Road trip! Look out!
For the 2018 Patriots, these days away from home have not been pleasant excursions. Two trips (let’s not call them games because they haven’t been games) — two no-shows.
Now, one can see the jacked-up Jaguars handing the Pats a bitter bruising in Week 2, but the Lions? How indecent.
Now Chicago and Buffalo lay ahead.
Yes, the Bears have suddenly grown claws, and will not be in their usual cubby bear mode. They can actually compete. The days of Jay Cutler and his stink has vanished. Chicago has a killer Bear hug.
And in Buffalo the following week, the Bills will enjoy their first “Monday Night Football” since O.J. was downing the juice. Riled-up fans will be indeed!
As for the Patriots, there may not have been a more embarrassing road loss in the B & B era than that Sunday night fiasco to Matt Patricia’s Lions. Ex-Patricia may have known what his ex-Pats do but to see him do it to the Brady Bunch . . . enough said.
So, Bill, what’s the problem? Too many of your new Pats wander off Patriot Way when hitting the road. Please, let’s not redo that 2009 season when the Patriots were 8-0 at Gillette Stadium, and 2-and-an-ouch-6 away from mommy.
So what can the Patriots do to feel the warmth of the home fires in Chicago on Sunday?
Let’s make an offer:
How ’bout making it a real road trip and go to Chicago by bus. That should build some cramped camaraderie.
Or do some real film study. Invade Kraftie’s personal library of Greatest Road Wins Ever! Any of those Steelers treats will do. Or how about wearing the home unis, to and fro, there and back, sort of a hippy mental preparation.
Or maybe . . .
Play better defense; make a tackle on special teams; sack somebody; ban field goal attempts; find a linebacker or three; don’t defer the kickoff; get the ball and score. Then keep scoring.
That may do it.
Patriots (-3) at Chicago — Patrick Mahomes last week, Mitch Trubisky this week. Another second-year quarterback ready to feed on the Pats defense like he’s playing The Citadel. Luckily, the Bears’ past still lingers as proven last week in the loss to Miami, so expect another 30-plus point burst and finally a comfortable road show. Pats, 32-20.
LA Chargers (-61⁄2) vs. Tennessee — Titans coach Mike Vrabel said, “We’re not going to have a midseason report.” Season ticket-holders send Vrabel a thank-you note in London. Chargers, 31-16.
Cleveland at Tampa Bay (-31⁄2) — “I do think we had a good plan on defense,” said Bucs coach Dirk Koetter after giving up 30-plus points for the third straight week. Wonder what makes for a bad game plan in Tampa. Buccaneers, 27-21.
Detroit (-3) at Miami — BrockStar Osweiler gets no respect. He pulls out a dramatic win last week and can’t get the bookies to make him a favorite at home. Sad. Lions, 20-16.
Carolina at Philadelphia (-41⁄2) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera is so eloquent. “Losing is not going to define us.” But it’s on the way to doing so. Eagles, 24-13.
Buffalo at Indianapolis (-71⁄2) — Though you hate to think it, the whining, crying Colts are due, due, due! Colts, 31-17.
Minnesota (-31⁄2) at NY Jets — The Jets are actually surprisingly entertaining. Gotta end some time. Vikings, 28-13.
Houston at Jacksonville (-5) — The Texans are no longer blundering, and the Jaguars keep on wondering. Texans, 27-24.
New Orleans at Baltimore (-21⁄2) — Well, here’s sort of a let’s-see-if-we-are-really-any-good-this-year game. Ravens, 20-16.
Dallas at Washington (-11⁄2) — One victory and the Cowboys are thinking championship. That’s NFC East championship, folks. Cowboys, 30-23.
LA Rams (-91⁄2) at San Francisco — Calm has set in in San Fran after the Garoppolo earthquake. Rams, 32-24.
Cincinnati at Kansas City (-6) — Can’t see anything but the Chiefs getting to 40 points-plus again this week and winning, too. Chiefs, 41-21.
NY Giants at Atlanta (-5) — Matt Ryan and Eli Manning will hold a midfield gabfest, something like “What happened to us?” Falcons, 28-27.
Last week: 7-8-0