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If I give up halfway through the newsletter today, it's because I'm taking a cue from what the Patriots did last night against the Bills. I think the entire team forgot about Bill Belichick's favorite motto, "No days off," because it looked like they decided to take most of the game off during their 38-9 loss to Buffalo. 

Usually, watching a blowout can get boring, but I have to say, based on the reaction from Twitter, I think everyone actually enjoyed watching the Patriots get blown out on national television. If you didn't watch the game, I'll be covering it in-depth here, so don't worry. All you need to know is that the Patriots were historically bad and that the Bills were historically good. 

Alright, let's get to the rundown. As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link. What better way to tell your friends you care about them going into the new year than to sign them up for this newsletter. Guys, nothing says love like a subscription to a free newsletter.  

1. Today's Show: Bills manhandle Patriots


In our final Monday recap podcast of the year, Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and I shed some tears together and poured one out for "Monday Night Football," which won't be returning until 2021. Actually, let's not kid ourselves, there's a 50% chance there will be some sort of COVID situation during the playoffs that forces the NFL to play a Monday playoff game. 

Anyway, here are three quick highlights from Buffalo's 38-9 win over New England: 

  • Josh Allen torched the Patriots. After only throwing for 154 yards in his first meeting with New England, Allen more than doubled that number with 320 yards and four touchdowns this time around. The Bills quarterback could have put up even bigger numbers, but Sean McDermott decided to bench him in the fourth quarter. The Patriots didn't have Stephon Gilmore in this game and Allen definitely took advantage of that by going to Stefon Diggs early and often.    
  • Bills burn Patriots on fake punt. It's hard to call anything a turning point in a 38-9 blowout, but if there was one in this game, it was a fake punt the Bills ran in the first quarter. With the score tied at three and the Bills facing a fourth-and-5 from their own 35, they lined up in punt formation and likely WOULD HAVE punted the ball, but the Patriots didn't cover Buffalo's gunners on the outside. The Bills saw this and immediately took advantage of it by having their upback throw a pass that would go for 13 yards. If you want to see how wide open the Bills gunner was, just click here
  • Cam Newton gets benched. Just when you thought Cam Newton's season couldn't get any worse, it got worse. Although he led the Patriots to nine quick points on Monday, he completely fell apart after that. He also seems to have lost all ability to throw the ball, which is probably one reason why Bill Belichick decided to bench him in favor of Jarrett Stidham in the second half. Newton finished 5 of 10 for just 34 yards.      

As for the podcast, we spent most of the time trying to figure out where the Bills rank in the AFC and I think we decided that they're the only team that has a chance to beat the Chiefs. We also spent an inordinate amount of time talking about Cam Newton's morning habits, which apparently involve him waking up at 4:20 a.m. every day and then not drinking coffee until 8 a.m. It makes no sense.  

To listen to today's episode -- and subscribe to the podcast -- be sure to click here.   

2. Five notable stats from Buffalo's big win

If you're a fan of the Patriots, you're probably going to want to skip this section. However, I've noticed that a lot of people are not fans of the Patriots and if you fall in that category, then you'll probably love all of these amazing stats from Buffalo's big win. 

With that in mind, let's take one last look at Bills' win by going over five stats from Monday:

1. Patriots worst home loss under Bill Belichick. Belichick has been in New England for 20 years and this was the worst home loss he's ever been dealt. Before this week, the worst home loss actually came back in Week 7 when the 49ers routed the Patriots 33-6. The fact that Jimmy Garoppolo held the record for handing Belichick his biggest home loss probably didn't sit well with the Patriots coach, so I'm guessing he's secretly happy that the Bills took the record with their 29-point win. This loss was also the second biggest loss in any game during Belichick's time in New England. Belichick's worst loss ever with the Patriots came back in 2003 against... drum roll please ... THE BUFFALO BILLS, who beat New England 31-0.  

2. Patriots lowest passing total since 1992. If you bet the over on the Patriots' passing total, I'd like to send you my condolences, because not only did they go way under, but they had their worst passing performance in nearly 30 years. The Patriots were only able to muster 56 passing yards on Monday, which was their lowest total since 1992 when Hugh Millen and Scott Zolak combined for 23 passing yards in a 6-0 loss to the Colts. You never want to be on a list with Hugh Millen and Scott Zolak.

