Danny Amendola has made the most of his opportunities this season. (Mark J.</p>
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FOXBORO — The Patriots were never worried about how they would do without Tom Brady as their quarterback for the first four weeks.

That’s because players like Danny Amendola believe in the system and trust the coaching staff inside Gillette Stadium so thoroughly that no challenge is too big.

In three wins, the Patriots have come out and established their will and their game plan. Against Arizona, the Patriots jumped to leads of 10-0 and 17-7. Against the Dolphins, they were up 24-0 and against the Texans, the Patriots were never threatened and cruised to a 27-0 win.

“We don’t really worry about what people say outside the building,” Amendola said. “The coaches have been here for a long time. They have kind of a program instilled in this organization. The guys that come in believe in that and trust it. We truly take it week-to-week and day-to-day and this week is no different.”

Amendola has been one of the underrated stars early on, after not playing a single snap in the preseason and coming off the PUP the week before the season opener against the Cardinals.

Amendola has caught nine passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns in three games. He entered the season after a spring and summer of rehab from knee and ankle procedures. After three games in 11 days to start the season, Amendola and the rest of the team had some valuable resting time over the weekend.

“It was good. I got to watch some football, college and professional so it was a good weekend,” Amendola said Tuesday. “You have one [Thursday game] a year and it’s scheduled that way. You prepare for it all year. I find it a little weird that we get so much time, at least a day and a half, two days off to sit around the house and watch football. You feel like you’re missing something. It’s cool to get your legs back under you and mentally take a little break and then get back at it on Tuesday, which is normally our off day. It’ll be a little longer week this week and a lot of time for us to prepare and get ready.

“It’s like a little mini-bye week. You play early in the week and then you get a couple of days off to relax, get your legs back, get treatment, get rehab and get right.

“We have a lot of faith in our coaches and the system here. All the players are 100 percent bought into whatever they’re going to present to us each day to get us right, to get us ready to play on Sunday. It’s a big part of why we’ve won three games this year so far, because we have a lot of faith in what these coaches are going to do to get the guys in a position to be successful. We’re excited.”

If the Patriots are to improve to 4-0, they will have to beat a Bills team that came off the mat from a dismal 0-2 start and dominated the Cardinals, 33-18, last Sunday in Western New York. The Patriots swept the Bills last season, but were challenged in both games late into the fourth quarter.

“Yeah always a tough task. They play hard,” Amendola said. “They’re a division opponent. They’re always ready to play. Rex does a good job of getting those guys ready. So, it’s going to be a tough matchup.The Bills are coming off a Bills? “They played hard. They were playing at home. The Cardinals are a good football team. They played hard and there’s no question it’s going to be a tough game this weekend.

“They’re physical. They’re good up front. Kyle Williams plays hard and has a lot of experience in the NFL. The backers are good, they’re fast. They run around, fly around and make plays. On the back end, the DBs are fast, have a lot of experience back there, too, so it’s going to be a fun week of preparation and we’re all going to be ready for Sunday.”

In the Patriots’ 20-13 win on Monday night last season, Amendola caught nine passes on 12 targets for a season-high 117 yards.

With Tom Brady still suspended and Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett still nursing injuries, the question is who will be throwing the ball to Amendola on Sunday?

“I don’t know. Ask coach. That will be up to him,” Amendola said.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Last Thursday’s game against the Patriots might be the last time we see J.J. Watt this season.

The Texans defensive lineman reportedly suffered a back injury last Thursday against New England, an issue so severe that he could be lost for the rest of the year, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Last Thursday’s game against the Patriots might be the last time we see J.J. Watt this season.

The Texans defensive lineman reportedly suffered a back injury last Thursday against New England, an issue so severe that he could be lost for the rest of the year, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Watt, who underwent back surgery in the offseason, was held to just two tackles and no sacks in the 27-0 loss to the Patriots.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

With this being the last week of Tom Brady’s suspension, he will be free over the weekend to watch the Ryder Cup, which he may not have been able to do over the years because of football obligations.

The Patriots quarterback recorded a video promoting #Weare13 for the U.S. team as it takes on Europe this weekend at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota.

Brady has been on record saying golf is one of his few hobbies outside of football.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
We get deep in to some quarterback discussion with ESPN analyst/former NFL starter Trent Dilfer.

