The New England Patriots are historically one of the best franchises in the NFL, and had one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports. This is the first year since 2000 that the Patriots are without Tom Brady. The Pats had lower expectations after losing Brady, but many still thought they had a shot at a wild card spot, and maybe winning the division. The Pats are sitting at 2-4, 3rd in the AFC East, and we're going to get into everything wrong with the Patriots.
The Patriots were without a true proven starting QB on their roster after Brady left, leaving them with Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham, with 39 starts from Hoyer, most in a 2 year stint with the Browns in 2014 and 2015. The Patriots went out and signed former MVP Cam Newton, on a 1 year veterans minimum deal, and they were hoping that Newton would be able to keep the dynasty alive. Instead, he's done the opposite. Cam in 5 games, has thrown for just 969 yards, throwing 7 interceptions to just 2 passing touchdowns, and has contributed to the run game, totaling over 200 yards and 5 touchdowns, but has also fumbled twice. Newton just hasn't looked good at all, missing on a lot of rather easy throws to open receivers. He has completed 1 pass of more than 30 yards, and that was in a 49 yard completion to Julian Edelman in week 2 against the Seahawks, which is the longest play the Patriots have had all season. Newton is the teams leading rusher and leads the Patriots run game, which is top 5 in the league in terms of rushing yards per game. The Patriots rank 29th in PPG, at just 19.2. Some of Newtons turnovers aren't his fault, but nonetheless he needs to perform better, and carry the offense if the Patriots have any chance of sneaking into the playoffs.
The Patriots defense has been underwhelming and streaky at times, and are about middle of the pack when it comes to defensive stats. The Patriots however rank 27th in rush defense, and that showed against the Niners when Jeff Wilson and the rest of the Niners backfield ran all over the Pats defense, as they totaled a near 200 yards and 4 rushing TDS. The Patriots defense has put the offense in situations where they can win the game, most recently against the Broncos, as they only allowed 6 field goals to be scored on them, but the offense didn't come through. Another example of the Pats defense giving the offense chances to win the game, was against the Chiefs, when the Patriots were without Cam Newton, and Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham had to play QB, where they were a combined 20-37, and threw 3 interceptions, including a pick 6 which sealed the game.
We all knew this season was going to be weird, especially with some players opting out due to COVID-19. The Patriots lost 3 main starters, LB Dont'a Hightower, S Patrick Chung, and RT Marcus Cannon. Hightower, Cannon, and Chung have been with the Patriots their whole career and both have played big roles in the Pats success, going to 4 Superbowls, and winning 3 of them. Without them, that left the Patriots with some pretty big holes to fill. Other key players have been injured, or have gotten COVID-19, causing them to miss time. Those player include QB Cam Newton, RB Sony Michel, RB James White, G Shaq Mason, and C David Andrews. They've been without their QB, their best 2 RB'S, and 2 really good offensive linemen.
The Patriots don't have the same team last year, and are without key pieces. The defense is without their leader, Dont'a Hightower, which obviously would cause what was a top defense in the league last season, to drop and not perform as well. Obviously Cam is no Tom Brady, but I would love to see how he can do when having all of his weapons, like he did in weeks 1-3, when he played his best football. I don't think it's time to panic, as a Patriots fan I know that I'm not. In 2-3 weeks, if the team isn't .500, then it would be time to worry.