Pats Lackluster Offense Heads to Buffalo

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The New England Patriots lack skill players on offense who can make plays and move the football.  This past Sunday, the Patriots were smoked by the 49ers in Foxboro 33-6. 


Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com


The Patriots lack significant talent at the wide receiver position, and I think Bill Belichick forgot that the tight end is a position after Rob Gronkowski left.  The team has depth at running back but lack a true talented runner. 


They have also gotten inconsistent play from the quarterback position since Cam Newton missed a game due to COVID, and he hasn’t seemed himself since he’s been back.  Newton's lackluster play has people questioning whether he will be benched in favor of Jarrett Stidham moving forward.  In the post game comments following the blowout loss to the 49ers on Sunday, Belichick did say that Newton will remain the starter for the Patriots. 


Julian Edelman has been the Patriots go-to receiver during the Tom Brady tenure, and he looks like a shell of himself.  In the last three games, the 34-year-old has seven receptions for 66 yards and he hasn’t seen an end zone since last season.  It’s possible he could be dealing with an injury, or he’s just disinterested now that Brady has left for Tampa Bay. 


If you have Edelman in Fantasy Football, it’s time to cut ties,  Name recognition alone is not worth stashing him on your bench.  If you're starting Edelman it probably means your team sucks. 


N’Keal Harry was expected to take a major step forward in 2020, instead he looks like a first-round bust.  He’s made some catches for Newton, in fact he has 18 grabs for 166 yards and one touchdown.  Harry left Sunday's game against the 49ers with a concussion. 


The running backs offer depth.  Each week Belichick and Josh McDaniels are running these guys against opposing defenses.  Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris and James White are great role players and pieces on offense, but not one of these players has taken over the game.  When the team is inept at passing the ball you rely heavily on the running game, which the Patriots are doing. 


One of the biggest frustrations on offense has been the lack of production from the tight ends.  Statistically on paper it tells us that story, this past Sunday both Ryan Izzo and rookie Dalton Keene had one catch each for eight yards.  Belichick will tell you that they are doing their jobs on the field.  I get that blocking is a huge aspect in a Belichick offense, but give Newton a tight end over the middle he can get the ball to every once and while. 


On Monday Night Football, the Chicago Bears rookie tight end Cole Kmet looked good for Nick Foles hauling in a few catches for 45-yards.  It’s time to start getting production from the tight end because right now that position is non-existent.  Opposing teams know that you’re going to try and play old school football and run the ball because Newton is struggling making plays in the passing game. 


The Patriots have lost three straight and will be on the road headed north to play the Bills this Sunday.  To say that this game is a must win would be a complete understatement.  Newton and this offense needs to find their groove because this Bills team is out for blood and ready to issue the knockout blow to the Patriots.  The Bills haven't looked good the last few weeks but got back on track with a win against the winless Jets this past Sunday. 


This Sunday, the Patriots running game should be the main focus of the offense because the Bills will likely shutdown the Pats receivers.  New England averages only 197.2 yards per game through the air, that ranks 28th in the league.  The Patriots are turning the ball over with more regularity and Newton has thrown five interceptions in the last two weeks.  The Bills secondary has been beat up this season, but with the Patriots lack of an offensive vertical threat, the Bills will hold the edge against the Patriots. 


If the Patriots can keep penalties to a minimum, they rank 15th in the league right now and do the little things from a special teams perspective the Patriots could keep this game close.  This will be a pivotal matchup, and if the Patriots want to keep their playoff hopes alive, they'll need to break out of this offensive rut. The Patriots need Newton to be better, but if he can't be it might be time to finally let Jarrett Stidham to practice with the first team offense and actually start a game in the NFL. 



Follow Chris on Twitter @chrishenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Pats Lackluster Offense Heads to Buffalo
Pats Lackluster Offense Heads to Buffalo
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