Thank goodness the AFC East sucks. The Patriots, as bland as they are playing, will win the division.

So why does watching the Patriots play feel like winning a dollar on a dollar scratch ticket? Simple: Because it is better than losing.

There is little excitement about the Patriots right now, after Sunday's 17-10 win over the Bills. Only a pompom-waving New England fan can look at this team and be optimistic about the playoffs.



STEVE DEOSSIE

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Randy Moss was a key part of the Patriots offense in Sunday's win over the Bills. (AP)Randy Moss didn’t want to leave any doubt.

The wide receiver didn’t take any questions in the wake of Sunday’s 17-10 win over the Bills in Buffalo. (Click here for the complete game recap.) Instead, he simply made a statement and left.



Admit it.

If I had told you an hour before kickoff that (a) Tom Brady would finish with 115 yards passing and a QB rating of 59.1, (b) the Bills would average 4.6 yards rushing and (c) Ryan Fitzpatrick would complete 68 percent of his passes, you would have called that guy who knows that other guy and maybe inquired about the possibility of a (fully legal, I’m sure) wager.



KIRK MINIHANE

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Tom Brady has offered unflagging support for embattled receiver Randy Moss. (AP)FOXBORO — How will Randy respond?

In the wake of Moss' worst statistical game in his two-plus years as a Patriot, it’s a question that was asked a half-million times this past week. The wide receiver left the world wondering where his head was at after not talking Wednesday or Thursday, leaving everyone to ponder what was going on with him.



FOXBORO — It’s a rare gift the Patriots don’t expect to get again.

In the season opener in September, Buffalo’s special teams unit committed a rare mistake that gave the Patriots an opportunity to sneak away with a come-from-behind win. Kick returner Leodis McKelvin fumbled away a late return, opening the door for a late New England touchdown and paving the way for a 25-24 Patriots win.



FOXBORO — Author Henry David Thoreau once implored his readers to, “Simplify, simplify.” Thoreau wasn’t much for football, but the New England native surely would have appreciated what the Patriots’ defense did against Carolina on Sunday.

According to many New England defenders, there were fewer intricacies in the defensive game plan for the Panthers. Instead, things were simplified. The move allowed the Patriots to cut down on the communication issues that had dogged them in the losses to Miami and New Orleans over the previous two games.



Despite their recent struggles, Tom Brady and the Patriots can't be discounted as a Super Bowl contender. (AP)Buck up, little camper. It’s not so bad.



KERRY BYRNE

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Randy Moss talks to Tom Brady, but he won't answer his critics in New England. (AP)Welcome back to the bag, and I hope everyone is having a happy and safe holiday season. This week, we’ve got lots of talk about a certain No. 81 and what happened to him on Sunday against the Panthers.



An average NFL quarterback could have won this game for the Carolina Panthers. The combination of New England's limited pass rush and a below-average secondary would have any offensive coordinator licking his chops. Fortunately for the Patriots, Matt Moore was throwing ducks all over the field. And the Panthers were undisciplined and incapable of capitalizing on numerous Patriots mistakes.

OFFENSE: C-



STEVE DEOSSIE

BIO | ARCHIVE


FOXBORO — A day after Carolina defensive back Chris Gamble accused Randy Moss of checking out during Sunday’s Patriots-Panthers game, Moss’ coach and teammates came to the defense of the wide receiver on Monday, with New England coach Bill Belichick accusing Carolina of sour grapes.

“My response would be that’s a lot of conversation coming from a team that just lost another game,” Belichick said of the Panthers, who suffered a 20-10 defeat to the Patriots.