Bad luck can hit at anytime and sports are no stranger to this rule.
Yes the New England Patriots are the Super Bowl Champions, yes the Patriots will win the AFC East.
But are they the best team in the AFC?
That can no longer be said with certainty. If you had asked the same question before Julian Edelman went down or when Rob Ninkovich retired, the answer would be much different.
The Patriots coaching staff and front office are in full fledged panic mode. Evidence to support this would include the Patriots working out wide receivers and defensive linemen on a weekly basis with the most recent being Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers castoff Datone Jones.
A position that was thought to be well stocked at wide receiver, was down to only two against New Orleans and those receivers, Brandin Cooks and Philip Dorsett, are new additions to this Patriots team and are still getting on the same page with Tom Brady.
Chris Hogan looked hobbled and fan favorite Danny Amendola can’t get over his body, which might as well be made of porcelain.
You can argue all you want about the running backs being able to take over the receiving duties of Edelman, Amendola, etc. But the bottom is line is, they are RUNNING BACKS, and are naturally not wide receivers that draw the attention that either Edelman or Amendola do.
Dont’a Hightower, who is your leader on defense, can’t stay on the field and quarterback his unit leaving the personnel befuddled and broken.
The truth is hard, the Patriots are understaffed. This is not the team that was suppose to be taking the field and trying to keep pace with the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders are fully healthy and were supposed to be a close second to the Patriots on paper before the injuries. But, the case can now be made that they are now the superior team.
Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree were their number one targets going into the season and quarterback Derek Carr is looking better than last year after coming back from injury. The Patriots lost their number one guy in Edelman and more and more questions are arising about Rob Gronkowski’s health.
The Raiders are healthy at running back with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. The Patriots just saw Rex Burkhead go down with a rib injury.
It may be hard to swallow, but as good as this team and this organization is, injuries are hard to overcome for anyone and there are other teams that are far better equipped and healthy.
The Patriots may be the champions, but right now they are chasing the Raiders from behind.