Can Mac Jones lead the New England Patriots back to the playoffs. The New England Patriots are currently sitting at 2-4, they are 2nd in the AFC East behind the Buffalo Bills. The Bills will make it extremely difficult for the Patriots to win the AFC East. With that being said, the wildcard is a very real possibility for the Patriots. There are some things that they need to change and things they need to go their way in order to keep playing into the postseason.
Team health is obviously not something the team has total control over. They have already lost James White for the season, the entire offensive line has been banged up, they have dealt with the injury bug. The offensive line is key for any offense, especially a rookie quarterback led offense. Every play starts with them, having them all healthy protects Mac Jones, and leads to a good run game.
In order for this Patriots team to make the playoffs, they need to stay healthy. They need all hands on deck.
Damien Harris has fumbled twice, Rhamondre Stevenson has fumbled, JJ Taylor has fumbled, Mac Jones has lost a fumble. The Patriots have been horrible in terms of ball security, specifically by running backs.
Damien Harris fumbled week 1 inside the red zone with about 5 minutes left in a 1 point game. That is a game the Patriots should have won, they could have kicked a field goal even and taken the lead there.
If the Patriots can’t get the fumbling issues squared away, they will continue to lose close games.
The Patriots Conservative Playcalling is Holding them Back
Bill Belichick has been one of the best NFL coaches of all time, but this season the Patriots coaching decisions have held them back on multiple occasions. They have been easing Mac Jones into the offense and not letting him continue to throw when he’s playing well.
On multiple occasions the Patriots have played it safe and it has kept them from winning football games. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Patriots lost 19-17. The defense did everything they could to keep the Bucs from scoring in bunches, 19 points given up gives you a good chance to win a game. But when the Patriots got to midfield at the end of the game, on 4th and 3, Belichick and the Pats tried a 56 yard field goal in the rain. The result, a loss. Hindsight’s 20/20 but kicking a long field goal in the rain seems like a worse idea than going for it on 4th and 3.
The Patriots have gone for it on 4th down just three times all season. All of those three attempts came in a loss to the Saints, on the final drive of the game.
Big Money Receivers
Mac Jones has been one of if not the best rookie quarterback in the league this year. The New England Patriots went and spend a boatload of money in free agency to try and help him out. They signed Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, and these guys have been relatively quiet all year. The Patriots have yet to have a 100 yard receiver through six games, and no one has solidified themselves as the number one target for Jones.
Smith and Henry have combined for 38 receptions, 365 yards, and 4 touchdowns. For reference, Bengals rookie Ja’Marr Chase has 550 yards and 5 touchdowns alone, undrafted 3rd year Patriots receiver Jakobi Myers has 346 recieving yards alone. The tight end duo needs to be more used in the passing game. For all that money they are getting outperformed by a LOT of receivers.
This offense needs to throw the ball more, be more aggressive with the ball, establish the run and take advantage of play action.
This New England Patriots team absolutely has the talent on paper to be a playoff team. The next 5 games should give us a good idea on whether or not this team has it in them. The defense has been good, not great. But the offense needs to be better all around, from coaches to players.
Follow us on Twitter
Check out our Shop