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It’s safe to say that the second quarter of the Patriots season was a heck of a lot better than the first quarter. After a rough start to the season, New England has cruised to victory in each of the last four games.

They haven’t all been easy. And a couple of them have been quite a bit closer than fans might like. There has been an uncomfortable amount of doing just enough to win – one-score victories over the Chiefs and the Bears left us sweating it out until the end.

But in the end, a win is a win. And four wins is four wins.

The offense definitely picked up steam and the defense held up its end of the bargain (albeit just barely at times). It’s the sort of strong stretch of play against some good teams that instills confidence in the team’s viability going forward.

The .500 team from the first quarter is gone. This is the New England Patriots squad we expected to see – one that appears poised to march to yet another AFC East title and a deep postseason run.

On to the Progress Report.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 03 October 2018 12:26

Patriots Progress Report 2018 – First Quarter

It seems like just yesterday that the Patriots were utterly failing to stop the Philadelphia Eagles offense in the Super Bowl. And yet here we are, already a quarter of the way through the new season.

It has been a rocky road for the Pats thus far – and that’s putting it in far gentler terms than some of the team’s more hardcore supporters might. It hasn’t been an outright dreadful start, but considering the expectations, 2-2 isn’t exactly great.

New England has only looked really good once so far, and that was against a suspect Miami team. They were OK at best against the Texans and worse than that against the Jags. And of course, they were awful against the Lions.

Add it all up and it starts to look like maybe this season won’t be the cakewalk to the playoffs that many of us anticipated. Still, what’s done is done – let’s look back at how we got here.

And now, ladies and gentlemen - the Progress Report.

Published in Sports

The 2018 National Football League season is upon us. We’re just days away from kickoff for the first game of the season – this year’s first matchup sees the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles hosting the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 6.

As always, there's plenty to anticipate. Lots that we know, lots that we don't know - and a whole lot that we think we might know but don't actually really know. Anybody who has read one of these previews in the past know that I live my life in that last category.

And so once again, I will be attempting to anticipate how the season will play out. Once again, I will do my best impression of a monkey with a dartboard in an effort to make some sort of sense out of the whole mess. I’m even going to try to predict the 2018 regular season records of each team – a fool’s errand inside a fool’s errand.

(For those interested, I will also be continuing our popular “Kibbles and Picks” online-only feature, wherein I attempt to pick the winners in each week's schedule of NFL games and try to achieve a greater rate of success than that reached by my dog Stella (who has defeated me handily the last three years in a row and in four of five seasons overall, by the way). Check our website at www.themaineedge.com every Thursday or find Kibbles and Picks on Facebook to see if man can even the score against beast; it's possible, but I wouldn't count on it. She’s far better at this than I am.)

And so here it is - your almost-certain-to-be-way-off 2018 Maine Edge NFL Preview.

(y = division winner; x = wild card)

Published in Cover Story
Tuesday, 01 May 2018 16:35

Your newest New England Patriots

This past weekend, the future of the NFL was unfolding in Dallas.

The NFL Draft took place over the course of three days as representatives from all 32 teams selected players from among the cream of the collegiate crop in an effort to separate the wheat from the chaff and hopefully land the next NFL superstars.

The Patriots haven’t been major players early in the draft for some time, but this year saw New England pick in the first round for the first time since 2015 – and they did it TWICE.

Don’t worry: Bill Belichick and company did plenty of wheeling and dealing in the middle rounds, moving up and down, stockpiling future picks (and landing offensive lineman Trent Brown) along the way.

Still, there’s something exciting about New England actually adding first-rounders to a team that made it to the Super Bowl last season. And they actually used more draft picks than usual; their haul of nine picks more than doubles the total of four they selected in 2017. New doesn’t always equal better, but it’ll be exciting to see how this all plays out.

Let’s meet the new guys.

(Obligatory annual caveat: This is not an effort to grade the Patriots draft class. Literally nothing has changed about any of these players except that they have been given an opportunity to potentially make an NFL roster. As to whether any or all of them cash in on that opportunity, well … I can’t say. And neither can anyone else, no matter how authoritative the sound on TV or on the internet. Grading a draft that just happened is nonsense; a worthless exercise. This is just an introduction.)

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 20 March 2018 16:44

An exodus from New England

Patriots say so long to some free agent talents

Published in Sports

There’s no question that the New England Patriots finished out the 2017 regular season strong.

The final four weeks saw the Pats put up a 3-1 record – including winning their final three in a row. It was more than enough to put them at the top of their division. Not only did they win the East, but they’re the top seed in the AFC, currently looking forward to a first-round playoff bye.

In the season’s final four games, New England found their way to victory even when certain parts of the team weren’t necessarily performing at an optimal level. This is a squad that never really put it all together in the final month, yet here they are, a championship favorite.

Even with an uneven performance in recent weeks, the Patriots still look poised to make some noise. Let’s look back at how they got here. After all, this feature is about what has been, not what is yet to come.

On to the Progress Report.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 11:49

Patriots Progress Report 2017 - Third Quarter

It seems safe to say that the New England Patriots are currently firing on all cylinders.

The Pats have looked dominant in winning their last four games – a stretch that runs their overall streak to eight straight. Sure, their opponents haven’t been great teams, but wins are wins.

It looks as though New England has things figured out on both sides of the ball. The struggles of the season’s first month are little more than a fading memory at this point – this team looks very much like the squad that had pundits drooling in the preseason.

Will they be able to keep it up against a higher echelon of competition? That remains to be seen. But right now, we’re talking about what has been, rather than what will be.

And what has been is four wins. Another great month.

On to the Progress Report.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 12:04

Patriots Progress Report 2017 – Second Quarter

The second month of the NFL season has been awfully kind to the New England Patriots.

The Pats had some struggles in the first few games of the season, managing just a 2-2 record to go with an inconsistent offense and a defense that bordered on the abysmal. These last four games, however, have been a success – particularly when it comes to that most important statistic: wins.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 04 October 2017 10:58

Patriots Progress Report – First Quarter

If this first quarter of the season is any indication, 2017 is going to be one hell of an up-and-down roller coaster ride for fans of the New England Patriots.

Considering that there were serious conversations about New England’s chances of running the table before the season started, it’s tough not be disappointed with a 2-2 start. Yes, there have been a number of injury issues that have contributed to these early struggles, but still – sitting at .500 after four games is not where anyone expected this team to be.

That’s not to say that the season’s first month has been all bad. There have been plenty of things to be excited about. And hey – up and down, round and round, it’s still the Patriots.

And now, the Progress Report.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 10:24

The newest New England Patriots

Looking at New England’s 2017 NFL Draft

Published in Sports
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