[0:00:00] ... Let's talk some NFL football right now. Our regular weekly Tuesday guest Trent Dilfer from ESPN. Are brought to buy draft kings use promo code WEEI hey Trent Dario. Our majority. I I was watching it ...
[0:00:49] ... And and you know using their third string quarterback shutting out the Houston Texans I ask this question of Heath Evans in yesterday I'll ask you today were you surprised at how easy it was for the past. I was so so spry ...
[0:06:05] ... gonna make the mistake that's gonna give. In a week or so Tom Brady the ball back in the world are hoping respect. We're talking to Trent Dilfer of ESPN and and you just brought up nicely the point I was just gonna to lead you to. If things go the way I expect in the way many expect you'll page Obi Jacoby percent last Thursday. I think you'll have Jimmy rappel next Sunday against buffalo and then you'll have Tom Brady a week from Sunday against Cleveland. How hard is it for an offense. To perform a peek function with three different quarterbacks ...
[0:08:08] ... other communicate the players are able to digest it go next. Thought Tom Brady turned 39 last month we saw win a Super Bowl a couple of years ago he's still playing at a very high ...

NFL: Houston Texans at New England Patriots

It’s not clear if Jacoby Brissett will be back under center for the Patriots on Sunday, but they keep finding a way to win. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Interceptions came in bunches and told the story of a lot of the Week 3 games. Leading the pick parade was Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick with six. Shortly before training camp Fitzpatrick signed a one-year, $12 million deal, which seems awfully high for his services. Arizona’s Carson Palmer is struggling to regain his 2015 form. He threw four INTs against a desperate Bills defense. Cam Newton threw three in the Panthers’ loss to the Vikings, but that was overshadowed by the eight sacks he took. Lastly, Blake Bortles added three more to his resume in a loss to Ravens. Bortles now has 41 career INTs to go with his 51 TDs. It’s time for Jacksonville to draft another quarterback.

Patriots fans won’t like seeing their team in the No. 2 spot after Thursday’s shutout of the Texans, but the uncertainty of Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett’s health is cause for concern. Coach Bill Belichick did a great job getting his team ready on a short week, but if both backups are dealing with injuries, and Rob Gronkowski is only being used a decoy, they’ll have to wait one more week to jump to the top of the pile. The Denver defense just keeps doing its thing. John Elway clearly made the right decision when he allowed Brock Osweiler to walk. The biggest surprise of the season is how well Carson Wentz and the Eagles are playing. I originally thought that Eli Manning and the Giants were the only contenders in the NFC East, but both the Eagles and the Cowboys have shown they can play with rookies under center.

The Ravens are a fraudulent 3-0 based on the teams they’ve played, but Joe Flacco has a championship pedigree and looked good on Sunday, completing 21 passes in a row at one point. The Ravens are on top of the AFC North, with the Bengals and Steelers at 2-1, which means this division, per usual, will come down to the wire.

1. (1 last week) Broncos (3-0) — Trevor Siemian continues to play better than Peyton Manning did last year, and Brock Osweiler this year. The losses of Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan haven’t slowed down the defense one bit. After a failed head coaching stint in Dallas, Wade Phillips realized that he’s better suited as a defensive coordinator. A dominant win on the road keeps the Broncos on top for another week.

2. (2) Patriots (3-0) — Bill Belichick rarely gets considered for the NFL Coach of the Year award because his teams are expected roll out of bed and go 12-4. Thursday night’s win should change that. Belichick had three days to prepare Jacoby Brissett, and the most exciting moment must have been when Belichick got to run the option in an NFL game.

3. (12) Eagles (3-0) — Doug Pederson and the Eagles front office are getting a lot of praise for nailing the decision to trade Sam Bradford and go with rookie Carson Wentz, who’s been simply amazing in his first three games. Wentz has yet to throw a pick in his first 102 passes. But the real shocker was holding the Steelers offense to just three points. Philly leads the league allowing only nine points per game. This team is recovering from the Chip Kelly era a lot faster than we all thought it would.

4. (11) Vikings (3-0) — The Sam Bradford trade isn’t looking so bad anymore. Even though his numbers aren’t great, neither were Teddy Bridgewater’s. The defense won’t be able to win the game for the Vikings every week. Bradford only passed for 171 yards, and the combo of Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata only rushed for 60 yards. That won’t do for long.

