Forecasting the Patriots’ Final Stretch

Forecasting the Patriots’ Final Stretch

by December 1, 2019 0 comments

After the Ravens handed them their first loss of the season on November 3, the Patriots had their bye week and then beat the Eagles on the road in a Super Bowl LII rematch before thrashing the Cowboys at home last Sunday, getting back on the right track and proving why sportsbooks such as YouWager still favor them to win Super Bowl LIV.

That visit to the Ravens was the biggest test of the season for the Patriots and the result was a reality check for them, as their opponent outmatched them on both sides of the ball. 

The Ravens led 17-0 in the second quarter and while the Patriots made it 17-13 at halftime, the second half was all Ravens as they outscored the Pats 20-7 to secure the impressive victory.

Tom Brady completed 30 of 46 passes for 285 yards and one touchdown with one interception, James White had 38 rushing yards and one touchdown on nine carries and he also caught two passes for 46 yards, and Julian Edelman had 10 receptions for 89 yards. Sony Michel had a tough game with just 18 rushing yards on four carries and one catch for 12 yards. Michel played much better against the Cowboys, leading the ground game with 85 rushing yards on 20 carries.

Michel is one of the keys to the Patriots going far in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the team’s two new wide receivers, rookie N’Keal Harry and Mohamed Sanu, will be the X-factors. The Patriots released troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon from injured reserve on Oct. 31, and he was replaced by another deep threat in Harry.

N’Keal Harry, the first Patriots wide receiver drafted in the first round since Terry Glenn in 1996, missed the first half of the season with an ankle injury suffered during the joint practices with the Lions in the preseason; a hard hit in the preseason opener aggravated that ailing.

Harry worked his way back from that injury by practicing for two weeks but he obviously needed time to catch up with his teammates, as the speed and caliber of the NFL is unlike anything he had experienced before.

This is what Tom Brady said about Harry before he finally joined the team:

“He’s missed a lot of football. He’s got to go out there and earn it, earn the trust. Just try and work at it every day. It’s going to be up to him to put the effort in every day. It’s good to have him out there.”

It was up to Harry to make plays when given snaps in order to earn playing time and he is beginning to prove why his skill set is said to be among the best in this year’s rookie class. He did have some drops early in the preseason but he displayed athleticism and made acrobatic catches as well. Last Sunday, he caught one pass for 10 yards and his first career touchdown, making a difference against the Cowboys.

Mohamed Sanu was limited in practice all week with an ankle injury and he missed the game against the Cowboys, but he can be a key contributor for the Patriots for the rest of the season. The Pats traded for Sanu on October 22 and he has 14 catches for 108 yards and one touchdown in three games with them. Once he is back, he will continue to be versatile and display his ability to beat defenders on long routes in the middle, which is why the Patriots went after him. 

His best game so far came against the Ravens when he caught 10 passes for 81 yards and one touchdown, and he will play even better in the coming weeks. The Patriots have the best record in the AFC at 10-1 and up next for them are the Texans, Chiefs, Bengals, Bills and Dolphins. I see them going 4-1 in those games, finishing the regular season with a 14-2 record to secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Ravens the only team that can catch the Patriots for the best record in the conference but they have a tougher schedule the rest of the way with games against the 49ers, Bills, Jets, Browns and Steelers.

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