Things couldn't have gone much better for the Patriots during the mid-year bye weekend.
While New England rested and recovered from the first half of the season, the Bills and Chiefs both lost.
That means the 6-2 Patriots head into the second of half schedule -- which kicks off with this week's Sunday night trip to Denver to take on the Broncos – alone in first place in the AFC East and tied with the Steelers for the best record in the conference.
Before moving on to the hopeful second half, the Boston Globe *offers up the good, the bad and the ugly from New England's first half of the 2017 season. Despite his impeccable reputation as a leader and a man, the *Globe says that Patriots Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater is indeed a trash talker. The Globe looks at Cassius Marsh adjusting to life as a Patriot and living on the east coast. The Globe has the fallout from the Jimmy Garoppolo trade in New England.
The Boston Herald hands out its awards for the first half of the Patriots season.
The Providence Journal has a Patriots midseason report card that has the team with plenty of room for improvement over the second half. The ProJo says that James White and Trey Flowers are ahead of the grading curve at this point in the year.
ESPNBoston.com reports that New England will stay in Colorado to practice between the upcoming games against the Broncos and Raiders (Mexico City), which offer the team a unique opportunity to come together on the road. ESPNBoston.com's must-read Sunday notes declare that the Patriots could have "decisively" gotten more for Garoppolo had they traded the backup QB last spring instead of waiting until last week's deadline deal. ESPNBoston.com writes that Malcolm Mitchell's health status remains a hot topic in New England. ESPNBoston.com looks at Joe Judge's journey to Patriots special teams coach.
WEEI.com has five Patriots-related thoughts from Week 9 NFL action. WEEI.com recaps Tom Brady's weekly chat with the radio station's morning show, including his limited thoughts on the relationship between his body coach/business partner, Alex Guererro, and Bill Belichick as well as his own relationship with the Patriots head coach. WEEI.com looks at Brady and his family spending time in the Bahamas during the bye week.
WEEI.com also passes along a report that before trading for Garoppolo, 49ers GM John Lynch actually asked Belichick if he would be willing to trade Brady.
NBC Sports Boston looks at how the Patriots got creative on the defensive front prior to the bye. NBC Sports Boston also hands out some midseason awards in New England.
Boston.com says the Patriots are the biggest favorite for a game in Denver in decades.
Metro.us writes that the Patriots "suck after the bye week" with a 4-3 post-bye mark dating back to 2010.
Belichick's longtime girlfriend, Linda Holliday, did a pretty wide-ranging interview with Boston.com.