Which teams should the Patriots try to avoid, and who should they try to play in the playoffs?
Although New England has had a shaky start to the season, they are currently 6-5. New England doesn’t necessarily have the talent on their roster to be a Super Bowl team. However, there have been lots of cases where upsets can happen. If New England gets the right path, there is a possibility they can make a good push in the playoffs. Here are the teams that would give them the best chance in the playoffs and the teams that would likely end New England’s 2022 campaign.
Two Teams The Patriots Need To Avoid
Two teams New England needs to avoid are the two clear best teams in the AFC. The Bills and the Chiefs both have rosters with lots of talent, and they both have dynamic offenses led by top-five quarterbacks. If the Bills or Chiefs’ offense gets going, New England likely won’t be able to keep up since the Patriots aren’t a team that’s built on offense.
The Patriots’ passing offense will need to step up against these teams, and for the season, New England’s passing offense has been underwhelming, and Matt Patricia as the play caller has led to Mac Jones regressing. Mac Jones and the Patriots’ offense looked great against the Vikings, and New England needs to start building on that. However, both of these teams wouldn’t be good matchups at all.
Two Tough But Winnable Matchups
After the Bills and Chiefs, New England has a decent chance of beating anybody. However, two tough yet winnable matchups would be the Dolphins and Bengals. The Dolphins have had the Patriots’ number over the last few years, especially in Miami. Tua Tagovailoa has had a terrific year, throwing for 18 touchdowns and 2,265 yards. Miami also has two very dynamic receivers, and as a whole, the Dolphin’s offense has been terrific. New England has struggled in Miami, and while the matchups are winnable, it would be very tough.
While the Bengals have been inconsistent this year, the amount of offensive talent they have will make them a viable Super Bowl contender. Joe Burrow has ascended as a star quarterback this year, already throwing for 22 touchdowns. With great receivers like Ja’marr Chase, Tee Higgins and a good complementary receiver in Tyler Boyd. The Bengals, on a good day, can be an explosive passing offense, which makes them a bad matchup for New England. In case the Patriots do play the Dolphins or Bengals, their secondary is the key to getting the win.
Two Favorable Matchups
While both of these teams can certainly win, the most favorable matchups for New England include the Titans and Ravens. For one key reason: they are based on running the ball. The Titans built their entire offense around Derrick Henry, and the Ravens built their offense on Lamar Jackson’s ability to run the ball. Both of these teams, while talented, give New England the least to worry about passing-wise. The Patriots have been a below-average team passing the football, but they have shown potential, especially in their game against the Vikings.
The key to beating the Titans is to limit the run game and to make sure the Titans don’t control the time of possession. If Derrick Henry isn’t able to get going, their offense likely won’t be able to produce. Forcing Lamar to be a pure passer is the key to beating the Ravens. At the same time, both these tasks are extremely hard to do. With the coaching and the talent the Patriots have on defense, led by the NFL’s leading sack rusher in Matthew Judon, New England’s potential on defense is very high. So, since both the Titans and Ravens are built on their rushing attack, New England has the best chance to beat them.
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