Patriots’ Playoff Prospects Dwindling
The New England Patriots dream of making the NFL playoffs is quickly fading away. The incredibly competitive AFC East division has been evolving the entire season, and the division is seemingly up for grabs every week.
However, one team has consistently been at the bottom of the pack each week – the New England Patriots. Consistently third and last in the AFC East, the Pats have trailed their divisional opponents – the New York Jets, the Miami Dolphins, and the Buffalo Bills. Within their division, they hold a 2-2 record, both wins coming against the Jets, who they have dominated over for years.
The Patriots are the definition of a middling team – they are average at best, and nothing special. Whether this be due to the subpar play calling, the under-performing talent on both sides of the ball, or the lack of cohesion between players and coaches, the Patriots are swiftly falling out of playoff contention.
QB Mac Jones, who led the Patriots to the playoffs last season, has looked lost for the vast majority of the season. After an underwhelming start to the season, the QB sustained an ankle sprain early on in Week 3. He sat out for a few weeks, leading to the QB controversy with third string rookie Bailey Zappe.
Only in one game this season has Jones resembled anything close to his rookie-self. In New England’s Thanksgiving match-up against the Minnesota Vikings, Jones threw for a season-high 382 yards, which accompanied his most interceptions in one game this season with two, and was sacked three times.
The Patriots are running out of time to make a push for the playoffs. Of course, this begs the question: what will they do if they do make the playoffs? They have demonstrated week in and week out that they cannot compete with the front-runners in the AFC, teams like the Bills, the Ravens, and the Dolphins. Should the Patriots manage to squeeze into the top seven in their conference, they will still likely have an extraordinarily difficult time keeping pace with their competition.