The New England Patriots are still favorites to win the Super Bowl. However, the Super Bowl is still a ways off and New England cannot afford to take their eyes off the more immediate challenges.
The team’s performance at Gillette Stadium left a lot to be desired. And it will be interesting to look at the patriots odds affect for next game. In the NFL, every game matters, and it wouldn’t be surprising if people started to eye New England’s next game with some skepticism following their match against Miami.
New England looked good on the road. Their ten-day trip out west ended with two stellar victories. And the team knew they wouldn’t be home for long before quickly packing up for a three-week road trip.
But one assumes they weren’t particularly worried about their home game or their future opponents. After all, in the next couple of weeks, the NFL schedule is going to pit the Patriots against a number of AFC East opponents that are not playing great football. That, of course, excludes Pittsburgh.
The point is this: New England was probably looking forward to dominating their home game before moving on to the rest of their schedule. There was worry that New England might suffer a post-thanksgiving slumber during their only home game of November.
But the Patriots seemed to immediately reject this idea by delivering a 14-0 lead in the first quarter of the Miami game. It looked like New England would completely demolish Miami. But then the team began to make mistakes.
And those mistakes cost New England points. Miami wasn’t much of a contender against the Patriots and they probably wouldn’t have scored so many goals if New England had played a tighter game.
Just look at the way Safety Reshad Jones rumbled into the end zone after recovering a poor shotgun snap by Ted Karras. Then there’s Malcolm Butler who paved the way for Cody Parkey’s field goal.
If it wasn’t for Stephon Gilmore picking off Matt Moore in the end zone, Miami might have scored three points before halftime. Stephon looked like he could read Miami’s moves perfectly.
It helped that New England’s foe began to implode in the second half. They suffered an injury, experienced fumbles and even got a player ejected for throwing a punch at another athlete.
It was a mess. And New England had the will to pounce on that show of weakness by delivering a fourth TD. Miami’s efforts in the fourth quarter were valiant. They could see that New England was still not operating at peak efficiency, so they tried to mount a comeback.
But by the fourth quarter, their defeat was sealed. New England has a lot to think about, though. Yes, they won. But the team’s performance on the road was practically flawless and they were unable to replicate that same level of gameplay at home
The offensive line did everything else well besides pass protecting effectively. They let Brady take way too many hits. This isn’t even taking into account the injuries and substitutes that took place.
The Patriots are still a really powerful team. But the Miami game showed just how precarious their position is. If they keep losing players to injuries, they just might start falling apart. They won this time but who knows what will happen in the future.
New England Patriots Injuries
|Shoulder||Martellus Bennett to be placed on season-ending injured reserve|
|Knee||Ebner will have an MRI on Monday to confirm|
|Shoulder||A right shoulder injury has him sidelined with no return date.|
|Groin||Could be sidelined for a few more weeks.|
|Hamstring||Slater is questionable with no return date.|