FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The hits keep on coming for the New England Patriots.

On Thursday, the NFL flexed the Patriots out of their Week 15 Monday Night Football matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. Instead, the Patriots will take on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs  at 1 p.m. on Dec. 17.

The Patriots-Chiefs game will be replaced by the Philadelphia Eagles-Seattle Seahawks.

At 2-9, the Patriots have quickly dropped to one of the worst teams in the NFL and on Thursday, the NFL treated them as such. This marks the first time the NFL has  flexed a team out of a Monday night matchup. This also means that the Patriots won’t have a Monday night football game during the 2023 season.

With New England coming off an 8-9 season in 2022, the Patriots-Chiefs game was supposed to be one of the NFL’s marquee matchups. Instead of Coach Bill Belichick’s team turning a corner, the Patriots are currently off to their worst start since 1993 when they started 1-11 under Bill Parcells, who was in his first year with the Patriots. They ultimately finished 5-11.

This marks Belichick’s worst start with the Patriots since his 2000 season when his team started 2-8. The team finished 5-11, but a year later, everything turned around in that faithful 2001 season.


The Patriots are currently riding a four-game losing streak into this weekend’s matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers. Bailey Zappe appears set to start over Mac Jones, who’s been relegated to scout team duties this week.

The Patriots are still scheduled to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 14 for the NFL’s Thursday night game. They’ll also take on the Denver Broncos on Christmas Eve for the NFL’s Sunday night matchup.

Patriots tight end Hunter Henry played his first five seasons with the Chargers and gets a chance to play his former team on Sunday. Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

HUNTER HENRY will never forget his time out west.

The Chargers were the team that drafted Henry in the second round of the 2016 draft. It’s where he spent his first five seasons and developed into one of the best tight ends in the NFL.

After signing with the Patriots in 2021, Henry faces his former team on Sunday when the Chargers come into Gillette Stadium.

“It’s always fun to go against your former team. It’ll be fun. I’m excited,” said Henry, who noted his favorite Chargers memories are in the locker room. “Really just the support staff, the trainers, equipment guys – guys behind the scenes and guys you spent time within the locker room are some of the biggest memories you have.


“Especially getting drafted there and being young. It’ll always hold a special place in my career and life. It was a big transition in my life and they helped me along the way.”

In five seasons, Henry caught 196 passes for 2,322 yards with 21 touchdowns for the Chargers. Before coming to the Patriots, Henry posted back-to-back 600-yard receiving seasons. Although Henry has fond memories of Los Angeles, he dealt with several injuries during his time there.

In 2018, Henry suffered a torn ACL during OTAs and missed his entire third season. The next year, he suffered a tibia plateau fracture to his left knee and didn’t play until Week 6.

In five seasons with the Chargers, Henry never played a full season. He came to New England in 2021 with durability concerns, but since signing with the Patriots, Henry played in all 17 games in 2021 and 2022. This season, that trend has continued with him playing in all 11 contests.

“Went through a lot out there young in my career, a lot of injuries, especially three years in a row I went through some major injuries. I missed a lot of games,” Henry said.” I took a lot of pride (in playing), especially coming off my fourth year where I had my last big injury. It comes with a lot of luck and hard work, taking care of your body, trying to build strength, trying to do as much as you can to stay out there…

“I’ve tried to take pride in that and just being available for the guys… just being out there has been huge to me and something I want to continue.”

POP DOUGLAS wasn’t the only young wideout missing at Patriots practice Thursday afternoon.

After catching a pass for the second week in the row, Kayshon Boutte was also missing. The rookie popped up on Wednesday’s injury report with a new shoulder issue and wasn’t able to get on the field a day later. Meanwhile, Douglas remains in the concussion protocol.

That means New England could be without three wideouts on Sunday – Kendrick Bourne is still on injured reserve — presuming he’s the starter against the Chargers.

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