At the midway point of the 2018 NFL season, the New England Patriots are 6-2 in the AFC East, The only other competition the Patriots face are the 7=1 Kansas City Chiefs. Earlier in the season, the Patriots handed the Chiefs their first loss of the season. In this post, we will examine three reasons why the Patriots are still the team to beat in the AFC. Why The Patriots Are Still The Team To Beat In The AFC For 2018
Well, Balanced Offense; At 41 years old the Patriots still have one of the most explosive offennses in football. Forty _One years old Tom Brady is still the best player in football. Also, in the mix is a healthy Julian Edelman and a new receiver in ex _Brown Josh Gordon.
Although the team lost veteran Danny Amendola to free agency, the Patriot’s are well _stocked at receiver. In the offseason, the club added ex_ Raider Cordarrelle Patterson. After eight games Patterson has been a valuable acquisition splitting time between running back and receiver. Not to mention a ninety_ five_ yard touchdown return against Chicago.
Other key offensive contributors have been Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski, receiver Chris Hogan and running back Sony Michel. Michel the team’s 2017 number one pick out of Georgia. After eight games Michel has run for 422 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensive Issues; The 2018 Patriot defense is not much different than their defense of a year ago. Free agent signees Adrian Clayborn, Danny Shelton and Jason McCourty have not been effective.
currently, the teams rank 25th among NFL teams in total yards. They have given up 27 passing touchdowns after eight games. On the positive side, the club ranks 14th against the run. If the Patriots have any aspirations of returning to the Super Bowl, the backfield must tighten up.
A Healthy Brady; At 41 years old Tom Brady still remains one of the best players in NFL history. Brady ranks near the top in every category. Considering the offseason drama regarding the benching of Malcolm Butler the team continues to win with Brady calling the signals.
As it stands now the AFC championship is between the Patriots and KansCi tyChiefs. Although the team handed the Chiefs their first loss they are still the two best teams in the AFC..If the Patriots can stay healthy then return trip to the Super Bowl is possible. Look for a Patriots Los Angeles Rams meeting in the 2019 Super Bowl. .
Anybody who is a fan of the NFL understands you cannot tell how a team will fare after just one game. This past Sunday the Patriots enjoyed their first win of the season with a 27-20 win over the improved Houston Texans. In this post, we will cover three areas on why the Patriots are still a favourite to return to the Super Bowl going forward in 2018.
What We Have Learned from the Patriots After Week One Going Forward In 2018
Balanced Attack Like any Patriots team under Bill Belichick we witnessed a well_ balanced attack in Sunday’s win. Offensively Tom Brady passed for 277 yards On the ground the team rushed for 122 yards for a grand total of 389 yards combined for the day. Contributing in the effort were Rex Burkhead, James White, and James Devlin In the receiving department, Rob Gronkowski had 7 catches for 168 yards. Also in the mix was wideout Phillip Dorsett 7 catches for 61 yards. Dorsett had his best day as a Patriot. Improved Defense During the course of the game the Patriots put enormous pressure on quarterback Deshaun Watson. Defensively the team had three sacks. Led by Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler and newcomer Danny Shelton. In the defensive backfield area cornerback, Stephon Gilmore was credited with one interception and free agent cornerback JC Jackson had an impressive professional debut by not getting beat on any of Deshaun Watson’s throwing attempts to his side. Superior Coaching Despite the offseason loss of defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to Detroit the clubs coaching is still the best in the business. New Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores had the defense well prepared in Sunday’s win. Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia has a challenge ahead of him due to the loss of Nate Solder. Newly acquired Trent Brown from San Francisco has made an impression. With the loss of number one pick, Isaiah Wynn the Patriots will meet the challenge
Remaining Games Ahead in 2018 As far as the rest of the games for 2018 the Patriots have their work cut out for the Outside of their division The club faces Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Kansas City. Not to mention a week two rematch with Jacksonville. If the Patriots hope to reach the Super Bowl, then Tom Brady needs dependable protection all season. Also, the team needs Rob Gronkowski healthy for all sixteen games and the playoffs
With Super Bowl 52 officially it’s time to look ahead and see what may lie ahead for the New England Patriots already patriot defensive coordinator Matt Patricia has accepted a job as head coach of the Detroit Lions. In this article, we’ll examine three areas that the Patriots need to improve upon to achieve Super Bowl victory number six. ;
In The End The Patriots Defence Not So super
On offense running backs Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee saw limited participation. This left the bulk of the running to veterans Dion Lewis and, James White. Receiver Brandin Cooks had an OK season but did not earn Brady’s trust in key situations. One issue the Patriots face is the free agent status of Dion Lewis. Lewis was the Patriots best back in 2017. Lewis will take a lot of cash and a long_ term commitment to retain. Defensively
From start to finish this was the weakest area of the Patriots this season. After an opening 41-27 loss to the Chiefs, the Patriot defense was horrendous. The front seven allowed 164 yards on the ground, which is totally unacceptable. At one point in the season the, Patriots defense was ranked 29th overall in the NFL. Compared too previous Patriot defences look for Belichick needs to overhaul the defence.
