Fourth & Forever: The patriots are in Big Trouble
The Patriots have started the 2013 season going 2-0. It sounds like a usual Patriots team. Always having one of the best records in the NFL, earning a bye week in the playoffs. I'll tell you why this won't happen this year. We all know what quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick can do. Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in the game. A great pocket-passer, who has great range and accuracy on his passes. Belichick is considered one of the best coaches in history. He is all business on and off the field. Always trying to find ways to make the team better, even if that means bringing out the camera and filming other teams practices. Together Brady and Belichick are a winning offensive duo. This season is starting out good, but in the end it will be a tough pill to swallow. After watching the first two games, I see that the Patriots are not the Super Bowl contenders they always seemed to be.
In the first two games, Brady has threw the ball 91 times and has only connected on 48 passes. That's 52 percent, which sounds like the low tier quarterbacks range . Brady is never found in that tier. At this rate Brady is going to be on pace to break Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's record of last years 727 passing attempts. By the way the Lions finished 4-12 last season. Brady is 36 years old. He is going to need to save his arm for the prolonged season, in hopes of going to the playoffs and making a long run. Brady is missing all of his weapons from last season. Former receiver Wes Welker, decided to leave the Patriots in the off-season to join the high-flying Broncos team. Ron Gronkowsi had surgery on his fore-arm four times, less than a year. He then had back surgery in the off-season, although signs point to him coming back as early as week three. The other tight-end Aaron Hernandez is in jail, facing murder chargers. So right now, Brady has a hand full of low cards to play.
The injury bug has also bitten the Patriots early on. Talented back-up running back Shane Vereen broke his wrist in the season opener against the Buffalo Bills. He was placed on IR with designation to return. He won't be eligible to return until after the Patriots 10th week-bye. The Pats maybe upset, but I'm pissed off, since I had him on my fantasy team. A waste of a draft pick! Receiver Danny Amendola, was brought in to replace Wes Welker. He is not a good replacement because he is always hurt. In the pre-season he injured his groin and he re-aggravated it in the first game against the Bills. He is now out two to six weeks. So now the Patriots are forced to rely on rookies to pick up the scoring slack. Its not as easy as it sounds, as some of the rookies are raw. Talented, but needs time to develop. Players such as Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson. Although Dobson caught a 39 yard touchdown pass from Brady on Thursday, I wouldn't put him in my starting lineup in my fantasy league, because he wouldn't be consistent. Fifth- year receiver Julian Edelman had a descent game against the Jets, catching 13 passes for 78 yards, but then he lost a fumble. I can just imagine Brady pulling his own hair out.
The Patriots are in un-familiarized territory. The Patriots are use to blowing teams out, instead of squeaking by them. The Pats beat the Bills in week one 23-21, after trailing heading into the fourth quarter. Starting week two off, the Pats beat the Jets 13-10 on Thursday. Brady threw for only 185 yards and one touchdown. I know it was raining, but still its the Jets at home in a primetime game. The great news is the Pats are 2-0. The bad news is the Pats are 2-0 against rookie quarterbacks. This puts a lot of pressure on the defense, especially if the offense isn't going to be taking a few steps back. When the Pats get into the meat of their schedule, throwing for 185 yards is not going to cut it. In week three, the Pats play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons in week four. The Bucs have a good defense and the Falcons have a great offense. I can't imagine seeing Brady winning in a shootout against the Falcons, especially with the pieces he has around him. This is going to be a long year for the Patriots and at this point, I can see every game coming down to the wire. I don't see any blow-outs in the Pats future this season.
I believe the Buffalo Bills have a chance to win the AFC East. I don't want to bet against Brady, but looking at there schedule against the Falcons, Bengals, Texans and Saints. Its going to be tough. The Bills play some of the same teams, but I think their more well rounded. I like they're a running team with C.J. Spiller leading the pack, plus they actually have a good quarterback in E.J. Manuel. A rookie quarterback who takes care of the ball. I do believe Belichick will find a way to make the playoffs, but I not so sure on winning the division. However, I can see the Patriots trading a draft pick away to bring talent in. Brady doesn't have years to throw away. They are a team who needs to win now. They need to be a more balanced team. Throwing the ball 91 times in two games, isn't the sign of a balanced team. Its a sign of a team, who needs help moving the ball. The once Super-Bowl winning team, now finds themselves struggling to put points up on the board.