The New England Patriots have endured a tough week. After a 33-6 trouncing by Kyle Shanahan and the San Fransisco 49ers last week, things do not get easier. The Patriots will now be traveling to play the division-leading Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Another big task for a team that currently appears to be sputtering.
Here are three New England players that have a lot at stake, need to turn in a good game and are worth watching this Sunday.
Newton was on this list last week. Last week was his "make or break" week in my book. After going into a long slew about how Newton could be successful in the game last week, the game then happened last week. That performance left a bad taste in most fans' mouths, with good reason. After all that, Newton would go on to receive an F for last week's performance in my post-game report card.
Everything was done poorly by Newton last week. Whether it be his mechanics, footwork, timing, reads, progressions, you name it. Newton can only seemingly go up from here after that three-interception performance.
This week, we shouldn't be expecting a bounce-back game, per say, for Newton. However, instead, we should expect Newton and the New England offense to take a step in the right direction. Which that step would be expecting the offense to start looking different than the last few weeks.
This game will likely be a heavy-running attack from the Patriots, who are facing a bottom-third of the league run defense in Buffalo and a limited receiving corps for Newton. Expect Newton to have some quarterback-designed runs sprinkled back into the offense. Expect the passing downs to be a much different look than the last two weeks. All of this will aid in Newton seeing the field better. Hopefully it can be a step in the right direction to salvaging the season. We can all only watch what Newton does this Sunday.
The Stephon Gilmore trade rumors have been swirling ahead of Tuesday's deadline. Gilmore, who remains questionable for Sunday's contest, could very well be sidelined from an ankle injury. If this is so, Jackson is going to be in for a tough matchup. A matchup that will help indicate whether or not Jackson can be a No. 1 cornerback moving forward, and if the Patriots in fact could afford to trade Gilmore away.
That matchup would likely be Jackson versus Stefon Diggs, the newly-acquired star receiver to the division, who runs routes better than most in the National Football League. A daunting task for Jackson, however, one he may just be ready for.
If Jackson can put together a strong performance against the undoubtably best receiver in this division, that may just make Nick Casiero and New England a little bit more comfortable with trading last year's Defensive Player of the Year in Gilmore before Tuesday.
Meyers was one of the only bright spots during last week's massacre. However, he now enters an interesting situation as he appears to be the number two receiver heading into this week. With both Julian Edelman and N'Keal Harry ruled out for Sunday's contest, Meyers remains with Damiere Byrd as the next-best options in the passing game.
Meyers could really find a way to earn some serious playing time throughout the rest of the 2020 season. The way this receiving core has performed thus far would indicate that every spot is up for grabs. If Meyers can build on his four-catch, 60-yard game last week by stringing together another strong performance, he could potentially bump his way up to becoming a starter the rest of the way.
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