🏈Patriots Take Painful Loss
The GIST: Yesterday, the Patriots were absolutely pummeled by the San Francisco 49ers 33–6. Just like a middle school dance, the Pats’ third straight loss was painful and embarrassing.
Six points?: It was ugly. All six points came from field goals as QB Cam Newton struggled. His sloppy play (read: turnovers) led to Jarrett Stidham replacing him in the fourth quarter, but Stidham didn’t fare much better, taking an interception himself. We chalked up last week’s loss to a lack of practice, but this one is inexcusable.
And the defense?: Also ugly. The 49ers totaled 301 yards in the first half alone, marking the most allowed at home by the Patriots in the first half under head coach Bill Belichick (meaning over 20 years). They gave up three touchdowns to Niner RB Jeff Wilson Jr. and made former Patriot backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s return to Foxboro too sweet. No sugarcoating it.
Who’s next?: Oh, just the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills (aka the Pats’ divisional foes). Sunday’s game is a must-win. Buckle up.
🏈Eagle Still Atop NFC East
The GIST: Still heartbroken from Penn State’s loss to Indiana? Same. But cheer up, at least the Eagles are still atop the NFC East.
It’s lonely at the top: ICYMI, the Eagles barely beat the NY Giants on Thursday Night Football, scoring a miraculous last-minute touchdown to steal the game from their divisional foe 22–21. Thankfully, because the NFC East is very bad, the Birds’ second win of the season granted them the top spot in their division.
- To earn a playoff berth, the Eagles have to either win their division or have one of the top three records in their conference. At 2-4-1, their only hope is staying in control of the NFC East.
When opportunity knocks: The NFC East is a hot mess, with three of the four teams recording only two wins each. To make matters more confusing, the Eagles have lost to the Washington Football Team (WFT) but beat the Giants, the WFT have lost to the Giants but beat the Cowboys, and the Cowboys have lost to the WFT but beat the Giants. Wild.
- The Eagles will have their first chance against the Cowboys on Sunday. The Cowboys were originally projected to take the division; however, with the unfortunate loss of starting QB Dak Prescott and second-string QB Andy Dalton, the Birds are serious contenders.
- With nine games left in the season, the division is anyone’s to claim. Fly Eagles, fly!
🏈Giants to Face Eagles on Thursday Night Football
The GIST: The Giants play the Philadelphia Eagles tonight on Thursday Night Football. Thanks to Sunday’s win, if the G-men can take down the Birds, New York would tie the Dallas Cowboys for the top spot in the National Football Conference (NFC) East. 2020, you wild.
What to watch: While the Giants have their fair share of issues, the 1-4-1 Eagles have a struggling offensive line weakened further by injuries. Fortunately, this is something the G-men can take advantage of: they rank in the top 10 in sacks this season with 15.
- Since New York’s opponents have outscored them by 52 points overall so far this season, the game will depend on whether head coach and Philadelphia native, Joe Judge, can inspire QB Daniel Jones and the offense to put up enough points to beat the Birds.
Top of the bottom: The NFC East is by far the least competitive division in the NFL right now as the current No. 1 seed only has two wins. While tying the No. 1 Cowboys wouldn’t be a huge deal, back-to-back wins could spark a significant momentum-swing for the struggling Giants. *knock on wood*
- The Giants currently have a less than 10 percent chance of making the playoffs, but that’s still a chance, and this win might make us start to believe this season isn’t complete trash after all.
One last thing: GISTers, we’re so grateful for your support of our regional content and would love your help to make it even better by completing this v. short survey. Thanks so much!
🏆Russian Military Hackers Target Tokyo Olympics
What happened?: Earlier this week, U.K. security officials broke the news that Russia’s military intelligence service, GRU (how fitting), had been planning cyber attacks on the organizers and sponsors of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. Reminder: Russia is banned from all major international sporting events until 2023 due to widespread doping offenses.
- This news came just a day after U.S. authorities outed GRU for its cyber attacks on the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. The malicious attacks wiped computer data and disabled networks in an effort to sabotage the Games. Confidential medical records of over 250 athletes were also stolen and published online. Just horrible.
What happens now?: Six Russian military officers have been charged by the FBI for their involvement in the PyeongChang attacks, which were said to have been done in retaliation of the doping ban and to further Russia’s geopolitical standing. We’re not sure sabotaging the beloved Olympics is gaining you any brownie points, Russia.
- The 2020 Games are still a go for next summer, and Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Katsunobu Katō, has assured Olympic organizers and participants that Japan will do everything it can to prevent cyberattacks. Anyway, off to watch Icarus...
🏈Patriots' Sunday Preview
The GIST: Still sad the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts? Same. Wash away the pain with a Dunkies and dig into the Patriots’ Sunday matchup.
Who are we playing?: The Pats will aim to spoil National Tight Ends Day (yes, that’s actually a thing) for George Kittle and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET. After a rough outing last week, partially due to a lack of practice, look for the Pats to improve their passing game by involving wide receivers Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry more often.
- Here’s the thing: while the Pats got beaten up by COVID-19, the Niners’ defense has been hit hard by injuries to its top players. It will be up to QB Cam Newton and co. to take advantage of the situation (and spoil former Patriot backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s return to Foxboro).
How’s the Pats’ COVID-19 situation?: Looking better. Three players came off the reserve/COVID-19 list yesterday, and no new players were placed on it. *knocks on wood* And even though three other players returned to yesterday’s practice from the injured reserve (different from the COVID-19 one), starting right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor was put on it. Two steps forward, one step back.
Anything else?: Yes actually! GISTers, we’re so grateful for your support of our regional content and would love your help to make it even better by completing this v. short survey. Thanks so much!