New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

Patriots QB Cam Newton Says No Panic Button Being Pushed Despite Team Being Under .500

After the Patriots slipped under .500 for the first time this deep into a season since 2002, quarterback Cam Newton expressed confidence in a turnaround, Mike Riess of ESPN Boston reports.

“There’s no need to press the panic button. There’s no need to start reinventing the wheel. We have the answers in that locker room,” Newton said Monday morning in his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI.

Newton was 17-of-25 for 157 yards with two interceptions in the loss, and noted that his timing was off, which resulted in him holding on to the ball too long at times. He was sacked four times.

“I just have to be better, and I can’t stress that enough moving forward. The anticipation was off, I think that was the biggest discrepancy in not having practice,” he said in the radio interview. “Usually in most times, you can throw it way before the receiver is looking for it, and be on the money with it. But not having practice for as long as I have had practice, it just showed.”

Patriots Game Against Denver Moved From Monday to Next Sunday

Sunday morning the league announced that the game that was supposed to take place Monday night between the Pats and Broncos is now being moved to next Sunday, and that the Pats will have their bye week this week instead.

Denver’s scheduled game against the Dolphins will have to be rescheduled for later in the 2020 season.

Patriots Home Game Against Broncos Moved to Monday Night

Covid-19 has impacted the Pats against this week, as the team has been told that they are going to have to wait till Monday night to take on the Broncos at home.

The Pats placed cornerback Stephon Gilmore on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday after he tested positive.

Quarterback Cam Newton had tested positive last Friday, while practice-squad defensive tackle Bill Murray was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday.

Being on the list does not mean a player has tested positive for the coronavirus; it could also mean he has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

Bill Belichick Says It’s Safety First for the Patriots

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Thursday morning that the team’s facility will remain closed through at least the rest of the day, as “it’s the health and safety of the team first and football second,” Mike Riess of ESPN Boston reports.

Belichick added that the Patriots are still preparing to play Sunday’s game against the Broncos at Gillette Stadium (CBS, 4:25 p.m. ET) until advised otherwise by those making medical decisions for the team and NFL. The Patriots, who are holding all meetings virtually, received no new positive tests from Wednesday’s results that came back late Wednesday, according to a source.

The team placed cornerback Stephon Gilmore on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday after he tested positive. Quarterback Cam Newton had tested positive last Friday, while practice-squad defensive tackle Bill Murray was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday. Being on the list does not mean a player has tested positive for the coronavirus; it could also mean he has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

Of his level of concern for the continued health and safety of the team, Belichick said, “There’s nothing more important than the health of the team. Without a healthy team, you don’t have a team. That’s priority No. 1, and I’d say not only to our team but to their families and people that are close to them. That’s always our No. 1 concern. We try to do everything we can to make that the best we can make it. That’s the way it’s always been, and that’s not going to change.”

Belichick, 68, was asked how he is feeling personally and said he was “great.”

The Patriots haven’t been able to practice with their facility closed the last two days.

“We continued our preparation for Denver with virtual calls, and we’ll just kind of take the situation day by day,” Belichick said. “When we feel that it’s safe for everyone to come back, we’ll do that. We all have questions, and this is really more of a medical situation than a football situation. We’ll work through the decisions and input from the people in the medical field — combination of Patriots and league.”

Cam Newton Tests Positive for Covid-19; Game vs KC to be Moved to Monday or Tuesday

In a stunning turn of events 24 hours before the Pats game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Patriots QB Cam Newton has been ruled out after a positive covid-19 test.

Schefter also reports via twitter that the Pats are doing mass testing and re-testing and, so far, there is no spread, per source.

Brian Hoyer is expected to be the starter in the game against Kansas City, but now there’s a report that the game will be moved to Monday or Tuesday.

The New York Times reports that the NFL is looking closely at the situation.

“In consultation with infectious disease experts, both clubs are working closely with the N.F.L. and the N.F.L.P.A. to evaluate multiple close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments,” the league said in a statement. “All decisions will be made with the health and safety of players, team and gameday personnel as our primary consideration.”

Patriots Center David Andrews Undergoes Surgery On His Thumb

Patriots starting center David Andrews underwent surgery on the right thumb of his snapping hand this week, a source confirmed to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston.

Jay Glazer of Fox Sports first reported the surgery, which is expected to keep Andrews out of Sunday’s home game against the Las Vegas Raiders (CBS, 1 p.m. ET) and possibly beyond.

