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5 Patriots-related thoughts from Week 9 in NFL

Ryan Hannable
November 05, 2017 - 11:34 pm

Even though the Patriots had their bye week, there was still plenty of action in the NFL related to the Patriots to keep tabs on this weekend.

Here are five thoughts following Sunday’s games from a Patriots perceptive.

1. The Bills and Jets faced off on Thursday Night Football and with a win the Bills could have tied the Patriots for first place in the AFC East, but instead they fell 34-21, in a game which wasn’t that close. Buffalo showed vulnerabilities in a few areas, but it should be noted they should be better down the stretch after acquiring receiver Kelvin Benjamin from the Panthers at the trade deadline. This will make their two meetings with the Patriots later on in the year quite interesting as the Patriots had trouble with Benjamin the Week 4 game when he was with the Panthers. If Buffalo can keep pace with the Patriots, the Dec. 3 matchup in Buffalo could be very interesting, as the Bills are playing very well at home. The Bills are currently 5-3. As for the Jets, even with the win and improving to 4-5 on the year they are not viewed as a threat to the Patriots in the division. 

2. The new-look Dolphins fell to the Raiders, 27-24 on Sunday Night Football. Miami traded starting running back Jay Ajaii to the Eagles at the trade deadline in a move which shook the team. At 4-4, Miami isn't a big threat to the Patriots in the division, but the Dolphins always seem to play the Patriots tough late in the year, especially in South Florida. The Patriots will play the Dolphins Nov. 26 at Gillette Stadium and then on Monday Night Football in Miami Dec. 11.

3. The Patriots will travel to Denver next Sunday night and the Broncos will be coming off a miserable loss in Philadelphia, as they fell to the Eagles 51-23. This was their fourth straight loss, the first time they’ve done that since 2010. The game was even worse than the final score indicates as the Broncos scored 14 fourth quarter points. The Eagles averaged 6.3 yards per play, while the Broncos averaged just 3.8. There’s also a quarterback controversy as despite his two interceptions, it appears Brock Osweiler will start the game, but Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch remain options. Official confirmation has yet to come and likely will have to wait until mid-week.

4. Remember after four weeks when it looked like the Patriots would be facing an uphill climb for the No. 1 seed in the AFC with the Chiefs undefeated and the Patriots 2-2 with the Chiefs holding the tiebreaker? Well, the Patriots are currently tied for the top overall seed in the AFC with the Steelers at 6-2, as with the Chiefs’ loss to Dallas they are now 6-3. Looking down the road, the Patriots will meet the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Dec. 17, which could ultimately be for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Bottom line, the Patriots are right where they usually are when it comes to the battle for the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC.

5. It was Jimmy Garoppolo's first game as a member of the 49ers, but the quarterback obviously didn't see any action. In fact, this week head coach Kyle Shanahan said it is no guarantee he plays at all the rest of the season as he gets familiar with the new system. After watching Sunday, it's hard to imagine this staying true, as led by C. J. Beathard, the 49ers fell to the Cardinals 20-10 at home. Of the 49ers' 14 drives, six of them were three-and-outs to go along with two turnover on downs and an interception. A more realistic thought for Garoppolo is to start the game following their bye week, which is Nov. 29 against Seattle.