another team doesn’t pick him up.

The Patriots home underdogs against Denver

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The Patriots will be a home underdog against the Broncos Sunday evening. They’re a field goal underdog.

Here’s the full odds for week 9 of the NFL.

Date & Time Favorite Spread Underdog Total Money Odds
10/30 8:25 ET New Orleans    -2.5 At Carolina 48.5 -$140 +$120
11/2 1:00 ET At Miami    -2 San Diego 44 -$130 +$110
11/2 1:00 ET At Cincinnati    -11 Jacksonville 43 -$650 +$475
11/2 1:00 ET At Cleveland    -6.5 Tampa Bay 44 -$290 +$240
11/2 1:00 ET At Minnesota    -1.5 Washington 44 -$125 +$105
11/2 1:00 ET Philadelphia    -2 At Houston 48.5 -$130 +$110
11/2 1:00 ET At Kansas City    -9.5 NY Jets 41.5 -$470 +$370
11/2 1:00 ET At Dallas    -3.5 Arizona 47 -$190 +$170
11/2 4:05 ET At San Francisco    -10 St. Louis 44 -$500 +$400
11/2 4:25 ET Denver    -3 At New England 55 -$170 +$150
11/2 4:25 ET At Seattle    -15 Oakland 43 -$1400 +$900
11/2 8:30 ET At Pittsburgh     PK Baltimore 48 -$110  -$110
                                               Monday Night Football Odds
11/3 8:30 ET Indianapolis    -3 At NY Giants 51 -$170 +$150

The Pats go soaring up the week 9 power rankings

Pats move way up in the power rankings. (Photo By:  Jared Wickerham)

Pats move way up in the power rankings.
(Photo By: Jared Wickerham)

The Patriots have jumped 5 spots in ESPN’s power rankings for week 9! The Pats have come in at number 3 on ESPN while their next opponent remains at number one, the Denver Broncos. The Bears dropped from 19 to 23 after they loss 51-23 to the Pats.

NFL.com’s power rankings moved the Pats all the way from number 10 to the number 3 and earned them the label of “power move of the week”! The Bears dropped to 24 overall, 3 spots down, while the Pats next opponent the Broncos remained at number one. To see the NFL.com’s full power rankings list just follow the link HERE. 

RANK TEAM / RECORD TRENDING COMMENTS
1

Last Week: 1

This should be fun. Peyton’s Broncos, fresh off a 35-point performance against the Chargers, head to Foxborough, where Brady’s Pats just dropped 51 points on the Bears. Tackling optional.
2

3
Last Week: 5

The Cardinals gained 193 yards after the catch Sunday, their most in a game this season and their second most in a game in Stats & Info’s dataset (since 2006).
3

5
Last Week: 8

Tom Brady finished 20-for-20 Sunday targeting Brandon LaFell and Rob Gronkowski for a combined 273 yards and four touchdowns. October was very friendly to the Patriots (4-0).
4

2
Last Week: 2

DeMarco Murray gained an incredible 5.2 yards before contact on his average rush Monday night. Somehow, with Tony Romo injured in an overtime loss, Murray had a season-low 19 rushes.
5
Eagles
5-2

2
Last Week: 3

Sunday was a missed opportunity for the Eagles, the kind they should take advantage of now before a Week 13-15 stretch against the Cowboys, Seahawks and Cowboys again.
6
Lions
6-2

4
Last Week: 10

After starting 0-for-5 on throws at least 15 yards downfield in the first half, Matthew Stafford was 3-for-5 during the second-half comeback. All three completions were to Golden Tate.
7

1
Last Week: 6

Eddie Lacy had a career-high 182 yards from scrimmage Sunday night, including a career-high 123 receiving yards. The Packers got plenty of yards, just not enough points.
8

1
Last Week: 7

Even with Peyton Manning’s productive game Thursday night, the Chargers still have allowed only one quarterback (Carson Palmer, 304) to throw for at least 300 yards in a game.
9
Colts
5-3

5
Last Week: 4

The Colts entered Sunday with the league’s best third-down defense (26 percent). Then the Steelers converted eight of 13 attempts in Sunday’s offensive explosion.
10

