The Patriots may have a 10-3 record on the season and are currently the number two seed in the AFC playoff picture, but anybody who has watched the team play over the past few weeks has seen that their is an obvious problem: The Patriots offense has not been pulling their weight at all. The section half of the season, something has been off with the Patriots on the offensive side of the ball and nobody can seem to figure out why. Whether it’s the incredibly inconsistent run game that can never seem to get going or it’s Brady appearing to not be on the same page as his receivers half the time it feels like, nobody can rally put their finger on why the offense just can’t seem to get back to the excellent form they were in at the start of the year.
Since ousting the Browns in week eight, the Patriots have scored 20, 17, 13, 22, and 16 points across 5 games. Not the type of scoring production a Super Bowl contender should have. Across those five games, Tom Brady has only passed for 1,186 yards and six touchdowns. Not exactly the stats a six time Super Bowl champion should be putting up. I don’t believe this is all on Brady however. How many times this year have we seen Brady stand in the pocket for over five seconds and then take a sack because nobody is open? How many times this year have we seen Brady chuck a pass into no man’s land because the receiver runs the wrong route? These are questions that need answers and it starts with the receivers. The only receiver it appears Brady trusts is Julien Edelman. Patriots tight ends have contributed next to nothing this season. Half the time Brady throws in the direction of rookies Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry the pass is ten feet out of bounds in the wrong direction because the receivers aren’t on the same page as Brady. The run game the Pats leaned on heavily at the end of last year has not been even close to as productive this season and it’s costing the Patriots big time. As a team over the past five games, the Patriots have ran the ball for 74, 74, 101, 145, 94 yards. Pretty poor production for a team that has always been able to get lots of production from its rotation of running backs. To make matters with the run game worse, last year’s first round pick Sonny Michel is in the midst of an abysmal season in which he’s only averaged 3.5 yards per carry and has never rushed for 100 yards in a game this season after doing so four times last season. Poor production for someone who was drafted to help ease Brady’s workload during his twilight years.
However, I still think the Patriots can pull things together and win the Super Bowl yet again. The media had these same doubts about the Patriots offense last season when Brady wasn’t putting up crazy numbers and the Pats weren’t completely demolishing teams heading into the playoffs. Then we all saw what happened once the playoffs came around. The Patriots hung 40+ points on the Chargers in the divisional round and then scored 37 points in a rout of the Chiefs to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl. I gave up doubting the Patriots many moons ago and I think if anytime can figure out their offensive woes by the playoffs it’ll be the Patriots. (All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference. )