There are many reasons to believe in the New England Patriots. After a dominant win over the Cleveland Browns, the Patriots are on the rise. The path to the playoffs is becoming a road. They’re solid in all phases of the game, and they’re improving every week. It’s a classic Bill Belichick script.
This win was crucial, and the Patriots have declared themselves playoff contenders. They are now the 6th seed in the AFC, in the 2nd Wild Card spot, and they win the tie-breaker over the Los Angeles Chargers and the Browns. Next up on the schedule is the struggling Atlanta Falcons, who are 4-5 and open the week as 5.5 point underdogs. The Patriots will need to take care of business and win this game because the next two games will be challenging and pivotal. They will face the #1 seed, Tennessee Titans, and then the #2 seeded Buffalo Bills in Buffalo on Monday Night Football. If the Patriots can win just 2 of the 3 games, including the Bills game, the Division is in play. The Bills recently had a head-scratching loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars 6-9, so just like Kevin Garnett once said, “anything is possible.”
Time to Believe in the 2021 New England Patriots
A Significant Development
There are many reasons to believe in this Patriots team that was firing on all cylinders against the Browns. The coach’s game plans have been brilliant, and the team has been able to control the flow of games. Belichick can make adjustments on the fly, and other teams don’t adapt. The offensive line got an enormous boost, literally, with the return of their star tackle Trent Brown. The passing game was efficient, and the run game continued to be solid. They have three running backs who can do damage. Pick your poison; Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, or Brandon Bolden. On the defensive side, Matt Judon continues to wreak havoc, and they are turning into one of the top defensive units in the NFL. Patriots safety Kyle Dugger said it well, “I would never put money against this defense,”
Perhaps no one is happier to see Brown return than quarterback Mac Jones who had his best game as a pro. He has a thirst for winning, and he’s growing into a franchise quarterback right before our eyes. It was the first three-touchdown game of his career as Jones displayed great accuracy and chemistry with wide receiver Kendrick Bourne and tight-end Hunter Henry. That chemistry may be the most significant development of all when determining how far this team can go. Jones may be the steal of the draft.
Reasons to Believe
It wasn’t all perfect in New England. There are some things they will need to clean up, and they will need Trent Brown to stay healthy. There were still too many penalties, including one for “too many men on the field” again. The usage of timeouts has been bad for two straight weeks. You usually don’t see these things from a Bill Belichick-coached team who greatly values timeouts and not making mental mistakes. However, if history is any indicator, Belichick will have these things thoroughly cleaned up by the time they face Tennessee.
How far the Patriots can go is anyone’s guess. It appears they can compete against any team in the league. They have a solid offense, a dominant defense, and a massive coaching advantage. The fans are starting to believe again as the team resembles what they’ve come to expect over the past couple of decades. After a reset season, Belichick has rebuilt a well-oiled machine, and he’s done it his way. He’s been able to blend rookies with free agents, and the players are executing. As Thanksgiving approaches, we can guess that Patriots fans will not only be thankful to have a football season in New England but reasons to believe once again.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images