The New England Patriots have been unbelievable this season. They have the best plus/minus of any team through seven games in the last 100 seasons.
They’ve destroyed every team that has tried to play against them, and are led by a defense that is on their way to being an all time great unit. That being said, the offense has left a lot to be desired through seven games.
The offense hasn’t been bad by any stretch of the imagination, but there are a lot of aspects of the offense that aren’t as great as you would hope.
New England is scoring 27 points per game on offense (when you include the inevitable one defensive touchdown a game). They’re averaging 377 yards of offense per game, and have been doing all of this while not trying to gain yards in a majority of fourth quarters since they blow everyone out.
Those stats seem to bode well for this offense, but there’s another side to the stats that tell more of the story about the offense. For one the defense has been giving the offense unbelievable field position all season, many times creating turnovers and giving them the ball in their opponents end. While New England gets great field position, and into the red zone often their touchdowns conversion hasn’t been great only scoring 16 of 30 tries within the red area. The Patriots offense often times looks very shaky, taking advantage of their garbage opponents but not looking sharp or powerful consistently.
The receiving corp that looked as though it would be something to reckon with before the season has now developed into a bunch of no name guys, and then two 30+ year college quarterbacks (Edelman and Sanu). With the loss of Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, and Josh Gordon, the Patriots receivers are now filled with guys who have no deep threat capability and struggle to create separation regularly. This had made Brady’s life much more difficult, especially without the threat at tight end that he was fortunate to have for the last decade. It’s not a talented group, but Brady is still making it happen.
The run game hasn’t been so great either. Sony Michel, Brandon Bolden, James White, and Rex Burkhead are combining for about 93 yards a game. Which in theory sounds good, but it has only been at a 3.3 yards per rush clip, not too impressive.
Sony Michel has been a big question mark so far. His running has looked soft and doesn’t seem to make anything happen on his own. The offensive line is clearly subpar, making it difficult to run, but for a first round pick, 55 yards a game on 3.3 yards a carry is not going to cut it. The lack of run efficiency is what makes the passing game even more difficult.
New England thrives off of play action and it can’t be as effective without a strong run game.
As I’ve already stated, the Patriots offensive line has been suspect. Last season they were great, but the loss of Trent Brown to the Raiders, and David Andrews to blood clots has left two gaping holes on that line and the results have been obvious.
The ground game has suffered. The line struggles to open any holes and often gets eaten up by respectable defensive lines. The pass game has become even more short quick throws than usual due to their inability to hold up for more than three seconds. This leaves Brady running for his life way too often, and having to rush passes to receivers that aren’t exactly studs.
All in all this, offense leaves much to be desired, but they’re still getting the job done. I expect Brady to gain trust in these receivers as the season progresses, and to start looking more sharp. Especially in the red zone.
Sony Michel and the run game will begin to open up as line coach Dante Scarnechia gets more time and reps with this beat up line. Lastly the defense will more likely than not keep creating turnovers at a high clip which will make the offenses job easier.
The Patriots will be fine.
They’ve scored the most and they’ve allowed the least, they’re as impressive as a team can be. That’s why these minor blemishes are so obvious.
Everything will come together as it always seems to do, 19-0 isn’t off the table and it’s more plausible than ever before.
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