With Six Games Left, Patriots Defense Needs Boost
by Jack Urquhart on Friday, November 22nd, 2013
If we’ve learned anything about the New England Patriots this year, it is that the team does not revolve around the players on the roster, but around the system that Bill Belichick runs year in and year out. With a bye in week 10 and a hard fought loss against the Carolina Panthers on Monday, Tom Brady and the Pats stand atop the American Football Conference (AFC) Eastern Division with a 7-3 record.
Thus far, the Patriots have not played any notably good teams besides the New Orleans Saints, which the Pats won a shootout by a score of 30-27. This win over Drew Brees and company was the high point of the Pats season thus far. The team successfully bounced back from a loss to Cincinnati to contain the Saints’ offense and preventing All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham from recording any receptions. Unfortunately, the Pats took a tough loss to the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in overtime when Patriots lineman Nick Jones was called for a controversial unsportsmanlike penalty that eventually led a game-winning field goal off the foot of the Jets’ Nick Folk. Regardless, the Patriots should have never been close to the lowly Jets (5-5), whom they beat in September 13-10. They suffered another tough loss to the Carolina Panthers on Monday, which was capped off by a pass interference botch by the referees. Cam Newton led the 7-3 Panthers on numerous drives of over six minutes that wore down the depleted New England defense by the fourth quarter. With a 3rd down efficiency of 72%, the Panthers capitalized on the second chances that New England gave them.
Going forward, the Pats’ offense appears to be in good shape. Tom Brady and his new wide receiver core of Kembrall Tompkins, Aaron Dobson, and Danny Amendola seem to have found a rhythm after they put up 55 points on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9, the most points ever scored on the Steelers in their franchise’s history. All doubts about New England’s offense before Week 9 were put to rest with that performance. Even in their loss to Carolina, Brady and the offense performed with remarkable efficiency and fluency.
What all Patriots fans want to know is how their banged up defense will do without All-Pros Vince Wilfork and Jarod Mayo. A game that every NFL fan has circled on their calendar is November 24th, when Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will come to Foxboro to try and expose this injured Patriots’ defense. With such high pressure in New England, the Patriots have a “Super Bowl or bust” mentality every season. While it hasn’t been pretty, Pats Nation seems confident that Belichick, Brady, and the rest of the Patriots will find a way to get it done like they always have. With only seven games until playoffs, the Patriots need to find a way to not only keep a good record, but also to stay a threat and hopefully bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Beantown.
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