The Patriots had the weekend off, taking a four-day break from work thanks to the bye week.
Now, Bill Belichick’s team returns to Gillette Stadium on Monday to begin preparations for this Sunday’s trip to New York to take on the Jets as well as for the final six-game stretch run of the regular season.
Sitting atop the AFC East with a 7-3 record, New England has positioned itself very much in the playoff picture and remains in the mix for high seeding in the conference.
As the Patriots prepare for the post-Thanksgiving schedule that’s such a premium in New England, much of the media is breaking down just where the defending AFC champs sit heading towards January.
The Boston Globe declares that the Patriots need a playoff bye now more than ever. The Globe also breaks down the AFC playoff picture and where the Patriots stand at this point. The Globe says it’s not time to panic for New England, just give them a second-half chance. The Globe also looks at James White's work this year, which has him on pace to set a new NFL record for receptions by a running back.
The Boston Herald offers up five guys who are primed to break out for the Patriots after the bye-week break. The Herald looks at the pride that Pro Bowl fullback James Develin takes in his role for the Patriots. The Herald’s Sunday notes write that New England needs Rob Gronkowski to look like Gronk again.
The Providence Journal wonders if this is the beginning of the end for the Patriots. The ProJo also declares that even after 10 games there plenty of questions about New England.
ESPNBoston.com writes about Rex Burkhead’s expected return from IR on Dec. 2 against the Vikings, noting that the running back’s role will likely include action on every third offensive series. ESPNBoston.com also has a bye-week feature about a number of Patriots players pursuing their MBAs.
ESPN reports that Gronkowski is expected to return to action this Sunday against the Jets.
WEEI.com has Tom Brady talking about the film study he did during his bye week. WEEI.com notes that the Patriots got some help in the standings on Sunday, but not as much as they could have thanks to a Steelers comeback. WEEI.com observes that there are plenty of reasons to feel good about the Patriots heading into the final six games.
NBC Sports Boston believes that Sony Michel and the ground game are the key to the Patriots offense for the rest of the season. NBC Sports Boston came up with a list of the things New England needed to work on during its week off. NBC Sports Boston has one ex-NFL player believing Drew Brees and not Tom Brady is the GOAT. NBC Sports Boston looks at the idea that the Packers could be eyeing Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as their next head coach if they move on from Mike McCarthy.
NFL.com paints the current playoff picture, with the Patriots sitting as the No. 3 seed and set to host the Ravens on Wild Card Weekend.
NESN.com looks at the Patriots post-bye depth chart and where a couple newly-available defensive backs fit in.
CBSBoston.com details a trend that’s unfolded this season, as bad things seem to happen to teams after they beat the Patriots.