It felt like a lackluster Patriots off week, didn’t it? The Pats had an okay with last Thursday night, but it was so middle of the road that it sparked neither the “Pats are dead” nor the “Pats are Super Bowl favorites” crowds.
Sure there were plenty of complaints like there usually are. I think those were best summed up when I was listening to Dale and Holley for a minute and they were complaining about the offensive line. Then there was a pause and Holley mentioned that Pro Football Focus has the o-line ranked 11th in the league. Silence. What were we just talking about? They digressed. Yeah, it was one of those kinds of weeks, where everyone goes to default complaints but there just wasn’t the same kind of fire that existed after the Panthers’ loss.
The other big headline? That Tom Brady has a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder. By this time we just brush off Brady injuries like they’re no big deal. Brady brushed it off. We brush it off. Do we take his toughness and durability for granted? Of course! But tying any injury, no matter how small, to the offensive line are just the dots that must be connected when you have 10 days off and hours upon hours of sports talk radio time to fill.
How do we feel about the Patriots right now? If we’re being honest with ourselves it does feel like it’s off to another injury apocalypse year like 2013 started out and 2015 became. But it’s still early so no one should be abandoning ship just yet, but keeping the remaining roster healthy, especially 12, 87, 80 and 54 is critical to any Super Bowl aspirations.
In some ways it feels like the Pats are under the radar. I like how Kurt Warner put it, the Pats aren’t the favorites in the AFC, they’re the favorites to upset the favorites. That sounds about right. Still, the real football season is just starting and that’s always when the Patriots start to roll.
This week has been a soft reset. The defense didn’t look lost against the Bucs and the offense showed more explosiveness. Both ran out of gas at the end to make the game interesting, but it’s hard to kill them for that on a Thursday night on the road.
So now we get back to business against a Jets team that could field 22 high school JV players and still play the best Patriots team close in mid-October in the Meadowlands. For whatever reason, that’s just always how it seems to go unless it’s the rare exception like the Buttfumble game.
What do the Pats have to do to get their first divisional win and get the Patriots hype train back on track? Here’s the gameplan.