The New England Patriots are entering their bye week with a record of 7-3 and are currently owners of the third seed in the AFC playoff picture. Normally in the NFL, that record through ten weeks would be considered solid.
Not by Patriot standards.
Many fans and media members alike have been calling for the panic button, feeling a bit uneasy about how New England has looked over the course of the past few weeks. Let’s face it…some of these games haven’t been the Patriots best football. However, it has gotten the job done.
Before the 34-10 thumping at the hands of the Titans in Music City, New England had rattled off six wins in a row. They scored the most points in the NFL through that span and had the largest margin of point differential as well. People tend to forget that part of the equation.
Despite the positive stretch, there’s still some level of concern surrounding Tom Brady’s recent showing. Brady completed 21 of his 41 pass attempts for 254 yards and no touchdowns this past Sunday. That was the fifth time in 70 career games in which Brady has thrown over 40 passes without a touchdown.
However, I’m here to tell you that there’s no need for concern – yet.
Brady will be fine. The offense will fix itself just as it always has. Brady is still on track to finish with over 4,300 yards and 27 touchdowns, which are both just short of what he posted last season (4,577yds/32TD).
To steal a line out of Aaron Rodgers’ book…
Being 7-3 at the bye is nothing over which one should lose sleep. However, if they lose again, problems may arise. New England hits a dry spell every season, and this year it just happens to be a bit later than normal.
One thing to keep an eye on moving forward is the secondary. For all of his stellar play up until this point, Stephon Gilmore was torched by Titans receiver Corey Davis all afternoon. Davis finished with 7 catches on 10 targets for 125 yards and a touchdown. Gilmore was flagged for two DPI’s in the game, one of them coming on a beautiful rainbow throw from Mariota right into the waiting arms of Davis in the endzone.
The Patriots have six games remaining after the bye week. Here are their opponents and where each team ranks in total offense.
Week 12: @NYJ (28th)
Week 13: VS MIN (14th)
Week 14: @ MIA (22nd)
Week 15: @ PIT (4th)
Week 16: VS BUF (31st)
Week 17: VS NYJ (28th)
In other words, New England should be fine; no need to panic. It was just a bad week. It happens. However, should New England loses another game they should win (and by a large margin,) then the time for panic may have arrived.
Until then, these are the New England Patriots. In case you haven’t been watching for the past 18 years, they’ve always bounced back after a loss in authoritative fashion.
Everyone just needs to ‘Do Their Job’, and everything will go back to normal in due time. Head coach Bill Belichick always preaches that they must play their best football after Thanksgiving.
Something tells me that the Pats will be raring to go in the Meadowlands come November 25th.
-Brendan Howe is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @Brendan__Howe