3. Bills sweep Patriots for first time since 1999. It took 21 years, but if finally happened: The Bills swept the Patriots. Not only did the Bills win mark their first season sweep since 1999, but it also ended a crazy streak for New England. Before Monday, the Patriots hadn't been swept by a divisional rival since 2000, so the Bills win ended an NFL record-setting streak that lasted for 20 years.  

4. Josh Allen sets Bills touchdown record. With four touchdown passes against the Patriots, Josh Allen now has 34 on the season, which is a new franchise record for the Bills. Allen broke the previous record of 33, which was set by Jim Kelly in 1991. That 1991 Bills team actually made it all the way to the Super Bowl and I'm guessing everyone in Buffalo is probably hoping this year's team does the same.  

5. Stefon Diggs sets Bills receiving record. Josh Allen wasn't the only one setting franchise records on Monday night because Diggs also set one. Going into the game Diggs needed 54 yards to break the single-season franchise record for most receiving yards and not only did he get the record, but he smashed it with a 145-yard performance. Diggs now has 1,459 yards on the season, which puts him way ahead of the old record of 1,368, which was set by Eric Moulds in 1998. 

If you want a recap of the game from our guy who was on the scene at Gillette Stadium, be sure to click here

3. Pete Prisco unveils his Week 17 power rankings 


Prisco generally goes to bed at 8:30 p.m. on week nights and I'm assuming that's what happened last night because the Patriots didn't fall a single spot in his Power Rankings despite losing by 29 points The good news for us is that Prisco did turn in his Power Rankings before he went to bed so that I could share them with you.    

For the second straight week, Prisco's top five is the exact same. 

  1. Chiefs (Same as last week)
  2. Packers  (Same as last week)
  3. Bills  (Same as last week)
  4. Seahawks (Same as last week)
  5. Saints  (Same as last week)

I'm not going to spoil the rest of the power rankings here, but I am going to give you a few nuggets: 

  • The Patriots were ranked 18th last week and after losing 38-9 to the Bills on Monday, you'd think they might have dropped, but nope, they didn't. Personally, I would have dropped them to dead last, but that's just me. Also, that's probably one of the many reasons why they don't let me do the Power Rankings here.   
  • The biggest tumble of the week went to the Houston Texans, who fell six spots from 21st to 27th for losing to the Bengals. Let me just say that Pete definitely got this one right. If you give up 37 points to the Bengals, you should fall a minimum of six spots. J.J. Watt was so embarrassed by the loss that he called out nearly everyone on this team after the game. I think Watt would have ranked the Texans last if he was in charge of the rankings. 
  • The biggest jump this week went to Carolina, who moved up from 28th to 23rd. The Panthers absolutely manhandled the Washington Football Team. Sure, the Panthers benefitted from the fact that Dwayne Haskins seemed to be more interested going to strip clubs than preparing for his Week 16 game against Carolina, but this is the NFL, you have to take any advantage where you can get it. The biggest jump in the AFC went to the Dolphins, who are now in the top 10 after moving up from 12th to ninth. 
  • For the second straight week, the Jaguars are ranked dead last. Not only have they clinched the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, but I'm pretty sure they've also clinched the title of worst team in Prisco's Power Rankings for 2020.   

If you want to know where your favorite team ended up in Prisco's Week 17 Power Rankings, be sure to click here. If you want to argue with Prisco over his rankings, you can do that on Twitter by clicking here. I argue with him all the time about everything. 

4. Breech's Week 17 NFL picks 

If it's Tuesday, that means it's time for my weekly picks. I'll be honest, I hate making Week 17 picks and that's because trying to figure out who's going to win some of these games is a drunken crap shoot. For instance, the Bills might rest their starters against the Dolphins, but they might not. I HAVE NO IDEA. The Steelers might rest their starters, but even if they do, the Browns could still lose because they always lose important games. 

With that in mind, here are two of my main picks for the week. 

  • Steelers (+7) at Browns: As someone who was raised in Ohio, I know that if there's one team that almost never wins a game when they absolutely need it the most, it's the Browns and the most Browns thing ever would be to close the season needing just one win to make the playoffs, but then not making it because you lost to the Jets in Week 16 and then the Steelers backups in Week 17. I hate picking the Browns to win in any pressure situation, but I'm going to do it here. PICK: Browns 23-20 over Steelers. 
  • Cowboys (-2.5): As the president of the Andy Dalton fan club, I am morally obligated to pick the Cowboys here. However, if we take my morals out of the equation, I'm still picking the Cowboys and that's mainly because there's no way I can back a Giants team that has lost three straight games while averaging just 8.7 point per game in those three losses. PICK: Cowboys 20-17 over Giants. 

