How do the Patriots matchup in their division after their rough 8-9 season?
The Patriots did not make the playoffs this season, and they saw two other teams in their division make the playoffs. Both the Dolphins and Bills have made significant additions to their roster over the last few seasons, and now they are one and two in the AFC East. However, New England was very close to edging out the Dolphins for the last playoff spot, despite the numerous problems they had. Where do the Patriots stand in the competitive AFC East?
Patriots Need To Fix Their Offense To Compete
The Dolphins and Bills are much better than the Patriots on offense, and both of those teams are in the playoffs. The Bills have a superstar quarterback in Josh Allen and an electric receiver in Stefon Diggs. The Dolphins have one of the best wide receiving duos in the league with Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill. New England had Matt Patricia as their offensive coordinator last season, and it ended up stagnating their entire offense. Also, compared with the top teams in the AFC, New England doesn’t have enough receiving talent to compete.
A mix of not having an elite receiver, or a qualified offensive coordinator, the Patriots had a very subpar defense. Mac Jones also saw a regression in his play. Mac only had 14 touchdowns this season and wasn’t able to reach 3,000 passing yards. To compete in the AFC East, New England must fix their offense.
While New England did have a very rocky season, the fact that they were a game out of being in the playoffs may be encouraging. New England had arguably one of the worst offensive coordinators in the NFL, and they didn’t have an elite receiver. If the Patriots are able to fix just their offensive coordinator role, they could see themselves in the playoffs.
While New England did go 8-9, lots of timely mistakes, and poor choice of plays on offense cost them games. The Patriots could have easily been 10-7 this season with a qualified coordinator. So, if New England is able to get an experienced offensive mind they do have the potential to be the second beast team in the AFC East.
The Patriots Will Likely Be Competing For Second Place
Even if New England fixes their offense, they will likely be competing for the second spot in the AFC East. The Bills are one of the few true elite teams in the NFL, and they have a very good chance to win the Super Bowl. With Josh Allen being a top three quarterback in the league, it will be very difficult to take the AFC East crown. However, New England can still overtake Miami. The Dolphins made very aggressive moves for this season, and New England was still right there with them.
Patriots Are Still Playoff Contenders Next Season
Even if New England can’t win the AFC East, with some coaching changes they should be right back into being playoff contenders. New England hovered around playoff territory this season, so they should be back in the playoffs with a change at offensive coordinator.
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