When the New England Patriots lose a game, like they did week 2 in Jacksonville, they usually win their next two to three games. That did not happen this past week, as they took a very bad loss to the Detroit Lions. The last time the Patriots lost more than 2 games in a row was 2002 when they finished 9-7, here are three stats you need to know for Sunday’s AFC East matchup against Miami.
We all know how well the Patriots do at home, and especially against the AFC at home, so here are some more specific things to look for this week:
Tom Brady, the man known to be better under pressure than in normal situations (it’s why we love him), is only leading his team to convert 29% of all 3rd downs which is only better than the Bills, Cowboys, and Cardinals. Brady has completed 59% of third-down passes in his career, but this is not all on Brady. The team had a lot of trouble in third and short situations on Sunday, NBC Sports Boston’s Michael Holley even went to call the offensive line “overwhelmed at the line of scrimmage” on 3rd downs, due to all of their failed running plays.
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The new Patriots pass rusher Adrian Clayborn, who everyone thought could be the answer to at least most of the pass rushing problems, has recorded just 1 tackle so far this year. Clayborn signed a $4M signing bonus over the offseason and has a base salary of $1.5M this season. With Chung and Flowers hurt, Clayborn needs to be a veteran that steps up and makes some adjustments. Although this team needs more than just adjustments to succeed.
3. Flowers vs No Flowers
When Trey Flowers is on the field, the defense allows 3.29 yards-per-carry and 4.94yd per pass, but when he is injured, they allow 4.78 yards-per-carry and 6.37 yards-per-pass, as reported in a tweet from NESN’s Doug Kyed. Now, Flowers will probably be the first to tell you that the numbers with him on the field need to be better, but when he is not on the field, the “next man up” system New England has been so successful at is simply not working.
The last two weeks have shown that the Pats’ week 1 win over Houston was not as impressive as it seemed because of both team’s lack of success, but Bill Belichick is leading this team with Tom Brady under center, so there is faith, and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
-Johnny Maffei is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @johnnyBSBL4