Dec 6, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) in the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots look to continue playoff push vs. Colts

New England won its last game while attempting just three passes, so Mac Jones’ arm figures to get more work when the Patriots visit the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC showdown on Saturday night.

Jones doesn’t quibble with workloads and is more focused on trying to help New England (9-4) win its eighth consecutive game. The Patriots can clinch a playoff spot this weekend with a win and a combination of losses by multiple AFC contenders.

Still, a quarterback going 2-for-3 passing for 19 yards in the 14-10 win over the Buffalo Bills in frigid conditions on Dec. 6 seems more like something from the 1940s version of the NFL.

“I’m just trying to win,” Jones said. “It was good that we scored more than the other team, and we did a great job on offense.

“It doesn’t matter how many times you run it or throw it. As long as you win, everyone’s going to be happy.”

The Patriots racked up 222 yards on the ground in the key victory that preceded a bye. New England holds a two-game lead over the Bills in the AFC East race with four games to play.

Jones, a first-round pick (15th overall) in the 2021 draft, has been solid with a 70.3 percent completion rate to go with 2,869 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

The Colts (7-6), who have won four of their past five games, are excelling on the ground behind NFL-rushing leader Jonathan Taylor.

Taylor has 1,348 rushing yards and also leads the NFL with 16 rushing touchdowns. He has topped 100 yards in all seven of Indianapolis’ victories.

Taylor has 18 total touchdowns, two shy of the franchise mark set by Baltimore Colts legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lenny Moore in 1964.

Taylor said he isn’t worrying about records, accolades or stats.

“It’s not like track and field where I’m lining up, it’s just me and I’m racing the other guys next to me,” Taylor said. “It takes all 11 guys on the field in order to have a play go. All it takes is one guy to not be on for a play to crumble.

“That’s why I try and go out there every single play and make sure that I’m on, because I trust and truly believe that every single guy on that field, all 10 other guys are doing their job to a ‘T.’”

The Patriots rank 19th against the run, allowing 114.5 yards per game, so limiting Taylor will be a mighty challenge.

“Taylor’s a home run hitter, he’s a guy that’s not afraid of contact,” New England safety Adrian Phillips said. “You can see as the game keeps going he just gets more physical and if people don’t want to hit when it comes to the third or fourth quarter … he’s going to attack you.”

Taylor’s rise has helped quarterback Carson Wentz, who is having a strong season with 2,948 yards, 22 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

The Colts also feature one of the NFL’s top defensive players in linebacker Darius Leonard, who has 97 tackles, five forced fumbles and two interceptions.

Indianapolis allowed just 141 total yards (84 rushing, 57 passing) last Sunday while rolling to a 31-0 road win over the Houston Texans.

The Colts will be looking to end an eight-game losing skid against New England, a streak that includes playoff losses in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

“I don’t want our players to get too caught up in the past,” Indianapolis coach Frank Reich said. “I do want them to understand that it is a big deal here.”

The Colts will get two-time Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly back. Kelly missed the game with Houston after being placed on the COVID-19 list. He was removed from that list on Tuesday and was a full practice participant on Wednesday while being listed with a knee injury.

Tight end Jack Doyle (ankle) was limited while linebacker Bobby Okereke (illness) sat out for Indianapolis.

Jones (left thumb) practiced in full for New England, while Phillips (knee), center David Andrews (shoulder) and running back Damien Harris (hamstring) were among players who were limited.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots ride Mac Jones’ career day to win over Titans

Mac Jones passed for a career-high 310 yards and two touchdowns as the host New England Patriots defeated the Tennessee Titans 36-13 for their sixth straight win Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.

The rookie quarterback completed 23 of 32 passes and eclipsed his previous high of 307 yards in New England’s 54-13 rout of the New York Jets on Oct. 24. Kendrick Bourne made a pair of TD catches Sunday while Jakobi Meyers had a team-high 98 receiving yards for the Patriots (8-4).

The Patriots’ league-leading winning streak is their longest since they opened the 2019 season with eight straight victories.

Dontrell Hilliard rushed for a career-best 131 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries for Tennessee (8-4). The fourth-year rusher was elevated from the practice squad by the injury-depleted Titans ahead of last week’s loss to Houston.

D’Onta Foreman also rushed for 109 yards on 19 carries. Ryan Tannehill passed for 93 yards on 11-of-21 passing with one touchdown and an interception for Tennessee.

It was the Titans’ second straight loss following a six-game winning streak. Tennessee held the No. 1 seed in the conference coming into the day. New England entered as the third seed behind the Baltimore Ravens (7-3), who host Cleveland on Sunday night.

New England led 16-13 at halftime. Nick Folk’s fourth of five field goals had the Patriots on top 19-13 early in the third.