5. (3) Steelers (2-1) — Obviously the Steelers laid an egg on Sunday, and Todd Haley needs to throw out that offensive game plan, but this team is still the third best in the AFC. Antonio Brown caught 12 balls for 140 yards but just couldn’t find the end zone. Expect the Steelers to bounce back in a big way in Week 4 as they host the Chiefs on Sunday night, with RB Le’Veon Bell returning from suspension.

6. (7) Bengals (2-1) — For the first time in five years the Bengals are 1-2. I won’t kill them for only putting up 17 points against the best defense in the league. They still are good, and this loss could help them if they play Denver again in the playoffs. However, it likely now will be on the road.

7. (10) Packers (2-1) — After a rocky first couple of weeks, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers WRs finally looked like themselves. Rodgers threw four TDs, all in the first half, to throttle the Lions. I’m still a little hesitant to say the offensive woes are fixed. Let’s see them do this on the road.

8. (8) Ravens (3-0) — The Ravens are undefeated after three games vs. some of the weakest teams in the league. With wins over the Bills, Browns and Jags (all by six points or less) Baltimore is the worst of the unbeaten bunch. Steve Smith Sr. still is making big plays. He now has 132 straight games with a catch.

9. (15) Falcons (2-1) — For a guy with a defensive pedigree coming out of Seattle, Dan Quinn sure put together a good offensive unit. Atlanta is tops in the NFL with 448 yards per game. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are the best RB tandem in the league, and they shouldered the load on Monday night as Julio Jones was silenced as he battles a calf injury.

10. (16) Cowboys (2-1) — Just when Dallas fans thought the season would be over before it started, a pair of rookies have led the charge to open the season 2-1. Ezekiel Elliot carried the ball 30 times and broke the 100-yard mark (140, actually) for the first time in his young career and Dak Prescott has thrown the ball 99 times without an interception.

11. (13) Chiefs (2-1) — Let’s be honest, the Chiefs largely benefited from a disastrous day by the Jets offense. It’s not every week that a QB hands you six interceptions, but the win counts all the same and keeps Kansas City within a game of the AFC West-leading Broncos.

12. (5) Panthers (1-2) — After putting up 46 points against the 49ers, the Panthers turned right around and laid an egg against the Vikings. Cam Newton was sacked eight times and picked off three times. They’ll bounce back.

13. (4) Giants (2-1) — The G-Men took a big step back after two solid weeks to start the season. Odell Beckham Jr. was winning the battle on the field but is 0-1 vs kicking nets.

14. (9) Texans (2-1) — Bill O’Brien will never get another chance like that again. No one would have blinked if J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney had monster games and pressured a rookie quarterback into turning over the ball multiple times. Instead, O’Brien’s team wasn’t ready to play on a short week and was embarrassed on national television.

15. (18) Raiders (2-1) — At 2-1, the Raiders are playing exactly to expectations. Pundits and fans alike thought this team could contend for a playoff spot. Oakland’s schedule has been pretty easy so far, with wins over the Saints and Titans. The real test comes in the second half of the season with games against the Panthers, Chiefs and Broncos (twice).

16. (22) Rams (2-1) — Case Keenum threw for the Rams’ first touchdown of the season early in the game, but he then turned right around and threw a pick-six. The defense had been playing well over the first two weeks but had to make a big play late just to seal a win over the Bucs. In a year when young QBs have hit the ground running, Jared Goff remains on the bench.

17. (19) Seahawks (2-1) — Where the hell has this offense been? After back-to-back putrid performances in the first two weeks of the season, Seattle went OFF at home vs. the 49ers. However, Pete Carroll left his star QB in the game a little too long. Russell Wilson was tackled trying to escape the pocket and sprained his left MCL. Fortunately for Seattle, the defense is allowing only 12 points a game, and the only other supposed threat in the division, Arizona, looks lost.

18. (6) Cardinals (1-2) — The Cardinals were supposed to have one of the best offenses in the league, but they can’t seem to get started. They’ve yet to score in the first quarter of any of their games. Carson Palmer throwing four picks on Sunday doesn’t help.

19. (17) Chargers (1-2) — San Diego made mistakes all over the field on Sunday and had numerous chances to put the game away but couldn’t do it. Muffed punts and fumbles down the stretch pushed the Chargers to 1-2 in a division with three teams vying for playoff spots.