1
Last Week: 11

Russell Wilson went 4-of-4 for 53 yards and a touchdown on the Seahawks’ game-winning drive after completing 57.1 percent of his passes on the Seahawks’ first seven drives.
11
49ers
4-3

1
Last Week: 12

Go big or go home for Colin Kaepernick. His QBR in every game this year has either been below 50 (four) or above 80 (three).
12
Bengals
4-2-1

1
Last Week: 13

Cincinnati is in good shape moving forward. The Bengals get the Jaguars, Browns, Saints, Texans and Buccaneers from now to Week 13, a stretch that should produce a few wins.
13
Ravens
5-3

4
Last Week: 9

Joe Flacco was 0-for-2 targeting Torrey Smith Sunday, throwing interceptions on both attempts. Flacco has thrown five of his seven picks this year targeting Smith.
14

1
Last Week: 15

Ben Roethlisberger finished 40-of-49 for 522 yards and six touchdowns Sunday. He’s the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 500 yards in a game twice.
15
Chiefs
4-3

1
Last Week: 14

Alex Smith is the first starting quarterback since Ryan Tannehill in Week 8 of 2012 to win a game without attempting multiple passes deeper than 10 yards downfield.
16
Bills
5-3

Last Week: 16

The Jets blitzed Kyle Orton at the highest rate of Orton’s season Sunday, and Orton finished 6-of-8 for 184 yards and three touchdowns against at least five rushers.
17
Saints
3-4

5
Last Week: 22

Even at 3-4, the Saints are tied for first in the NFC South. New Orleans has won 11 straight at home, including 3-0 this year.
18

Last Week: 18

Does anyone know what to expect from Ryan Tannehill at this point? He has as many games with a QBR above 90 (three) as below 30.
19
Browns
4-3

1
Last Week: 20

Brian Hoyer was blitzed at the second-highest rate of his season Sunday, and finished 9-of-12 for 101 yards and a touchdown when the Raiders sent at least five rushers.
20
Panthers
3-4-1

3
Last Week: 17

Cam Newton was 3-of-10 for 61 yards and an interception on straight dropback passes (no play-action fake), the fewest completions and lowest percentage in his career.
21
Texans
4-4

2
Last Week: 23

J.J. Watt had two sacks Sunday, his 10th game with multiple sacks in the past three seasons, most of any player in the league.
22
Giants
3-4

1
Last Week: 21

This is a brutal stretch for the Giants, facing the Colts, Seahawks, 49ers and Cowboys in the next four weeks. New York must beat good teams for a playoff berth.
23
Bears
3-5

4
Last Week: 19

The Bears allowed 38 points in Sunday’s first half, most in a first half in franchise history. Jay Cutler was 3-of-9 for 35 yards and an interception targeting Brandon Marshall.
24

2
Last Week: 26

QB controversy! OK, probably not, but Colt McCoy was 6-of-7 for 136 yards targeting DeSean Jackson. McCoy’s 7-yard quarterback draw touchdown looked like a Robert Griffin III play call.
25

2
Last Week: 27

Cordarrelle Patterson was targeted 10 times Sunday, the second-highest total in a game in his career. When Patterson has at least seven touches, Minnesota is 2-0-1.
26

1
Last Week: 25

A fifth straight loss means problems for coach Mike Smith. Not sure what’s worse, the 2-6 record or the fact that the Falcons are only two games behind in the NFC South loss column.
27
Rams
2-5

3
Last Week: 24

Austin Davis entered Sunday ranked seventh in completion percentage on throws deeper than 10 yards downfield this season. Davis was a brutal 2-of-7 with an interception on those throws Sunday.
28
Titans
2-6

Last Week: 28

Zach Mettenberger posted a 22.7 Total QBR in his first start. Mettenberger was 27-of-41 for 299 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and a free social media lesson from J.J. Watt.
29

1
Last Week: 30

The Buccaneers have allowed an 81.2 Total QBR this season (31st in NFL). For context, Peyton Manning’s QBR in his record-setting 2013 was 82.9.
30
Jets
1-7

1
Last Week: 29

The quarterback situation is still a mess. Geno Smith and Michael Vick were a combined 1-for-9 for 11 yards and four interceptions on throws deeper than 10 yards downfield Sunday.
31

Last Week: 31

Blake Bortles threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns Sunday. Bortles is the second quarterback since the start of last season to throw two pick-sixes in a game (Geno Smith).
32

Last Week: 32

The Raiders are 0-7 and have games coming up against the Seahawks, Broncos and Chargers in the next three weeks. Should Oakland trade or use the first overall pick?

