1. While the Patriots say they “ignore the noise,” it would be hard to escape the narrative this season when it comes to second-year running back Sony Michel. Michel has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry following a rookie season where he averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Sure, the offensive line isn’t what it was a year ago, but being a first-round pick more is expected. Speaking Friday, running backs coach Ivan Fears praised Michel for how he’s handled what could be labeled a frustrating season. “He doesn’t say it. He doesn’t show it. He doesn’t pout in the meetings or wonder what the hell is going on,” Fears said. “He is truly a class guy when it comes to how he deals with all the negative (stuff) he’s been hearing in the press. He’s really a class guy when it comes to dealing with that. I think everybody appreciates it. We all want him to do well. We really do. Hey, the game is what it is. Ride the high ways and got to ride the low ways. He’ll be alright. We just have to find a way to keep putting the W’s on the board.”
2. This has been a unique week for defensive end Deatrich Wise, as his brother Daniel is a rookie defensive lineman on the Cowboys practice squad. Although he admitted it would have been different if he was on the 53-man roster and traveling, it’s still allowed for some friendly back-and-forth between the brothers. “It’s pretty cool that our teams are playing against each other,” Wise said this week. “It would be cooler if he was traveling and playing. We knew this week was coming up. I told him, ‘You better watch out because I am coming for your boys.’” Daniel Wise was signed by the Cowboys as an undrafted rookie out of Kansas this spring.
3. There was a ton of smoke this week when it came to Antonio Brown and the Patriots following his social media apology to Robert Kraft on Tuesday. It was reported by multiple outlets Thursday night that the Patriots would not be re-signing him, but why did it take so long for that to occur? From this perspective, this signals some discussions were in fact had within the organization, but it came down to both the Kraft’s not being OK with the move and also potentially the NFL making it clear he would be placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List if signed.
4. The Patriots assistants were made available Friday afternoon, which included safeties coach Steve Belichick. He discussed how much more time he’s been able to spend with his dad ever since he joined the staff. “Growing up under a football coach, you don’t see your dad as much as you would like to,” Steve said. “So it was a total flip of the script. I went from not seeing him, seeing him once, twice a week to seeing him too many hours a day. So it took a little adjusting but I couldn’t be happier. We spend a ton of time together and it’s great to learn from somebody like that.” Steve’s younger brother and youngest of the Belichick children, Brian, is also on the staff.
5. Phillip Dorsett, who may miss this week against the Cowboys with a concussion, has been the victim of big hits his last two contests — both of which did not draw penalties. Dorsett appeared to be the victim of a illegal crackback block against the Ravens in the opening series, and then when he caught the touchdown pass from Julian Edelman last week, where he suffered the concussion, it could have very well been a hit on a defenseless player penalty.
6. Based on what we’ve seen the last several weeks, the AFC seems likely to come down to the Patriots, Ravens and Chiefs. Watching the Texans-Colts game Thursday, it’s really hard to see any of those two teams making it to the Super Bowl. The edge has to go to the Patriots, especially if they continue to take care of business, the road to the Super Bowl will go through Gillette Stadium.
7. The Patriots will travel to Houston next Sunday night to take on the 7-4 Texans, who are coming off a big win over the Colts last Thursday night. This means Houston will get a few extra days to prepare for the game. With that being said, the Patriots have dominated Bill O’Brien and the Texans. They have won the last eight meetings, including the postseason, and are 10-1 all-time.