How Much Longer Can the Success Last?
Since 2000, the New England Patriots have won the AFC East division title 15 times. The Patriots have also won the 5 Super Bowls since 2001. The Patriots will always be in contention as long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are there. However, all good things must come to an end.
Sure, winning your division almost every year is a great accomplishment. An AFC East title should be a given for the Patriots. They have possibly the greatest coach and quarterback of all time. There’s no need to mention that they play in one of the weakest divisions the league has seen this past decade. AFC East teams not named the New England Patriots have only made the playoffs three times since 2010.
According to Vegas, the New England Patriots will not have a problem continuing this trend. In fact, Vegas has the patriots repeating as AFC champions. Here is why the Pats may be a bit overrated:
Can Belichick Overcome Another Mediocre Defense?
Coming into the 2018 season, the Patriots are returning most of the same players that failed to show up on the biggest stage in February. The New England Patriots fell to the Philadelphia Eagles despite going up against their backup quarterback in Nick Foles and Tom Brady having possibly the best game statistically we have ever seen in a Super Bowl. Lack of pass rush, poor tackling, beef between the head coach and the team’s number one cover corner are some of the few reasons the Pats gave up 41 points to Foles and the Eagles.
The most notable reason is lack of talent on defense. The Patriots only have five 1st round picks starting defensively. Devin McCourty may be the only one providing consistency due to injuries with Hightower, inconsistent play between Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Brown, and we have yet to see how Adrian Clayborne can contribute as a pass rusher.
The patriots have a huge problem at edge rusher, corner, and linebacker. If previous young studs were retained, New England may not have an issue defensively. Chandler Jones, Jamie Collins, and Malcolm Butler have each felt Belichick’s wrath when it comes to the “do your job”, “team first”, and “patriot way” mentality. Their services can be used in order for the Patriots to achieve their ultimate goal. Eric Rowe and Elandon Roberts defending opposing teams play makers is not a good look.
Can Brady Get Some Help?
Offensively, the Patriots are thin at receiver. With Edelman suspended for the first four games of the season, the aging Tom Brady has less help than he’s had in recent memory. Often injured, Chris Hogan may be Brady’s only reliable target at receiver. The depth on the offensive line is also questionable. The Patriots love to run power packages by bringing in extra lineman to boost the running game. That may not be possible this year with the lack of depth. It doesn’t help that first round pick Isiah Wynn will be out for some time.
If the Patriots find a way to make it out the AFC, they may find themselves in the same situation they found themselves in February. NFC teams may have the advantage with explosive offenses and great pass rushers on defense. That will be problematic for the Patriots.
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