By Thomas Zinzarella ’21
After the New England Patriots trounced the Miami Dolphins 38-7 this past weekend, many Pats fans have renewed faith again in their Super Bowl chances. They may be back at a five hundred record, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
The Patriots are at a 2-2 record in a division which they have dominated for all of Tom Brady’s tenure at quarterback. Yes, the Patriots can make the playoffs, but this year’s roster is not as talented of a team on either side of the ball as previous years. It’s going to be a tough road to make it to the Super Bowl a third year in a row.
Before this weekend’s blowout win, the Patriots avoided their first 1-3 record for the first time since 2001, which was the first season Brady was the starter. This Miami Dolphins team that the Patriots beat is a very talented one; however, it is expected for the Patriots to knock the Dolphins around. Before Sunday’s win, the Patriots were 83-20 against AFC opponents since 2009. New England has a near perfect 9-1 record against the Miami Dolphins in Foxborough while the Dolphins lone win in Foxborough came in 2008 when Brady barely played. If the Dolphins continue to play well, make sure to keep an eye on the matchup on Dec. 9 when the Pats head down to Miami.
The Patriots need to start cleaning up the defensive side of the ball. Coming into this week, the Patriots defense was ranked 12th in the League. The defense can fix itself as time goes on, but this has been an Achilles heel for the Patriots in past years. To many fans, the defense has looked soft and lazy. All fans have to do is look at the tape: from poor tackling technique, misreading plays, and so on. Against the Jaguars, the Patriots allowed 480 offensive yards and went 4 of 12 on third down. If New England wants to make another deep run in the playoffs, they are going to have to fix things quickly.
Through the first three weeks, the Patriots seemed to not have enough talent. The acquisition of Josh Gordon should help a lot in a receiving core that has been ‘sub-par’ to this point. As seen in a loss against Detroit, every time the Pats needed a big 3rd down play, they kept turning to their basketball player-sized tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was being double teamed. The wide receiver depth chart is not very appealing with Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Phillip Dorsett. The Patriots rank 23rd in net yards per game on offense and with Gronk’s new ankle injury it can only make things worse.