Patriots trade for LB Jonathan Casillas

LB Jonathan Casillas (Photo By: Kim Klement)

LB Jonathan Casillas
(Photo By: Kim Klement)

The Patriots have traded for linebacker Jonathan Casillas from the Buccaneers, according to Ian Rapoport.

Sources also confirm the Pats gave up a 5th round pick for the LB and a 6th round pick from the Bucs.

Casillas is a 6’1, 227 pound linebacker that played for the Saints and the Buccaneers, mostly as a backup and special teamer. He’s small for a LB but fast. He can provide coverage at the LB spot, almost like a SS with his size and speed.

He has 138 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 FF, 2 FR, and 5 passes defended in 55 games played in his 6 seasons.

I’m not going to pretend I have heard of him before or know much about him because I don’t and I have no idea how much the Pats will use, that is something will learn in time.

The Pats have had quite a few former Bucs on their team and all have done good.

RB LeGarrette Blount, and CB Aqib Talib, both were traded to the Pats and performed well enough to earn big contracts elsewhere. The Pats also traded for current tight end Tim Wright, who has been good in the red zone, and they signed former Bucs CB Darrelle Revis, who has been a lockdown corner of New England.

We can only hope, Casillas can be as good as the others.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also sent S Mark Barron to the Rams.

Tom Brady talks Bears, Peyton, and Denver

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Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the WEEI Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Bears, the Broncos, and Peyton Manning.

Brady and the Pats dismantled the Bears, but Brady believes they can still work on things.

“I think there’s always room for improvement,” he said. “But truthfully, the guys make it easy for the quarterback when all those guys play the way they did yesterday. It makes it easy for me — not to say playing the Bears defense is easy, because it’s not — but when the guys around you play the way they did, it makes it easy for the quarterback.

“I’m proud of the way those guys — all of them, Julian [Edelman] and Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] and Danny [Amendola] and the offensive line especially, Tim Wright played great, we got off to a great start in the run game. All those things, they all have a cumulative effect on the offense. You’re trying to move the ball down the field, score points, and when the guys around you are playing at the level they played at, for me, then I just read the defense and make the throw and those guys are making all the plays. It was a great day for us.”

Brady was asked about Rob Gronkowski’s 3 touchdown performance against the Bears.

“He was phenomenal,” Brady said. “He’s been such a great player for our offense and our team. I love playing with him. He brings such an energy to the team. He’s a great player. He certainly played as well as he’s ever played yesterday — three touchdowns through 2 1/2 quarters was pretty awesome. He’s making all the catches, making all the catch-and-runs. He’s just playing fearlessly. The guys really take a cue from him. He’s just a great player.

“When he plays like that — and like I said, [Brandon] LaFell plays like that, Julian’s been one of our most consistent players for the last two years, he’s just been phenomenal for us. Danny made a couple of plays, Tim Wright, the offensive line, the run game. When one guy’s doing well it just helps another guy do well and then helps another guy do well. You see some of the great offenses around the league week in and week out, it’s those types of performances that lead to team success.

“It’s been good, we’ve made some great improvements here from what we talked about over a month ago. But look, we’ve still got to get better. Our whole season’s in front of us. We’ve got to get back to work today and we’ve got obviously the biggest game of the year coming up.”

Brady talks about how fun it’s been playing since the loss to the Chiefs.

“I think it’s a lot of little things, I really do,” Brady said. “It’s everybody playing better, it’s us all having more trust and confidence in one another. It couldn’t just be one thing. Football’s such a team sport, and everybody relies on each other. It’s just a lot of guys doing their job at a higher level. That’s what it takes, and that’s what we’ve always talked about — that’s what we always talk about down at our facility, is just making the individual improvement so that the group performance is a lot better. Because you can’t control what someone else can do, you can only really control what you can do.