20. (16) Lions (1-2) — The secondary was gashed by the Packers early and often Sunday. Detroit’s offense isn’t good enough to make up for the 28 points per game that the defense is allowing. Every week Jim Caldwell is the coach of this team is a bad one.

21. (25) Bills (1-2) — A predictably good performance by a team with its coach on the hot seat. A Week 3 win over the Cards will keep the Pegulas at bay, but the Ryan brothers are on a collision course with a Week 10 firing.

22. (20) Buccaneers (1-2) — Any time your QB throws the ball 58 times, something is going wrong. It’s feast or famine with James Winston as he threw for four TDs in Week 1 and four INTs in Week 2. Last week he put up big numbers but costly turnovers led to points for LA.

23. (31) Redskins (1-2) — The second edition of Josh Norman vs. OBJ goes to Norman as the Redskins upset the Giants on the road. Kirk Cousins threw a pair of TDs and staved off a locker room that was ready to throw him out the door a week earlier.

24. (14) Jets (1-2) — Ryan Fitzpatrick had a laughable performance on Sunday, throwing six INTs, including four in the fourth quarter. A bigger problem going forward will be the rapid decline of Darrelle Revis and the albatross of a contract hanging around Woody Johnson’s neck.

25. (24) Colts (1-2) — T.Y. Hilton had been held scoreless for the first two games of the year but finally broke through with a 63-yard catch and run for a TD in the final minutes of Sunday’s win. Hilton amassed 174 yards receiving to help get the Colts their first win of the season. After watching the Texans get worked on Thursday night, the AFC South is seemingly wide open again.

26. (28) Dolphins (1-2) — Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins deserved to lose to the Browns on Sunday. Tannehill threw an egregious pick-six and then fumbled with 21 seconds left in the game. The fumble gift-wrapped the game for Cleveland, but a missed field goal bailed out Miami.

27. (23) 49ers (1-2) — Not that any of us thought Blaine Gabbert was about to embark on some sort of a career renaissance in San Francisco, but he struggled mightily on Sunday in a hostile environment. Chip Kelly’s offense was 0-for-10 on third down to start the game. It’s just about time for Colin Kaepernick.

28. (26) Titans (1-2) — Two more picks for Marcus Mariota and no TDs lead to another Titans loss. At the time of last year’s draft, Mariota and Jameis Winston seemingly were even on the draft boards, but it looks like the product of a Chip Kelly Oregon Ducks team won’t work in the NFL.

29. (29) Saints (0-3) — It appears that Rob Ryan was NOT the problem in New Orleans. What good is Drew Brees throwing for 354 yards per game if the defense is allowing 32 points per game? This is the fourth time Drew Brees and the Saints have started the season 0-3. But let’s go ahead and extend Sean Payton for another five years.

30. (30) Browns (0-3) — Terrelle Pryor is the best player on his team at two positions. If he could kick, the Browns would have won on Sunday. Kicker Cody Parkey missed three FG attempts, including a chance at the game-winner as time expired.

31. (27) Jaguars (0-3) — New week, same story with Blake Bortles. The guy LOVES to throw picks, and does it better than anyone in the league. Amazingly, the Ravens tried to give the game away, but Bortles took a sack with less than a minute to go (with no timeouts) and then forced a high throw for the game-sealing INT. He’s awful, and Gus Bradley will be fired before the season’s over.

32. (32) Bears (0-3) — No Jay Cutler, same results. With QB duties passed on to journeyman Brian Hoyer, the Bears fell to the Cowboys 24-3 at half and scored a pair of garbage-time TDs to make it seem close. John Fox has only been in Chicago for two years, but both times he’s started the season 0-3.

Blog Author: 
Paul Chartier

More optimism from the Patriots and their quarterback situation.

More optimism from the Patriots and their quarterback situation.

New England is “all but certain” to have Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett for this Sunday’s game against the Bills, and if “[one] or both” were not available for Sunday, it would be an “upset,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Schefter notes that the team did not have any quarterbacks in for workouts this week, as well as the fact that both Garoppolo and Brissett were on the practice field on Tuesday.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — It’s been three weeks of regular season games with the new kickoff rules where touchbacks go out to the 25-yard line, not the 20-yard line, and it’s apparent it’s changed the Patriots’ approach.