At 9-5 and in danger of having to play on Wild Card weekend for the first time since 2009, it feels as if the New England Patriots are not their typically dominant selves.
And according to the NFL Network's Mike Giardi, who joined 98.5 The Sports Hub "Toucher and Rich" on Tuesday morning, that begins at the top of their roster, as Tom Brady's recent struggles come back to an injury that the 41-year-old quarterback has been battling through since their loss in Tennessee on Nov. 11.
An injury that most seem to believed occurred when Brady slipped on an attempted trick play by the Patriots.
"I would not be surprised when all is said and done that we hear something about either... I’m guessing it’s an MCL," Giardi said. "That's what I'm saying. I’m saying he has a tear or a partial tear of the MCL, and that’s why he’s still playing.
"Go back to the moment in the Dolphins game their photographer captured with Channel 4; When Brady comes off the field after the touchdown to Gronk and all of a sudden he just drops to the ground and he’s clearly in pain. As [Brady] said, he was adjusting his knee brace. But when you have an MCL issue, a lot of times you have to bend the knee brace on purpose because of where the knee brace rubs up against the knee. I’m just wondering if it all of a sudden found that sore spot where the MCL is and he had to go down to the turf and move it away from it so it wasn’t rubbing up against the area.”
Giardi made it a point to mention that while nobody within the organization or Brady's camp has told him that it's what he's currently dealing with, he believes it's obvious when looking at the recent film of Brady's game.
“He’s basically surrendering his left leg, and I think there have been times when he’s almost relying too much on his arm and not his lower half," Giardi offered. "I’ve seen him make throws where he’s not bringing his lower body into it. He’s not stepping forward into it because he doesn’t want to risk the front side of his body taking hits there. There’s been some points where protection isn’t great, so I think there’s definitely something going on.”
Brady, who was not on Tuesday's injury report, will look to right the ship with a Sunday home game against the Bills.
You can listen to the complete interview in hour two of Wednesday's "Toucher and Rich" program.