Week 13 is over in the NFL, and it seems to me that the New England Patriots still haven’t figured it out. Even in the Sunday Night Football game against the Houston Texans when the Patriots only lost by eight, it took them three quarters to finally wake up.
It is no secret that the Patriots are a strong, dominant football team. All I am saying is that there are some red flags among this team that need to be noted, because in past years, they haven’t been an issue.
On any other team, a 10-3 record would look mighty good. In my opinion, the Patriots do not look like a 10-3 team. Halfway through the season when the Patriots were 8-0, everyone thought that the Patriots were a lock for the Super Bowl. Well, if you take a closer look, the Patriots had played only one team that was over .500: the Buffalo Bills who they beat 16-10. The Patriots haven’t exactly had the hardest schedule this year.
Let’s take a look at the Patriots’ last four games: the Patriots have gone 2-2, with 72 points for, and 84 points against. They have played the Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans. The Ravens, Cowboys and Texans are all .500 or better, and the Patriots only beat the Cowboys in this bunch. They also beat the Eagles who sit at 5-7. Looking at these teams, they lost to the two best teams they played in their last four games. This is concerning, but not fatal by any means.
Looking at the Patriots offense, it is ranked fifth in the league, with an average of 26.8 points per game. As much as it may look like the Patriots offense has struggled this season, it is actually putting up impressive numbers. With all the talk about the Patriots struggling recently, a 26.8 ppg is respectable.
Similar to the offensive numbers, the defensive numbers look pretty strong as well. Ranking the best in the league, the Patriots defense gives up an average of 12.1 points per game. This is really impressive combined with the team’s 26.8 ppg on offense. Putting all of their “struggles” aside, the Patriots are putting out some quality numbers.
The more you crunch the numbers with this New England Patriots team, the numbers don’t actually look that bad. At the end of the day, the only number that matters is the number in the win column, and the Patriots have struggled with this against high quality teams.
There comes a point around this time of the season where you need to sit down and analyze the team. The high quality numbers the Patriots are producing combined with the struggle to win against high quality opponents is causing confusion and concern to come up. It’s no accomplishment to shut out the Jets 33-0 on the road, or shut out the Miami Dolphins 43-0. The inability to win games against teams like the Ravens and the Texans is where the concern rises, because the reality is, they are yet to face the Packers, Saints or 49ers: the beasts of the west.
I have faith that the Patriots will pull it together, but it needs to happen soon.