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Patriots News 11-8 and Notes Around the AFC East

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
November 8, 2015 at 5:00 am ET

Patriots News 11-8 and Notes Around the AFC East(PHOTO: Greg M. Cooper - USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 5 minutes

Good morning and here are some of the top Patriots’ news items for this week.

Fire Still Burning Bright for Brady: There was a great piece published this week in the Washington Post by Sally Jenkins that is definitely worth the time to check out if you haven’t already. Brady has responded to the Deflatege fiasco as a personal challenge as Jenkins puts out:

This is the real outcome of DeflateGate: A guy who had nothing left to gain now has everything to prove. “They did us a favor,” says New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Quotes from family and friends point to a very motivated and focused Brady this season. Not that he isn’t every season, but he seem to have an added chip on his shoulder this fall with his entire legacy in question. And he’s responded.

His numbers for 2015 even for Brady are in pretty rarified air, 20 touchdowns and only one interception and that was on a bounced pass off of Edelman’s hands. Brady has come to terms with the negativity and those surrounding questions of his accomplishments, telling his father, “You have to understand that this is not about me. It’s all about other people’s agendas.”

To read all of Jenkins article click here:

Stork Activated, Wendell to IR: The Patriots received a boost for the offensive line on Saturday when it was announced that C Bryan Stork was activated for this week’s game against Washington. Stork has been on IR-designation to return since suffering a concussion during preseason.

With injuries to LT Marcus Cannon and G Tre’ Jackson which will keep them out of action on Sunday, that news is welcome. G Shaq Mason is questionable with an injury so Stork will give the team just five healthy offensive linemen. TE Michael Williams would be the emergency tackle for the Redskins game. He played tackle for the Lions prior to being traded to New England.

Stork has been only a center with New England but he played both guard and center in college and practiced at both this week.

In a corresponding move, G Ryan Wendell was placed on IR. The veteran appeared in just two games this year after missing a large chunk of the early season with an illness. He was inactive last week with a knee injury.

As LaFell Rounds Back Into Shape, His Production Should too:  Wide receiver Brandon LaFell has only played in the past two games after missing all of the spring and summer dealing with an injury.

He definitely looked rusty against the Jets but was looking a bit more like his normal self against the Dolphins.

Once he gets his timing and rhythm with Tom Brady back, he should see a definite uptick in passes going his way. LaFell brings the element of size and physicality that the other wide receivers don’t possess.

This week against the Redskins may be a prime opportunity to get not only some more passes from Brady but perhaps try some deep passes against a Washington secondary that may be missing quite a few of their starters.

As if the Patriots offense needs a boost averaging more than 35 points per game; LaFell is bringing his skills to bear again and last season had more than 1000 yards receiving between the regular season and playoffs.

Brady, Edelman channel their Inner Bond: With the release of the newest James Bond flick “Spectre” this weekend in theatres, Julian Edelman and Tom Brady both had their likenesses superimposed to be a possible Bond replacement when the current Bond, Daniel Craig hangs it up after this latest film.

Edelman posted a picture on Twitter dressed in a snazzy suit that is a faux Bond film poster with himself as Agent 0011. However, Edelman should know that 007 sports an Omega watch, but he does get high points for his fashion sense.

While on the website, the team put in their own version of a “Spectre” movie poster with Brady reprising the Craig role, complete with the white tuxedo. The storyline on Brady’s candidacy comes complete with 007 reasons why Brady would make the next great Bond.

Eastbound and Down, Divisional Notes:

Jets unveil hideous uniforms for showdown with Buffalo: The Jets play a big game again Jacksonville on Sunday but have unveiled a new uniform look for the Thursday Night Football against Buffalo and they are just awful.

The Jets are going with a total green look that is just devoid of any style and simply are just plain ugly. The Bills in comparison are going to an equally god-awful red uniform. With the red and green uniforms on television, perhaps this game should have been played around Christmas time.

Hopefully the Jets will only wear these unis the one time against Buffalo but they’d still have a long way to go to beat those terrible bumble-bee looking uniforms of the Steelers.

Bills Put Harvin on IR, Activate McKelvin: Mark this one down as a not-so-surprising move; the Bill placed wide receiver Percy Harvin on IR Saturday. Harvin has been injured for much of 2015 and his knee injury flared up again according to reports.

Harvin had just 19 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown in 2015 and his time in Buffalo will probably come to an end as he’s an UFA next season. Good news for the Bills is the return of CB Leodis McKelvin of the NFI (ankle), and he should be ready to go on Sunday.

With the emergence of rookie Ronald Darby at corner, rumors are that the Bills may opt to move McKelvin to safety for the remainder of this season.

Dolphins – Bills Game Huge for Both teams: Sunday’s rematch of an early season blowout is a big test for both teams sorely in need of a win. Miami was embarrassed  by the Bills, which led to the firing of head coach Joe Philbin. They turned things around with two impressive wins before being blown out by the Patriots a week ago.

With both teams sitting at 3-4, they’re both still very much alive in the race for a playoff spot in the topsy-turvy AFC.

While a loss for either team won’t mean the end of any playoff hopes given the dearth of winning records this season, it will make it much more difficult to find their way to the postseason. It is even more imperative for Miami who is 0-3 in the division.

Coach Dan Campbell is optimistic that the team can find a way to win in Buffalo which is a tough place to play, “Hey, you don’t lose hope,” Campbell said. “Just stay the course and we can get back to what we were doing two weeks ago, and then let the chips fall where they will.” 

Each team has disappointed thus far in 2015, as they were supposed to make big improvements thru their defenses and challenge not only for a playoff spot but to push New England for divisional supremacy. Which is why today’s game is all-important. Our call? Take Buffalo at home.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

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NFL Week 10 Advanced Lines: Patriots open as 6.5 point favorites at Giants

About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at, as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Tags: 2015 NFL Season Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Chandler Jones Danny Amendola Jabaal Sheard Julian Edelman Malcolm Butler Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets Patriots Patriots Training Camp Photos picks predictions Rex Ryan Rob Gronkowski Rob Ninkovich Tom Brady Tre' Jackson

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