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Patriots host Saints with both teams seeking a spark

The New England Patriots are coming off the most lopsided loss in Bill Belichick’s 29 seasons as a head coach.

The New Orleans Saints are in the midst of one of the worst stretches of offense in the NFL.

Both teams are seeking significant improvement when they meet Sunday afternoon in Foxboro, Mass.

New England (1-3) lost 38-3 at Dallas last Sunday as quarterback Mac Jones turned the ball over three times, including a pick six and a scoop and score.

“The biggest thing is moving on from it and learning from it,” Jones said. “(I need to) take care of the football, go through my reads. That’s all I can do as the quarterback, and I feel like the guys are doing a good job. So, I just have to get the ball out to them and let them make plays.”

Belichick, who’s in his 24th season as Patriots head coach after five seasons as Cleveland’s head coach, has a chance to achieve a far more positive milestone this week. If New England beats New Orleans, Belichick will join George Halas and Don Shula as the only coaches with 300 career regular-season victories.

“That wasn’t our best game,” Belichick said of last week’s loss. “We’re capable of more than that. We just have to play collectively better complementary team football, and that includes everything – offense, defense, special teams.”

The Patriots rank 30th in scoring and 17th in yards. The Saints are tied for 25th in scoring and are 23rd in yards.

New Orleans has scored 21 or fewer points in 10 consecutive games, the longest such streak in the NFL.

The Saints (2-2) have lost two games in a row and failed to reach the end zone in a 26-9 home loss to Tampa Bay last week.

Derek Carr passed for just 127 yards while playing with a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder that forced him to miss two days of practice last week.

“I feel much better this week than I did at this time last week,” Carr said after practice Wednesday. “I’ve been through tougher times than this. We’re going to be all right. We’ve got the right kind of people in our room.”

New Orleans ranks 25th in rushing offense even after leading rusher Alvin Kamara returned last week from a three-game suspension. He had 51 yards on 11 carries against the Bucs.

“The sense of urgency is extremely high,” guard James Hurst said. “We’re not playing up to the level that we hoped to at this point in the season.

“It’s extremely frustrating because we know we have the potential to move the ball and score points, but at the same time we’re hopeful because you look around the offense and see players who have proven they can make plays.”

Two Patriots injured against the Cowboys missed practice Wednesday – rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez (shoulder) and pass rusher Matthew Judon (elbow). New England addressed Gonzalez’s absence when it re-acquired former All-Pro cornerback J.C. Jackson in a trade with the Chargers on Wednesday.

Two Saints starters besides Carr were limited Wednesday: cornerback Paulson Adebo, who has missed the past two games because of a hamstring injury, and center Erik McCoy (knee).

– Field Level Media

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