“But I love the way that the guys are playing. It’s been a lot of fun to be out there. Yesterday was one of the most fun days we’ve ever had on the football field.”

The talk then moved to Peyton Manning and, if Brady thought Manning has more weapons.

“I love the guys that I play with. I wouldn’t change any of them for anybody. The group that I’ve been lucky enough to play with — and I’ve had some great ones over the years. As a quarterback you work all offseason with the group of guys and you develop a chemistry and a camaraderie with each other, and it’s great when it all pays off.

“I don’t pick the players, I don’t do any of those things. That’s not my job. My job’s just to try to make the best of what I can try to help our team do. We brought in some great players to our offense over the last few years, and we’re trying to do the best we can do. Other teams are doing that, too.

“What can you say more about what Peyton Manning has been able to accomplish? It’s been the greatest season-and-a-half stretch in the history of the NFL. Nobody’s really matched what he’s been able to do, and what that offense has been able to do, most importantly. When we play this weekend we’re going to have to try to match it, because that’s what it’s going to take. They’ve got a great team. We’re going to have to be at our best.”

Brady touched on the rivalry against Manning and if he thinks about it and how much it means.

“Probably five, six years ago you don’t think about those things. But you’re right, as you mature a little bit and realize this could always be the last one, then you do. It’s pretty special. He’s been one of the greatest players to ever play. I’ve been fortunate to share a field with one of the best players that ever has played the game. Every time we play a Peyton Manning-led team it comes down to the wire. Everything’s usually at stake.

“We had a few opportunities last year, we won the first one, lost the second one. This year we’ve got to be at our best. Fortunately I don’t have to go against him, our defense does. I’ve got to go up against Aqib Talib andDeMarcus Ware and Von Miller and T.J. Ward. They’ve got a whole challenge they present in and of itself. They’re a really well-balanced team. They do a lot of things well. It means we’re going to have to be at our best. Hopefully we can go out and give our fans something cheer about. It will be a fun day.”

Brady was also asked if he’s losing trust in Edelman after 2 drops each in the past 2 games.

“Never. I have never lost faith in that guy. He’s an incredible player and friend. Nobody works harder than Jules. He’s tough on himself, he’s his toughest critic. He’s one of the most competitive players I’ve ever played with. He want to contribute so badly and be a part of everything that we’re doing. He wants the ball on every play, which I really love that about him.

“Other guys have had some opportunity, and he hasn’t gotten as many looks as I need to get him. I’m definitely going to get him more and get him into the flow of the offense so that he can be the great player that he is.”

(Transcript provided by WEEI.com)

Tom Brady’s Postgame Transcript

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Tom Brady talks about the win over the Bears during yesterday’s postgame conference.

Q: How big was it to have Rob Gronkowski up and running today?

TB: It’s pretty sweet. He was a big-time player today. It was great to get him going like that. Certainly running the ball was great. The guys up from played awesome. A lot of guys contributed. We got great play defensively. There were a lot of big plays and we got a lot of momentum, so it was a fun day. Those don’t happen like that very often.

Q: Does this send you guys into the Denver game as confident as you have been all year?

TB: We have a week to prepare, so we’ll kind of build our confidence throughout the week. They’re a different team. Obviously they are good team and we’ll need a week to prepare for them. It will be a fun game next week.

Q: Can you talk about Brandon LaFell who’s been coming on as of late and really had a breakout game?

TB: Yeah, he made a bunch of plays. He has great catch-and-run ability. He’s such a strong runner and when you get the ball in his hands good things happen, so we’ve got to keep finding ways to get him the ball. Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] did a great job. The backs did a great job. Danny [Amendola] made some plays, Jules [Julian Edelman] did, Tim Wrightdid. It was great to kind of get everybody in the flow and to score a lot of points like that. We need that. That’s what it’s going to take.

Q: Does the type of play like Rob Gronkowski’s third touchdown catch really define the type of player he is?

TB: That’s the way he’s been since he got to our team, fortunately for us. He’s a tough matchup. He’s big, fast, strong and when he plays like beast mode, he’s tough to stop.

