FOXBORO (CBS) – The Patriots aren’t playing football this weekend, which is a shame. They have racked up seven straight wins to overtake the top seed in the AFC and have been a treat to watch over the past few months.
But just because there’s no Patriots football doesn’t mean there isn’t football to watch. In fact, there are plenty of important pig skins for New England fans to buckle up for this weekend. No one can win anything in the AFC, but there are a lot of important matches to be played on Sunday.
That includes and old friend visiting an old enemy, and that old friend might really be on to something this weekend. So while there’s no Patriots game to watch, there’s quite a bit to see in Week 14.
The Patriots are at the top of the AFC with a score of 9-4, with the trio of 8-4 teams taking the lead. All three of those teams will be active on Sunday.
The 8-4 Titans are currently behind the Patriots in the AFC standings, and they have an easy game against the Jaguars 2-10 in Tennessee. Both of Jacksonville’s wins have been against teams with a winning record (the Bills and Dolphins), but the Jags have been down 88-31 for the past three weeks, so another nasty win for them is highly unlikely. this weekend.
The 8-4 Baltimore Ravens are third in the AFC and will be visiting the 6-6 Cleveland Browns this weekend, the team they just defeated a few weeks ago, 16-10. With their bye week between these games against Cleveland, the Ravens beat has been basically all about the Browns over the past three weeks. That gives them a sizable advantage over a struggling team, with Cleveland losing 3 of the last 5 games and 5 of the last 8 overall.
Rounding out the 8-4 trio in the AFC was the Kansas City Captains, a team that has won five straight and six out of seven. They are not quite back to being the tops that have dominated the AFC for the past two years, but they are getting closer. And this weekend, they will host the Raiders 6-6, who have lost four of their last five games to fall out of the playoff picture. You can catch the game on WBZ at 1pm on Sunday.
Any of the teams losing 8-4 this weekend would obviously help the Patriots’ cause to remain top of the AFC, but none of the games really backed that up happening. At least New England has a record of drawing all three, thanks to a 7-1 record against the AFC this season.
Brady against the bills
The 4:25 p.m. game on CBS/WBZ is worth watching this weekend, both around the NFL and here in New England. The Bills were just demoralized by their division sheet on national television on Monday night, with the Patriots needing Mac Jones to throw just three passes thanks to an overwhelmingly underwhelming running game. Now Buffalo is up against a quarterback who has done nothing but demoralize their franchise for two decades, and they must do so in a short week.
It wouldn’t be fair if it wasn’t so poetic.
There’s a good chance Tom Brady will hit three more passes into the Buffalo net this weekend, as he has his 33rd career win over the Bills. The Bills look like they’re ready to explode after Monday night’s laugh, and six days after the Patriots reasserted themselves as the kings of the AFC East, the Bills now face Brady. Difficult.
Brady and the Bucs could also meet this weekend. With wins and losses by Saints and the Panthers, Tampa Bay earned the NFC South title and a playoff berth. (They could still clinch a playoff spot with draws with losses from Carolina and New Orleans, and draw or lose by both San Francisco and Washington, but that would be silly.)
Other rookie QBs
Mac Jones’ drop to the Patriots in 15th place is infuriating other NFL teams and fans around the league. And the fact that the four midfielders ahead of him aren’t doing much to help their respective teams at the moment add salt to the wound.
This weekend will be a good opportunity for Patriots fans to see the rest of the pitch. Or at least some pitches, considering only two out of four QB rookies are actually starting for their team. That would be Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, who have been to two of football’s worst teams and are now coaching… two of football’s worst teams. Justin Fields is currently on the bench in Chicago behind Andy Dalton, and Trey Lance is stuck behind Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco.
Jones doesn’t light up the world with fire stats, but he ahead of everyone else in the QB rookie class in most major categories, including completion rate (70.3%), passes (2,869) and touchdown passes (16). He also leads the group with nine wins under his belt.
No one is holding Jones in the winning category this weekend, but Lawrence could rank Jones in some passers-by – if the Titans’ defense had a really bad weekend.
You don’t have to wait until Sunday to fix your football. There’s only one game in the college rankings this weekend, and that’s the big one: the annual Army-Navy Game.
Army has won 4 of the last 5 matches and is leading 8-3 in the season. The Marines have an impressive ground attack, but the Midshipmen are only 3-8. However, victory over the Army is all that matters to the Navy and vice versa. (Though at least the Army gets to play in Arms for two weeks.)
Patriots fans watching the match (the match is on WBZ at 3pm Saturday) should keep an eye out for New England snapper Joe Cardona, who attended the game for the first time since graduation from the Naval Academy and was founded by the Patriots in 2015. He will be one of those who shout out “Army Defeat!” throughout the game.
https://boston.cbslocal.com/2021/12/10/patriots-bye-week-brady-bills-titans-chiefs-ravens-what-to-watch-for-nfl-week-14/ AFC Competition, and Brady Gets the Bill – CBS Boston