The New England Patriots suffered a blow to their playoff hopes after a 27-20 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday. Now, they might need to go undefeated the rest of the way to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008, which starts in Week 12 this Sunday when they face the Arizona Cardinals.
But despite the tall order, cornerback Stephon Gilmore is ready for the challenge of facing the Cardinals, specifically covering wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in what should be one of the most anticipated individual matchups this week.
Stephon Gilmore when asked which Cardinals Wide Receiver he will be covering this weekend: "I think everybody knows"
— Zolak & Bertrand (@ZoandBertrand) November 25, 2020
Gilmore was obviously referring to Hopkins, who has been brilliant in his first season in Arizona. The 28-year old currently leads the NFL with 912 receiving yards on 72 receptions and four touchdowns in 10 games for the Cardinals, who head into Gillette Stadium with a 6-4 record.
The 30-year old Gilmore, meanwhile, has had an up and down season after testing positive for COVID-19 in Week 5 and battling a hamstring injury that limited him in recent weeks. He has just one interception all season after having six in 2019, when he was named as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.
After allowing just one touchdown all season, the three-time Pro Bowler allowed Seattle Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf to reach the end zone in just the Patriots’ second game of the season, a sign that he has regressed from last season.
But if Gilmore could be healthy for the game on Sunday, and if he gets the motivation that he needs, especially with New England’s playoff hopes hanging in the balance, he may just be able to give Hopkins a good challenge.