To check out the rest of my picks for Week 17, be sure to click here

5. Kyler Murray could miss Cardinals-Rams showdown

I don't usually hand out homework assignments here at the newsletter, but I might have to make an exception this week. Your assignment for tonight is to Google John Wolford and Chris Streveler because there's a good chance those are going to be the starting quarterbacks in the Cardinals-Rams game on Sunday.

We already know that Jared Goff (thumb) won't be playing, and now, it seems there's also a chance that Kyler Murray won't be on the field either. Apparently, Murray injured his leg on Sunday and because of that injury, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury isn't fully convinced his quarterback will be able to play.  

"We'll see how he feels," Kingsbury said. "We're not going to put him out there if he can't play at a high level and doesn't feel safe to play, but we'll just have to see how he progresses."

If Murray is out, that means the game will feature two quarterbacks who have never thrown an NFL pass duking it out for a playoff berth in one of the biggest games of Week 17. The last time we saw L.A.'s Wolford throw a pass on a football field came earlier this year when he was playing for the Arizona Hotshots of the AAF. The last time we saw Streveler throw a pass came in November 2019 when he led the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a Grey Cup win. Fourteen months later, he might be starting for the Cardinals. I didn't think 2020 would be throwing anymore curveballs at us, but I definitely underestimated it. Instead of Goff vs. Murray, we're about to get an old-fashioned CFL vs. AAF showdown with a spot in the NFL playoffs on the line. What a perfect way to end a perfectly crazy season. 

6. Playoff clinching scenarios


There are a lot of playoff clinching scenarios and if you need a cheat sheet, I've got it for you right here. Since ties make things complicated, I'm not going to cover those, but you can see what every team needs to get in below: 

Ravens: Ravens win OR Browns loss OR Colts loss.
Browns: Browns win OR Colts loss OR Titans loss plus Dolphins win plus Ravens win
Dolphins: Dolphins win OR Ravens loss OR Browns loss OR Colts loss
Colts: Colts win plus Ravens loss OR Colts win plus Browns loss OR Colts win plus Dolphins loss
Note: Colts could also win the AFC South with a win and a Titans loss
Titans: Titans win OR Ravens loss OR Dolphins loss
Note: Titans will win the AFC South with a Titans win OR Colts loss

The Bills will get the two-seed in the AFC unless they lose AND the Steelers win. 

In the NFC, Washington will clinch the NFC East title with a win over Philadelphia. If Washington loses, then the winner of the Giants-Cowboys game will take home the division crown. As for the remaining wild-card spots, here's what those look like: 

Cardinals: Cardinals win
Rams: Rams win OR Bears loss
Bears: Bears win OR Cardinals loss

As for the top seed in the NFC, that's still up for grabs with the Seahawks, Packers and Saints all still in the running to take it. If the Packers win on Sunday, the top seed will go to them. Here's how the other two teams can clinch it: 

Saints: Saints win plus Seahawks win plus Packers loss
Seahawks: Seahawks win plus Packers loss plus Saints loss

Since no one could possibly memorize all of this, I think your best bet is to print out this information and tape it to your television. 

7. The Kicker!

After watching Buffalo destroy New England on Monday night, I have come to the conclusion that the best job that anyone could have had in 2020 was to be the Bills punter. Through 15 games, the Bills have punted a league-low 37 times, which means Corey Bojorquez is basically being paid $20,000 per punt. I can think of a lot of things I would do for $20,000 and a punt a football is definitely one of them. 

There have been three games this season where Bojorquez only punted once and one game where he didn't punt at all. The most amazing part of all this might be the fact that Josh Allen has somehow produced more touchdowns this year (43) than the Bills have punts (37). I'm not in charge of coming up with the criteria for the MVP, but if I was, producing more touchdowns than your team has punts would be the sole criterium, so it's probably a good thing I'm not in charge. 

I also won't be in charge tomorrow and that's because it's Wednesday, which means Cody Benjamin will be taking over. Usually, this is where I would crack a joke about Cody, but I need his Eagles to win this week so ANDY DALTON gets in the playoffs and I don't need any bad karma messing that up.