Even though kicker Stephen Gostowski had a decent season he still botched a field goal and point after kick which in the end didn’t matter the Patriots may consider drafting a kicker or punter in the draft.
for the Patriots to have a very busy off-season Key free agents up for a new contract are Matthew Slater Nate Solder and Dion Lewis as the more notable players. Most important is the Patriots need to revamp their pass rush. Hopefully, linebacker Donta Hightower can return to his old form and help the defence get back to being one of the best in the NFL. . ,
Now that the Patriots have moved on after suffering a 41-33 loss to the Eagles it’s time to restructure through the draft. Currently, the Patriots have six picks whether Bill Belichick keeps his first_ round pick remains to be seen. In this post, we’ll analyze the Patriots needs.
The Nfl Draft 2018 Analyzing the Patriots Needs
Pass Rush, For those of us who witnessed the Eagles run wild against the defense .it’s safe to say the team lacks an effective pass rusher. Eagle running back LeGarrette Blount averaged 3.1 yards per carry This is truly an embarrassing statistic whether it’s the Super Bowl or a regular season game.Some quality defensive tackles that may be available at 31 are Michigan’s, Maurice Hurst. Hurst had 56 tackles last year 12 which went for a loss An interesting prospect is RJ McIntosh of Miami Fla also could be available.He had 56 tackles to his credit 12 which were for a loss. Mc Intosh was one of the best players in the country last year. Another name to keep an eye on is USC’s Rasheem Green. Green had 46 tackles last year and had an impressive 10 sacks. Pass Coverage; Not only did the Eagles run all over the Patriots Foles had one of his best days as a pro by throwing for 300 yards. Even though cornerback Malcolm Butler was benched by Belichick moments before the game New England’s secondary was lost. This year’s secondary class is deep with quality cornerbacks and safety’s. Two names to keep an eye on are Pittsburgh’s Jordan Whitehead and Stanford’ s Justin Reid. Reid was one of the best safety’s in the country last year has he had 99 tackles and six interceptions. Whitehead is one of the most physical defenders in the country who can also play receiver. Ronnie Harrison of Alabama could be a mid _round pick. Harrison had 70 tackles last year plus 2 sacks.
The Patriots suffered a huge loss in free agency with the loss of tackle Nate Solder signing with the Giants. With two second round picks look for the team to draft a tackle and a blocking tight end. Brian Oniel of Pittsburgh is one of the best linemen in the draft who can also play tight end. Wisconsin’s Troy Fumagalli is one of the best blocking tight ends who could be available. As we have seen many times in the Belichick era, he has a history of trading his first pick for mid _round picks. This year may be no exception since the Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo in October.
