The Patriots didn’t play well Monday night. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were visibly unhappy with what happened in Miami. But that only means they’ll go “on to Pittsburgh” with a clear focus. Nothing related to the Patriots’ bigger goal was lost against the Dolphins. Rob Gronkowski is back to wreak havoc on the Steelers like he always does. The Patriots will have their hands full with Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, but their depth, versatility and diversity will allow them to win an expected shootout, as Brady and Belichick will continue to have Mike Tomlin’s number.
The Patriots and Bills get their two meetings in a span of four weeks, unfortunate for a Buffalo team that will need help down the stretch to make the playoffs. The Bills have managed to beat the Patriots twice in the last four seasons and five meetings … and have lost their coach at the end of the season each time (Doug Marrone, Rex Ryan). Last year’s win, of course, was during Tom Brady’s suspension. That suspension is over.
Yet in some ways, Garoppolo wasn’t much better off than Trubisky upon joining the 49ers at midseason despite having three and a half years of NFL experience as a backup in New England.
Garoppolo might not even be starting today barring a leg injury suffered in Week 12 by rookie C.J. Beathard, who drew praise from Lynch for his efforts this season under trying circumstances on a rebuilding team.
A good (and rare) Thanksgiving rematch, with the Lions having won last year on a last-second field goal. The Lions have won four straight on their traditional Thanksgiving date, a little treat for those who are perpetually looking for a reason to fire Jim Caldwell. It’s a tall order to pull off this year with the way the Vikings are playing right now on both sides of the ball. Matthew Stafford’s Lions still have a habit of putting themselves in position to have to come back late; they can’t get away with that against this team.