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Last year the Patriots lost a Super Bowl when Tom Brady threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions http://www.authenticskansascitychiefs.c ... dif-jersey , thanks to the defense failing to stop the Eagles’ offense. That was the story of the season in New England, when the offense was great but the defense couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain.This season has been different: Tom Brady’s stats declined in 2018, but the defense was better. New England improved in defensive DVOA from 31st last season to 16th this season. By yards per play allowed, New England improved from 30th to 19th. By takeaways, New England improved from 25th to sixth.Last year’s Patriots defense forced 19 turnovers in 19 games Authentic nthony Hitchens Jersey , counting postseason. This year’s Patriots have forced 30 turnovers in 17 games, even though turnovers league-wide were slightly down this season.Takeaways will be particularly important on Sunday against the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. When the teams met in the regular season, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a lot of big plays, but the Patriots also intercepted him twice, and New England won the game. It’s hard to picture last year’s Patriots forcing those interceptions and beating an offense as good as Kansas City’s.The defensive improvement is a credit to linebackers coach Brian Flores Youth Kendall Fuller Jersey , who took over many of the coordinator responsibilities when Matt Patricia became head coach of the Lions after the Super Bowl. Flores is expected to become the Dolphins’ head coach after the Patriots’ postseason run ends, and the way the Patriots’ defense has performed this season suggests that the Dolphins found themselves a good coach. The Chargers may be holding out some slim hope for Melvin Gordon tonight, but they’re covering themselves at the position, just in case.According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Chargers are promoting running back Troymaine Pope from their practice squad http://www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com/au ... unt-jersey , giving them a third healthy body at the position.Austin Ekeler is out for tonight’s game against the Chiefs and Gordon is questionable, after missing two weeks with a knee. Putting him out there this week always seemed more hope than plan, and promoting Pope gives them some depth along with rookies Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome.Pope has bounced around the league a bit, with stints with the Seahawks, Jets Dee Ford Jersey , Seahawks again, Colts, Texans, Seahawks a third time and now the Chargers. The former undrafted rookie from Jacksonville State has 12 career carries for 44 yards.
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