A Thanksgiving Feast: Patriots Week 12 Recap

After everyone was settling down from a Thanksgiving feast, the New York Jets provided a nice comedic cap to the day as they were blown out by the Patriots, 49-19. New England now moves to 8-3 overall and has complete control in the AFC East, which they can clinch as soon as next Sunday.  While their shot at a bye was hurt with the Texans overtime win in Detroit earlier in the afternoon, the Pats look as good as they have on both sides of the ball all year, and that is what’s most important for the time being.

Brady in MVP Talks – Tom Brady put together another interception-free game, while throwing for 323 yards and 3 touchdowns, while adding a rushing touchdown for good measure. It’s safe to say that Brady’s performance so far this season has put him in the MVP talks with the likes of Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson, Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning. At the age of 35, many expected to see a slight drop-off in Brady’s game this year, but he only seems to get better with more experience in the league. The only part missing from the sure Hall of Famer’s game is his deep passing efficiency, as this aspect of his performance has seemed to fall of in the past few seasons. Yet, with the efficiency in which this offense is conducted, the deep passing game is not much of a necessity, especially with the impact the rushing game has brought to this top rated offense in the NFL. Brady for MVP, it could happen.

Turnover Battle Tested – The Patriots, yet again, won the turnover battle on Thursday night, proving their identity true as a turnover-forcing machine. While the Pats defense has been criticized for their mishaps in coverage and underperforming players, it has stitched together a couple impressive performances in a row for the first time all season. With four recovered fumbles and an interception on Thursday night, the Patriots continued to add to their best turnover differential in the NFL this season. There will always be something to nit-pick with this defense, but we must give credit where credit is due and acknowledge this team as one that makes up for their defensive deficiencies by making plays and forcing game-changing turnovers seemingly on a weekly basis.

Gronkowski Who? – The first week of life without Gronk went a lot better than anyone could have expected. The team was clicking at such a rapid rate in the second quarter that you almost didn’t even notice Gronkowski wasn’t on the field. Aaron Hernandez had a few catches in the game, but New England didn’t need much of an impact at the tight end position, as Brady spread the ball around very well to prove that the Patriots have too many options for opposing teams to prepare for. While New England would love to have their record setting tight end on the field, they should be able to adjust to life without Gronk for the foreseeable future, and this should make them even more dangerous once he returns later in the season.

Edelman Stays Hot – Julian Edelman had the best performance of his career against the Colts last week, and few would have expected any type of repeat efforts in the short week against the Jets. But Edelman delivered yet again, as the utility-specialty had a fumble returned for a touchdown and a 56-yard touchdown reception as well. In the past two weeks Edelman has simply seemed to be in the right place at the right time and he has been able to capitalize on every opportunity that has come his way. Coming off of getting ripped out by Tom Brady three weeks back against Buffalo, it is clear that Edelman knew he was on the hot seat. Since that point, Julian has responded to the pressure with flying colors and will look to stay in the rotation with similar performances as long as Bill Belichick continues to give him opportunities.

Patriots End Jets Season – Last night’s performance, or lack there of, essentially summed up the New York Jets season so far. Mark Sanchez running into his own blocker, causing a fumble that would be returned for a touchdown, is arguably one of the funniest plays in the history of professional sports. That play alone was a mini recap of how the Jets season has gone thus far. It’s been full of letdowns, controversy, and mind-boggling mistakes on the field, and this was all on display for the whole country to enjoy Thursday night. The beating the Patriots put on New York last night should make it clear that the Jets playoff hopes are out the window. The Jets now stand at 4-7, and although they have a favorable schedule from here on out, who would feel confident picking the Jets to end the year on a big winning streak? Rex Ryan tried to stay positive in his post-game interview by expressing his beliefs that his team could still make the playoffs, but these hopes left the building with the New England Patriots earlier Thursday night. In short, Tom Brady and the Patriots came, they conquered, and they left New York with the win and those phony turkey legs that NBC gave out to the MVPs of the game.

Top Note – The Patriots 35 points scored in the 2nd quarter tied the NFL record for points scored in a quarter, which was set by the Patriots in 2009 against the Tennessee Titans.

Up Next – The Pats head to Miami to take on the 4-6 Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium at 1:00 PM.

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