Are the Pats a Mirage?
"Are the Pats a Mirage?"
You look at their 8-0 record and their +189 point differential and say, “Wow, this could be one of the greatest teams of all-time.” The defense is racking up points every game, and Tom Brady and the O are doing enough to make every game be over by half time. They have the greatest coach of all-time and the greatest QB of all time, and now with the best D in the league, you might as well just hand them the trophy.
Well first off, the league generates $8 billion in revenue every year, so it would make no sense to stop the year halfway through, strictly on a business basis. Secondly, the Pats have played almost no one so far this season: The teams they have played during their 8-0 run are a combined 13-36. The best team they’ve played all year is the Buffalo Bills, and the Eagles just walloped them at home. Because of the anemic opposition that the Pats have been facing, the rather large holes in their offense have not been exposed.
The offensive line is a MASH unit. David Andrews, the wildly underrated center and anchor of the line, is out for the year with blood clots. Left tackle Isaiah Wynn has been on IR since game 2, after missing all of last season. Right tackle Marcus Cannon has been in and out all year, along with his running mate Shaq Mason at right guard, who has also missed multiple games. On top of all that, they lost probably the greatest blocking tight end of all-time, Rob Gronkowski, to retirement at the end of last season. Because of all these problems, the running game is only averaging 3.2 yards per carry, and Tom’s QBR rating is at 58.3, by far the lowest of his career.
On top of that, the wide receiver position is super-model thin with two undrafted rookie free-agents getting regular reps and the backbone of the corps, Julian Edelman, battling a laundry list of injuries. The tight end position isn’t much better. The #1 at that position, Ben Watson, is yo-yo-ing between being cut and leading the line. There are real problems for the P men bubbling under the surface.
The D has been great, there is no debating it. But they have played against a truly awful collection of offenses in the first half of the season. The four worst offenses in the league are the Jets, the Dolphins, the Redskins, and the Steelers, and the Pats have played all four of them. The Bills are the highest-rated O they’ve faced, and they rank 18th. The numbers so far have been historical for the New England D. Let’s see what they are after they face Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and DeShaun Watson instead of Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, and Colt McCoy.
So, to the question of “Are the Pats are a mirage,” the answer is “Yes.” The teams they have been pummeling into the ground have made them look even more invincible than they normally seem. Now, is the reality of who they are good enough for Bill and Tom to be hoisting Super Bowl trophy number 7? The answer to that is also most likely “Yes.”