Late in the quarter, Jones connected with Bourne for a 41-yard score down the sideline that was set up by a timely block from Meyers.

Folk added a 52-yarder in the fourth quarter before Damien Harris rushed for a 14-yard touchdown with 4:38 remaining to put the game away.

The Patriots scored on their first possession of the game, with Jones hitting Bourne on a 4-yard fade in the corner of the end zone to make it 7-0 with 7:37 left in the first quarter.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine dove low into the end zone on a 1-yard pass from Tannehill with 14:29 to play in the second quarter, but Randy Bullock missed the extra point.

Three straight Folk field goals put the Patriots up 16-6 before Hilliard broke loose for a 68-yard touchdown run with 37 seconds left before halftime.

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs the ball in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cordarrelle Patterson limited in practice for Falcons

Cordarrelle Patterson was a limited participant for the Atlanta Falcons at practice Tuesday, calling into question his availability for the team’s Thursday night home game with the New England Patriots.

The all-purpose player sprained his ankle in the team’s 43-3 loss against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, playing only 20 total (15 offensive) snaps.

Patterson, 30, has played in nine games this season, catching 39 passes for 473 yards with five touchdowns, to go along with 303 yards rushing and another two touchdowns on the ground.

Over a nine-year career with the Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, Chicago Bears and Atlanta, Patterson has totaled 3,880 yards from scrimmage with 25 touchdowns.

Safety Jaylinn Hawkins (ankle), who has appeared in eight games with one start, was also limited Tuesday, while tight end Lee Smith (back) and defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard (concussion) were full participants.

The Falcons also placed offensive lineman Josh Andrews on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, making his availability for Thursday’s game highly unlikely.

Andrews, 30, has appeared in just one game for the Falcons, seeing six specials teams snaps against the Dolphins Oct. 24, after starting four games as a member of the New York Jets in 2020.

For the Patriots, fifteen players were listed as limited on Tuesday. That includes such notable names as running back Damien Harris (concussion), kicker Nick Folk (left knee), linebacker Dont’a Hightower (ankle) and cornerback Jalen Mills (forearm).

–Field Level Media

Aug 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA;  New England Patriots center James Ferentz (65) runs off the field against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots release OL James Ferentz from active roster

The New England Patriots released offensive lineman James Ferentz on Monday, while also releasing center Drake Jackson and fullback Ben Mason from the practice squad.

Ferentz, who has been with the Patriots since 2018, had two starts at left guard this season. The 32-year-old was elevated from the practice squad for three games, then was signed to the 53-man roster Oct. 27.

The Iowa product broke into the NFL with the Denver Broncos in 2015. He has played in 48 career NFL games with six starts. He started two games for the Patriots in each of the past three seasons.

Jackson, out of Kentucky, and Mason, out of Michigan, had both been on the New England practice squad since September.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA;  New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) throws a pass during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie quarterback battle looms in Patriots-Jets

Two of the five quarterbacks selected in the first round of this year’s draft collide as No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson and the New York Jets host No. 15 overall pick Mac Jones and the New England Patriots in an AFC East divisional clash on Sunday afternoon in East Rutherford, N.J.

Neither highly-touted quarterback was victorious in their respective NFL debuts last Sunday.

Wilson threw for 258 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on 20-for-37 passing in New York’s 19-14 defeat at Carolina. Meanwhile, Jones finished 29-for-39 with 281 yards and a touchdown in New England’s 17-16 loss against Miami.

Both were victims of poor protection as Wilson was sacked six times while Jones was sacked once, but took a number of bruising hits.

In Wilson, the Patriots will have to prepare for somewhat of an unknown as the promising 22-year-old makes just his second career start. However, New England coach Bill Belichick has seen enough of Wilson already to declare him a capable conductor of the Jets’ offense.

“He’s an explosive player,” Belichick said. “He’s got a great arm. Live arm. Makes all the throws. Athletic. Like any young player, you know, they gain experience and get better every time they go out there.”

Under Belichick, New England has historically fared well against rookie quarterbacks with a 21-6 record against them during his 22 seasons coaching the Patriots. On the road, however, Belichick’s teams are just 8-6 against first-year starters under center.

On the opposing sideline, New York knows full well how difficult Belichick-crafted defenses are to prepare for. Jets tight end Tyler Kroft said the team must be ready to face a mixed bag of coverages throughout the game.

“We know New England will be going to come with its bag of tricks,” Kroft told the team’s Inside The Jets Radio Show. “They’ll give us the whole Rolodex of coverages and fronts, and they’re going to put a lot on Zach’s plate. We have to be locked in and our communication will have to be on point.”

