1. The Patriots are now fighting for 2nd place in the AFC.
With Sunday’s loss, the Patriots fall two games behind the Chiefs for the top spot in the AFC and are now engaged in their annual collision course with the Steelers. (Which just to add a little spice this year, the Steelers have that damn tie with Cleveland, they should be sent home just for that!) The Chiefs actually have a difficult road the rest of the season starting next week against the Rams in Mexico, home for the Chargers in week 15 and at Seattle week 16.
There is a chance the Chiefs could drop two of those games, but even in that scenario the Patriots would have to win out. FYI, if the playoffs started today, the Chiefs would be the one seed, the Steelers would get the two and the Patriots would be playing the Bengals on Wild Card weekend, which would this the Patriots first season without a playoff bye in almost a decade.
2. This team can’t travel.
The Patriots have two road wins all year, just a couple of grimy victories at Chicago and Buffalo. All three of the Patriots losses this year have come on the road: vs the 3-6 Jags, 3-6 Lions and 5-4 Titans, not exactly a Murderer’s Row. Mike Lombardi has a great phrase “Bad lines don’t travel” and the Patriots line in Music City gave a worse showing than the GOP at the mid-terms. If the Patriots are going to go to a 9th Super Bowl since Y2K, they can’t drive through Pittsburgh or Kansas City to get there, they’ll never make it out alive.
3. 3 rapid fire observations from Sunday to finish up
Brady never got comfortable and a tip of the cap to Tennessee, they brought pressure from different angles all day. Brady has looked more uncomfortable this season than ever before: he’s patting the ball, little bit of happy feet, but today I think he threw more twisting back foot throws into the ground than anytime other than the 2016 AFC title game in Denver.
On Edelman’s pass to Brady, he got lit up pretty good as he jumped to throw, is that roughing the passer? Or, was it when Brady got tackled on the same play? No flags on either hit, but interesting to think about, I genuinely have no idea if it could have been called when Edelman got hit. If roughing the passer can’t be called, then what’s to stop Brian Orakpo from just lighting Jules up on a play like that?
Stephon Gilmore had his worst game of the season. Gilmore was putting together a really good sophomore year in New England until Sunday when Corey Davis abused him repeatedly. This is nothing new, Davis victimized Gilmore in last year’s playoff game as well. Stephon Gilmore is considered one of the bigger corners in the league but against a big target like Davis, he has struggled.