Andrews, who injured the thumb in Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, did not participate in team drills on Wednesday and Thursday, although he was present at the start of practice the last two days with a wrap/cast on his right thumb that extended down to his wrist. At one point, in individual drills, he attempted to snap with his left hand.

Andrews, one of the team’s captains and a key cog who makes the protection calls, is valued for his intelligence and toughness. He missed the 2019 season after being diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs, but returned to form the first two games of this year.

“He’s the piece that holds it all together as the center,” starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn said this week. “With all his knowledge, he’s very reliable. When we don’t know something, he knows the answer to it. Just him being the key piece has been helpful and great.”

Wednesday’s Patriots and Dolphins Injury Report

MIAMI DOLPHINS
 
Practice Report
  LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
  Wednesday TE Mike Gesicki (glute), CB Xavien Howard (knee), CB Byron Jones (achilles), WR DeVante Parker (hamstring), LB Kyle Van Noy (hand), WR Preston Williams (knee)
 
  FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
  Wednesday QB Tua Tagovailoa (hip)
 
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
 
Practice Report
  DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
  Wednesday T Yodny Cajuste (knee), LB Cassh Maluia (knee)
 
  LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
  Wednesday WR Julian Edelman (knee), WR Gunner Olszewski (foot), DE Chase Winovich (shoulder)

Who Will Win The AFC East?

For the last two decades, the AFC East has revolved around the New England Patriots. However, with Tom Brady leaving New England, that could be about to change. Is the year that the Patriots are unseated from their throne or could Bill Belichick find a way to keep dominating the AFC East in the post-Brady era?

Buffalo Bills

Shockingly, the Bills are the NFL betting odds favorites in the AFC East with +120 odds to win the division although just +2500 odds to win the Super Bowl, according to DraftKings. Somehow, they have better odds to win the division than New England but the Patriots have a better shot to win the Super Bowl. 

In any event, Buffalo’s chances this season will boil down to the development of quarterback Josh Allen. The Bills are poised to have a dominating defense after giving up 16.2 points per game last year. But it’s all about Allen showing improvement after completing just 58.8% of his passes in 2019. With the acquisition of Stefon Diggs, the supporting cast around Allen has improved, but he must become a more proficient quarterback for the Bills to get to the next level. If Allen takes a step forward, the Bills could win the AFC East and be a serious threat to win the AFC.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins enter 2020 with +8000 Super Bowl odds and a +800 moneyline to win the AFC East. Although they may not be the public betting pick, thinking that Miami can go from worst to first in the AFC East isn’t the craziest thing in the post-Brady era. Remember that early in the 2019 season, we pondered whether the Dolphins might go winless. But Brian Flores found a way to rally an undermanned team and win five games. 

After a healthy crop of draft picks, the Dolphins are better positioned heading into the 2020 season. In addition to all of the young talent on Miami’s roster, Jordan Howard and Matt Breida have helped to solidify the Miami backfield. The biggest question that remains is whether Tua Tagovailoa can push Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starting quarterback. Fitzpatrick isn’t a terrible option, but Tagovailoa has the higher ceiling once the Dolphins deem him ready.

New England Patriots

As mentioned, the Patriots have +130 odds to win the AFC East, just a hair behind the Bills. But New England is +1800 to win the Super Bowl, higher than all but six teams. Without question, New England’s chances are improved by the fact that Cam Newton will be the starting quarterback rather than the untested Jarrett Stidham. Of course, questions linger about Newton’s health after a lost 2019 season and whether he’ll fit into Belichick’s scheme and culture.

Outside of Newton, there are other questions about the Patriots. The roster lacks a proven no. 1 receiver and has a few other deficiencies that Brady has helped to hide in previous years. The silver lining is that New England’s defense was the best in the NFL last year, giving up 14.1 points per game. That should help the Patriots remain in contention to win the AFC East yet again.

New York Jets

Adam Gase and the Jets are +8000 to win the Super Bowl and +850 to win the AFC East, the worst odds in the division. Chaos appears to be the prevailing theme of Gase’s tenure with the Jets. Well, chaos and an inept offense that averaged just 17.3 points per game last season. This season the Jets may be more concerned with hitting their over under picks rather than trying to go out and win the division. 

Of course, the Jets believe they can turn things around if Sam Darnold is healthy for 16 games this year. However, Darnold has been turnover-prone in his first two seasons, a problem he also had at USC. The Jets also have some serious work to do to improve their offensive line while the exit of Robby Anderson leaves them without one of their most important receivers from the past few years. In short, the Jets have a tall mountain to climb in 2020.