Jets linebacker Jamien Sherwood (ankle) did not practice Wednesday and wide receiver Keelan Cole (knee) was limited. Coach Robert Saleh said that Cole and fellow wideout Jamison Crowder (COVID-19 list) were expected to be available for the game.

Patriots left tackle Trent Brown (calf) and linebacker Kyle Van Noy (throat) did not participate at Wednesday’s practice. Meanwhile, tackle Yodny Cajuste (hamstring) and linebacker Ronnie Perkins (shoulder) were limited. Wideout Nelson Agholor (ankle) and defensive backs Kyle Dugger (wrist) and Jalen Mills (ankle) were listed as full participants.

New York dropped both games against New England a season ago and has lost 10 straight meetings over the last five seasons. The Jets’ last win against the Patriots was a 26-20 overtime victory on Dec. 27, 2015 at home.

It is the Jets’ first home game in front of fans since a Dec. 22, 2019 win over Pittsburgh.

To celebrate the return of Jets football to the New York Metropolitan area, the Empire State Building in New York City will be lit up in the Jets’ Gotham Green on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Aug 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) celebrates with offensive tackle Korey Cunningham (74)  after scoring a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots’ offense cruises in blowout win over Eagles

The New England Patriots gained 486 yards while holding the host Philadelphia Eagles to only 163 total yards in a 35-0 blowout in preseason play Thursday.

Cam Newton was 8-for-9 for 103 yards and a touchdown while rookie Mac Jones was 13 of 19 for 146 yards. Newton played the first three drives, leading the Patriots to two scores and a missed field goal attempt.

Rhamondre Stevenson had two rushing touchdowns and J.J. Taylor and Damien Harris each scored one for New England, which had 32 first downs compare to Philadelphia’s 14. The Patriots ended the game with 279 passing yards and 207 rushing yards.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts did not play in the game due to a non-COVID illness. Joe Flacco had 83 passing yards and one interception.

–Field Level Media

Jun 15, 2021; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham (4) participates in a drill during the New England Patriots mini camp at the New England Patriots practice complex. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Patriots QB Jarrett Stidham has successful back surgery

New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham had successful back surgery earlier this week, according to a report from NFL Network. The veteran is expected to be out of commission for approximately 12 weeks.

The nature or severity of the back injury has yet to be reported or disclosed by the team. At the start of camp, he was placed on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list for “pain in his right shoulder and back while throwing the football,” per an earlier report from The Athletic.

If his recovery proceeds as scheduled, he should be available to return to provide quarterback depth in mid to late October.

Stidham, 24, was expected to be the No. 3 quarterback behind Cam Newton and rookie Mac Jones this season.

He has appeared in eight games in his career for the Patriots after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns with four interceptions.

On Wednesday, the Patriots claimed Jake Dolegala off waivers from Green Bay. Dolegala should compete with veteran Brian Hoyer for a roster spot this preseason.

–Field Level Media

They’re Off: Rhode Island Becomes First New England State to Take Legal Sports Bets

Five months after legalizing sports betting and nearly 60 days after the projected opening date, a group of lawmakers and a corporate executive placed the ceremonial first sports bet at Rhode Island’s Twin River Sportsbook on Monday. In so doing, Rhode Island became the sixth non-Nevada state post-PASPA to open up for legal sports betting, and the first in New England.

Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, House Speaker Nicholas Matiello and Twin River Worldwide Holdings Chairman John Taylor Jr. placed the first bets after making remarks.

The sportsbook officially opened at 3 p.m. local time with an opening ceremony — in time for Monday Night Football. Rhode Island has only two casinos, Twin River and Tiverton, both owned by the same company. The Tiverton sportsbook is scheduled to open in December.

Rhode Island Becomes First in New England to Offer Sports Betting as Twin River Casino Hotel Opens Sportsbook

Read more They’re Off: Rhode Island Becomes First New England State to Take Legal Sports Bets on SportsHandle.

Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 11

Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 11

Key takeaways from week 10:

  • Rams Saints and Chiefs are favorites to win Super Bowl 53
  • Patriots fall from the top 3
  • Raiders have the lowest odds at 2500/1
  • Biggest jump: Cleveland Browns (+50%)
  • Biggest drop: Arizona Cardinals (-150%)
  • No change: Broncos, Bills, 49ers (0%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds

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Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 9

Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 9

Key takeaways from week 8:

  • Rams, Patriots, and Chiefs remain in top three spots
  • 49ers have the lowest odds at 2500/1
  • Biggest jump: Seattle Seahawks (+34%)
  • Biggest drop: San Francisco 49ers (-400%)
  • No change: Patriots, Chargers, Eagles, Cowboys, Titans (0%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds

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