3 Reasons Patriots Fans Should be Worried Going Into Playoffs

3 Reasons Patriots Fans Should be Worried Going Into Playoffs

by December 17, 2019 0 comments

Every year for the last decade, like clockwork, the New England Patriots find themselves in the AFC Championship game.

It seems like no matter how the seasons turn out, they at least get that far.

Even with the track record, all great things must come to an end at some point, and here are three reasons why Patriots fans should be concerned that the end could happen this year.

1. Lack of the “Patriot Way”

There may not be anything major here. There are some that believe the Patriot Way is a farce and has nothing to do with the team winning. I believe in it, and I believe that the “Patriot Way” can be defined very simply with two phrases: The team over the player, and never be satisfied until there’s a ring on your finger (for that season).

So what exactly about this is lacking this season?

It starts with the quarterback. We know the frustration. We know Tom Brady has not been able to have a steady cast of receivers, and we know that two of his three best talents have been cut. But in recent pressers, specifically in the postgame against the Philadelphia Eagles, Brady made his frustrations with the offense known despite winning the game. However, because Brady’s stats were not pumped up, he was seemingly frustrated.

For the most part, he has a right to be. Two of his three best receivers were seemingly the most unreliable players in the NFL in regards to staying eligible to play (Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown). They were replaced with rookies, one undrafted, and one who was injured until Week 11. However, right or wrong, this is clearly a case of Tom over Team.

The other thing that could be frustrating, is the increased tweeting and trash-talking from the Patriots defense. After a perfect 7-0 start, and dominating every bad offense that was thrown in their way, the Patriots “Boogeyman” defense was born. The name lasted all of those seven weeks until the Baltimore Ravens came in off the Patriots bye week and ran all over the Boogeymen for 37 points including over 200 ground yards.

Kyle Van Noy and Stephon Gilmore seemed to have become the leaders of the defense. My question for them is this: Since when did being a pro-bowler become something that is desired when on the Patriots. The goal, according to the “Patriot Way,” has always been the Super Bowl. Maybe it means nothing, but these constant tweets about the pro-bowl may be concerning if that is where their heads are at.

 

Don’t get it twisted, I like both of these guys. The work in the community Van Noy has done is outstanding, and Gilmore is the DPOY favorite. You just usually don’t see many Patriots players tweeting asking for Pro Bowl votes. Maybe it means nothing, but interesting nonetheless.

2. Eerily similar to 2013/2015

In both of those years, the Patriots had a weakness. In 2013 it was a lack of weapons and in 2015 it was a lack of pass protection. In both of those years New England hoped they wouldn’t have to face an opponent that could lock down their weakness; and in both years, they did.

This season, the Patriots will most likely have to run through a secondary featuring Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey and Earl Thomas with the Baltimore Ravens. If this happens, it’ll be a real test to see if the Patriots receivers are ready. Sometimes, you simply get overmatched. The Patriots must hope this isn’t one of those times.

3. This isn’t last year

After a Week 15 loss which featured a 16-point performance, fans and analysts were left wondering how exactly the Patriots would get their offense. The answer? Run behind some of the best blockers in football. Unfortunately, only two of the four members of the interior line/fullback combo remain. Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason are healthy, but with David Andrews and James Develin out, the running game hasn’t been effective.

If New England wants to win this year they will have to get even more creative. Which leaves the question open. Can the Patriots offensive play-callers find a way to overcome the lack of talent? I guess we will find out in two weeks.

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