Traci McCartney is a mother, grandmother, wife, full-time professional and a sports addict. She is a New Englander transplanted to the California desert, obsessed with the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.
Growing up, Traci’s father shared his love of sports with her, and through that they forged an unbreakable bond watching basketball, hockey, football and baseball on TV and in person. One of her favorite memories was one year when she went home to Connecticut for Christmas. She and her dad went out and bought a picture in picture TV so that they could watch more than one football game at a time. It drove her mother insane!!
They loved watching football together. She remembers loosing a lot when she was younger. ESPECIALLY losing Super Bowl XX to the Bears. Those were not good memories! But she is very thankful for all the good times now.
This is Traci’s second season covering the Patriots as an official fan reporter.
Sunday’s game was the highly anticipated rematch of Super Bowl LI’s Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots, to be held at Gillette Stadium.
Everyone has always assumed that the lighthouse and fog horn were just there for ambiance, but on Sunday night they might have actually proved helpful. The fog rolled into Foxborough and clouded visibility from the NBC cameras and coaches up in the booth as well as some fans, but it didn’t seem to bother the Patriots. They scored another win bringing their record to 5-2 and finally dominated their visiting opponent the way they’ve been expected to all season.
With a final score of 23-7, the Patriots sent the Falcons home without the win they had been vying for after losing the Super Bowl to New England in overtime last February.
The 2017 NFL season has been full of surprises. Teams that we all expected to be garbage have pulled off some astounding wins, while teams that we expected to roll over most of their opponents have faltered in losses to much weaker opponents. Pick’em pools have been torn to shreds, and some survivor leagues have already crowned their winner.
Each week, I’ll post my picks and my reasoning behind them, and on Tuesdays, I’ll do a quick rundown on where I went wrong, and what I got right. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my predictions, so feel free to drop a comment on the post, or @ me on Twitter.
The Patriots went into the Meadowlands Sunday with a record identical to their opponents’, something no one could have predicted at the start of the season. The media had been talking about an 0-16 season for the Jets, but coach Todd Bowles, quarterback Josh McCown and the rest of the team have proved the media wrong. Whoever came out on top in this game would lead the AFC East, but this didn’t look like 2 good teams fighting it out for the division.
Let’s get the bad out of the way first – the defense, especially in passing, looked awful. I would have never predicted that the Super Bowl Champions would return and deliver the 32nd ranked defense in the National Football League, but here we are. They have given up an average, an AVERAGE of 440 yards of offense per game. Most of that, of course, through the air.
Thursday Night Football has historically not provided us with entertaining games. Two teams, both usually on a short week, duke it out on the nationally televised stage. After a heartbreaking loss at home to the Carolina Panthers last week, mainly credited to the poor performance of the offensive line and communication issues on the defense, the New England Patriots headed to Tampa Bay to take on Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers.
The Patriots emerged the victors, and there were definitely some good elements to the game, but there is still a lot of work to do to make this team better. The Patriots, who are used to being at the top looking down in the AFC East division standings, are in a 3 way tie for first place with the Buffalo Bills, who have been playing good football, and the New York Jets. Some thoughts from the Patriots’ win over the Buccaneers:
There was a time when a victory at Gillette Stadium for quarterback Tom Brady was almost guaranteed. That time has passed. Brady’s record at home before this season for regular season games was 101-16. So far this season, the Patriots have played at home 3 times – and lost twice. They lost their second home game of the season to quarterback Cam Newton and his Carolina Panthers doing what Brady normally does: running out the clock and putting his time in a position to win the game in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
In a game where both the offense and defense seemed to struggle, the Patriots pulled out a win on yet another quarterback Tom Brady game winning, game ending drive (the 50th in his career). Brady connected on a 25 yd pass to speedster wide reciever Brandin Cooks, who made a spectacular catch to put the Patriots ahead 36-33 after the successful 2 point conversion attempt, leaving the Texans with 23 seconds left for Houston Texans’ rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson to make something happen. It wasn’t meant to be.
This wasn’t one of the Patriots’ best games, and as I mentioned last week, the Texans’ defense is tough – they’re big and they’re fast, and even with their starting secondary depleted, they managed to give Patriots receivers a difficult time. Thoughts on this game….
The Offensive Line needs to do a LOT better than they did this week. Brady was sacked 5 times in the game on Sunday for a loss of 41 yds, and honestly, every time Brady caught the snap, I was afraid for him. Tackle Nate Solder especially seemed unable to block the quick Texan defense. Not only was Brady sacked, but he was hit 8 times, including a hit taken when guard Joe Thuney was run over on the pass to Cooks for the touchdown.
Running game was virtually shut down by the Texans’ defense. Only 59 yds rushing and no rushing touchdowns. Offensive line play definitely contributed to the problem here.
“It’s happening again—another national game and another national embarrassment,” I thought as the New England Patriots marched down the field and easily scored the first touchdown of the game.
And then RB Kareem Hunt, very talked up in the Kansas City press, fumbled his first NFL carry–the epitome of a facepalm moment.I grimaced as the quarter continued and the Patriots seemed to be on offense again instantly, marching down the field for their second touchdown.When replay showed the catch wasn’t in control and the six points nullified, it gave me a little peace.
Then, the Kansas City Chiefs defense made a spectacular stop on a fourth-and-one play.“Well, at least the defense is looking respectful,” I admitted.Then the Chiefs went 90 yards and scored, tying the game, and holding the Patriots to a field goal on their next score but allowing another touchdown 15 minutes later.Right before the half, KC scored another touchdown.Now the butterflies in my stomach were going to town.
There are a few teams in the NFL that haven’t had it easy nor made it easy on themselves, never meeting their potential and not pulling through in the critical moments like key games and playoffs.The Chiefs are one of those teams.Having not won a Super Bowl in almost 50 years and very rarely making it through to the higher eschelons of the playoffs, they have deservedly earned the adjective “Chiefsiest”—as in last year’s Pittsburgh game was the Chiefsiest thing ever—developing and playing to your potential during the season and then putting on a disappointing performance when least affordable.
But, something happened at Foxborough.The Chiefs started believing in themselves, and kept themselves in the game.Keeping the score within a winning gap through the first half.And Hunt kept getting the ball and atoning; Alex Smith had something to prove, and boy did they both shine.Continue reading “Welcome to the 2017 NFL Season”→
In an expected move, WR Brandin Cooks traded to New England Patriots for its 32nd (first round) and 103rd (third round) draft picks. New Orleans Saints traded Cooks as well as their 118th (fourth round pick). Cooks’ value in the trade is the equivalent of a 30th overall pick.
These draft moves are expected to help the Saints build its defense through the draft. A trade for CB Malcolm Butler is not completely out of the picture.
Sterling Moore still remains a free agent.
The free agency moves made by the Saints and the additional, high draft selections could carve out a scenario whereby the Saints move up for a player they really like. The holes filled in free agency gives them freedom to reach for a player they covet.