How have the Patriots looked so far into the NFL season?
Through nine games, the Patriots see themselves at 5-4. One game out of a playoff spot. This season so far for New England has been pretty inconsistent, and they definitely have a few things to improve going into the bye. Here is the mid-season evaluation for the Patriots so far nine games into the season.
Defense Has Been Great
The defense for the Patriots has definitely been their strong side, and the defense was the main reason New England was even competitive in some of their losses. Going into this season, especially the changes with offensive coordinator, it was clear the Patriots’ defense had to step up for New England to win games, and for the most part they have. New England clearly has a top five unit on defense, however there are still some things to fix. New England has struggled against mobile quarterbacks, and if the defense is not able to deliver for New England there is a decent chance the Patriots can’t stay in the game.
The offense has definitely left something to be desired, and they haven’t really clicked yet. This just makes the Patriots’ defense look better since they were the only reason New England was able to win some of their games. Overall, this defense has been great, but they need to improve against faster quarterbacks. Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields highlighted the problems. Lamar Jackson had a field day against New England, and so did Justin Fields. Lamar had four touchdowns and rushed for over 100 yards. The Patriots were expected to handily beat the Bears, so that loss was disappointing.
Fields was able to rush for 82 yards and a touchdown. The New England Patriots’ defense is already elite, and fixing their issue against mobile quarterbacks will potentially make them the best unit in the NFL. The defense went through a re-tool this season, with the Patriots pivoting towards faster, more athletic linebackers. While the issue against speedy offenses has definitely gotten smaller, it’s still something that the Patriots can improve on.
Offense Has Been Disappointing
The offense was a major question heading into the 2022 season, and nobody still has an answer. Josh McDaniels was a huge loss for New England, and they didn’t replace him properly. They brought in Matt Patricia, someone who has no offensive experience, to be the offensive coordinator. New England’s offense looks extremely stagnant at times, even just last week against the Colts. Mac Jones has been struggling a lot this year, with a touchdown to interception ratio of four to seven, and he hasn’t thrown over 200 yards in the past two games.
Getting Mac adjusted to Matt Patricia should be the number one priority. However, the entire blame shouldn’t go to Mac. The offensive line has been horrible, and Matt Patricia’s plays don’t quite match Mac’s strengths. Mac thrived in the short to intermediate throws, and this year Matt Patricia is trying to push the ball down the field, but the offensive line won’t hold up. The loss of David Andrews has been huge, and Isaiah Wynn has regressed.
There are way too many holding calls on the Patriots’ offensive line, and it can ruin drives. New England’s offense has been very sloppy so far into the year. Turnovers have been a massive issue for New England, and it is an issue that needs to be fixed heading into the later part of the season.
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