Now that the 2017 NFL season has come to a close Patriot head coach Bill Belichick continues to mastermind his roster. The two latest additions to the Patriots are ex_ Browns receiver Kenny Britt, and three__ time Super Bowler James Harrison. Gritty Veterans The additions of Britt and Harrison should be a big plus in the playoffs. This year’s defense has been questionable, compared to previous Patriots defenses. Harrison brings 788 career tackles along with 500 career sacks. Britt,on the other hand is a depth move that will give Brady an extra target in the playoffs. Injury wise, the Patriots have had their share. Especially since Julian Edelman had a season_ ending knee injury. If the Patriots are going to outscore their opponents they need a healthy group of receivers for Brady to throw to. Number One Offense Overall the Patriots rank number one in the NFL on offense. They continue to put up more points than their opponents. Opposing teams never know what Brady or his offense is going to throw at them. The off_ season acquisition of Brandon Cooks has proven to be a steal. Brady has two legitimate deep men in Brandon Cooks and Chris Hogan. Britt a nine_ year veteran from Rutgers should provide extra insurance for Brady. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, has made another Pro Bowl by making sensational catches all year. Young Defense With the Patriots achieving home field advantage for the 2017 playoffs it was not an easy task. The first three weeks of the season the Patriots were ranked near the Bottom of the NFL. As the season progressed cornerback Stephan Gilmore and Malcolm Butler to their capabilities. The front seven of Malcolm Brown, Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler got better week after week. Veteran Alan Branch was benched but has played well lately. The defensive backfield of Devon McCourty, Duron Harmon, Jordan Richards, and Patrick Chung have tightened up. If the Patriots want to get to Super Bowl number52 the backfield cannot give up big plays nor draw top many holding penalties. With three games left the Patriots have to play each snap like it’s their last play of the year. Talent wise the Patriots have enough but need the defense to play with fire in their belly. Offensively the Pats have a balanced attack. The additions of Britt and Harrison can only help.
Any good quarterback who plays football college or pro wishes for two things one a successful team and two good protection. So far after seven games, Brady has thrown for over two thousand yards and thrown fifteen touchdown passes. Forty_ five may not happen Overall not a bad season considering he’s been sacked for a total of eighteen times. Last season, for example, Brady was sacked fifteen times in twelve games. If you think about deflate_ gate was the best thing to happen to him. He had four games to rest his shoulder which enabled him to stay healthy and advance to the super bowl. This season,_ however, Brady’s protection has been horrible at best. Offensive tackle Nate Solder a ten- year member of the team has been called for having several penalties which put added pressure on Brady. The Patriots are already thin on offense with a season_ ending to slot receiver Julian Edelman. Edelman was Brady’s most trusted receiver before he got hurt. Brady is known for his quick release, but with so many penalties Brady may be in for a long season. On the defensive side, the Patriots have been improving each week. On a sad note the Patriots did learn that defensive captain Donta Hightower is out for the season . This certainly doesn’t help New England who had difficulty stopping the run even when Hightower was healthy. Injuries are part of the game, but with bad protection and Hightowers injury Brady’s health could be in danger. As the season approaches the halfway point look for New England to be active at the trade deadline. With eight games left and three out of the four games on the road the Patriots need to focus on two things one good protection and two stopping the run. Middle linebackers Kyle Van Noy and David Harris have been playing better. If the Patriots want to go deep in the playoffs then they will have to play sixty minutes of smart football. The 4-3 Bills have been the surprise of the division. If Brady continues to play under heavy pressure then his plans to play until he’s forty five may be in jeopardy.
After three weeks of the 2017 football season, the New England Patriots have several red flags that seriously need improvement. Coming off their fifth Super Bowl win this year is no different. New England is an organization that demands excellence. But their are some areas concerning the team. Area number one is the pass protection; Last week against the Saints Tom Brady was sacked three times one sack resulted in a fumble ran back for a touchdown. The Patriots have all their lineman returning from a year ago. Since the season opener against Kansas City, Brady has been under constant pressure. Veteran tackle Nate Solder has been a huge disappointment, so far getting beat on mostly every snap this season. I f the protection doesn’t get better his days as a Patriot may come to an end. Special teams has been another area of concern, for New England. Long time kicker Stephen Gostowski has lost the confidence of the fans,after last years poor playoff performance. Punter Ryan Allen has been sub parr so far this season. After three games this season Allen has been averaging only 35/40 yards per punt. Defense has been the biggest disappointment, this season. Normally the Patriots rank close to the top,but this year the team ranks towards the bottom. Safety Devin McCourty leads the team with 23 solo tackles. In the off season the Patriots went out and signed Buffalo free agent corner Stephon Gilmore. After three games Gilmore has look lost and confused, but does have one interception. Controversial corner back Malcom Butler has been also off missing several assignments. If the defense doesn’t play better, head coach Bill Belicheck may have no choice but to trade some veterans for help up front. Veterans such as Alan Branch and Malcom Butler need to step up if they want to keep their jobs. For a team coming off their fifth Super Bowl win the Patriots realize that their are several areas of concern. Bill Belichick will not stand for complacency; With the NFL trade deadline a couple of weeks away Belichick won’t hesitate, to make deals in order to improve the Patriots.