Q: What’s allowed Brandon LaFell to turn the corner and get more in tune with you?

TB: Just the opportunity that he gets out there – I think he’s taken advantage of them. When he gets a chance to make a play, he’s making them. I think with new players sometimes you really don’t know what someone’s able to do in your offense until you actually get out there and do it and you make the plays in game-type situations. Even like his run after the catch ability, that doesn’t show up in training camp because we’re not tackling. And it doesn’t show up in the preseason – if he gets two catches a game it’s hard to tell. And then all of sudden you see it over eight games where he’s doing it every week and it becomes a big strength for your team. He had great run after the catch tonight; Gronk did, Jules and Danny have. The backs all ran hard. It always starts with the offensive line, with the way they protected and they did a great job as always. I give those guys a lot of credit. They’ve worked really hard to get to the point we’re at now. To start 2-2 and now we’re 6-2 and everything is ahead of us, that’s all you could ask for as a player.

Q: Was there any point in the first half where you felt everything was going right?

TB: We didn’t punt there until the middle of the third quarter, so it felt good at halftime. Everything was working. You come in and you want to make adjustments at halftime, but really we were just sticking with the plan because we did a good job keeping them off balance and when we were throwing it, we had great protection and guys were making a lot of plays in the passing game. It was one of those days where that’s what we needed. They have a really good offense and we needed to get ahead of them and make them play from behind and we did that and that’s why it turns out the way it does.

Q: With a big lead at halftime to come out up tempo, is part of that keeping your focus sharp?

TB: Yeah, and just keeping the pressure on them. I think you don’t want to [let your guard down]. I think you’ve got to still be aggressive. There was a lot of football left. We want to go out and establish some rhythm yourself and we did that on the first drive – it was a great drive. And then the second time, we punted. We had a couple completions, got a first down and then got stopped in short-yardage and I think we got a field goal there to start the fourth quarter. It was a good day offensively. We’re going to need it. I think we understand what we’re capable of and it’s good execution, good playing. Days like this, they don’t always happen so I think you enjoy it for a short period of time and then we move on like we always do.

Q: Can you put your finger on what has maybe changed for the offense that has allowed you to be more productive since the 2-2 start?

TB: I’m not sure. I haven’t tried to evaluate that. I just think we’re playing better. I think we have a lot of confidence in what we’re doing and we have to keep doing it.

Q: As a veteran quarterback, do you think you see things that a young quarterback might not? Does the game sometimes seem very easy?

TB: I think you rely on a lot of experience over the years and a lot of situations. You get pretty quickly to the things that you have confidence in when you’re out there. There are a lot of looks I’ve seen over the years, so it’s hard to really surprise me with certain things, especially if we’ve been preparing for it. I think like anyone, you’re just trying to be consistent and dependable for your team. I think a lot of guys on offense were like that today.

Q: I know you’re just getting through this game, but what are your initial thoughts as you look ahead to another matchup with Peyton Manning?

TB: I mean, we’ll see – like you said, I think we like to kind of get through this game. It will be a great game. It always is. It’s always pretty meaningful. It’s another game on our schedule that we’ve got to bring our best to. I think playing at home and [we] understand the challenge that they’re one of the best teams in football, so we’re going to need to play our best. Hopefully we do.

Q: Is there an added comfort level going into the next few games knowing what a good day you had today?

TB: I think all these games turn out differently. They’re different matchups and everything is different next week. I think like we did four weeks ago when we got our butts kicked against Kansas City, you have to put the game behind you and move forward – understand the things you screwed up and the way that you need to play. I think today we played the way we need to play: we got ahead, we stayed ahead. I think that’s probably been the biggest thing in the last four weeks: finally playing with some leads. That’s where you can really keep the pressure on and you’ve got your whole game plan you can still use defensively. You hopefully can turn it into a one-dimensional game like they did today where they’ve got to throw it a lot. It’s pretty tough to come from behind in the NFL, so it’s good to get ahead. If we do get behind, we’ve got to do our best to score more points and try to get the lead back, but it’s a pretty good recipe when you’re playing from ahead like we have the last few weeks.

(Transcript provided by Patriots.com)