Man that was tough one to lose. The New England Patriots offense found a little bit of rhythm in the second half, and they were really in a good spot prior to Cam Newton’s fumble. This game was primed to be at least heading to overtime, if not for a Patriots win. This is a 2-5 team that has come up probably 5 plays short of being 4-3 with this game and the Seattle Seahawks game.
The offense picked it up towards the end, but it unfortunately coincided with the defense falling apart. A large part of that could be attributed to Lawrence Guy missing most of the second half, as he is one of their bigger guys on the line who’s a very capable run stopper. But this is another week where the defense doesn’t seem to be playing as well as they should. Bill Belichick has been able to find pieces to patch up a front seven in prior years with established vets, but he’s being forced to try to fix it on the fly with inexperienced players who are new to the system. We knew the losses due to free agency and opt outs would hurt, and over the past two games it has become strikingly apparent.
The next couple days will provide a huge signal towards which way this team is going. The trade deadline is on Tuesday, and after this performance, it feels like it could go either way.
At 2-5 now, the Patriots playoff chances for this season are quite small. But is it worth blowing up what appears to be a solid core and start from scratch? It would be easier had the Patriots won, or lost miserably for that matter, but they lost a game that they very well could have won. They did it while being significantly handicapped in terms of skill position players offensively, and without Stephon Gilmore defensively (although the secondary did well without him.) It would be tough to sell heavily for this team because they have shown that they can win games. It’s just a matter of whether or not they show up.
As good as he is, it may be time for Stephon Gilmore to get traded. He is a highly paid player at an extremely deep position. The secondary played pretty good against a solid passing team, and even with JC Jackson, Jonathan Jones, and Jason McCourty, that’s still a really good group.
This would allow the team to pick up a player who could help a position of need. As much as people will holler for a wide receiver, today’s game showed that the biggest need is on the d line. Whether it’s a run stuffer or a pass rusher, it’s a huge weakness of this team, as it allows other teams to control what they do. They could also deal for draft picks, as Gilmore could be able to fetch a first rounder if the right buyer is found.
There’s no game being played Tuesday, but it’s a must watch situation if you are a Patriots fan.
(Originally posted on November 1, 2020)