These New England Patriots Are Like a Rubik's Cube

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I know there are some whiz kids out there who can complete a Rubik's Cube in like 60 seconds, but for the majority of folks, they are difficult to figure out.  That's exactly what the 2020 New England Patriots are.  Eleven games into the season and I'm still scratching my head following Sunday's win against Arizona.  That's now three consecutive games where the outcome was the opposite of what many anticipated it would be.

Photo courtesy of NESN.com

Anybody who has ever tried to finagle a Rubik's Cube knows the frustration that comes alongside it.  You work on it for a little bit, and maybe get a few lines matched up.  Things are looking promising.  Next thing you know, you have an entire side of the cube matched up.  You're feeling pretty good about yourself.  Then, you make a couple more moves and all of a sudden all of that progress you made goes out the window. 

Just when you think you had a handle on things, you take a step backwards and everything is in shambles again.  That's where I'm at with this Patriots team.  Everything isn't quite in shambles, but just when it looks like they've got something going, things go awry.

Let's start with the obvious, the offense.  An up and down start to the year hit rock bottom with anemic efforts against Denver and San Francisco.  They then showed signs of life the following week in a gut-wrenching loss to Buffalo.  That game started a stretch of four, what I would call solid, games from the offense.

They racked up over 400 yards of offense in two of those games, were a yard shy of 350 in another, and were slightly over 300 yards in the other.  Damien Harris and the rushing attack was coming into its own.  Cam was taking better care of the football, and starting to see some of the open receivers he wasn't early on; particularly underneath.  Jakobi Meyers had everybody wondering why he didn't see the field the first few games. 

Then last Sunday happened, and all of the progress they had seemingly made was wiped away.  In one of the ugliest wins I can remember, the Pats mustered just 179 yards of offense and all but one of their scoring drives started in Arizona's territory.  New England's longest drive of the day was 46 yards.  Newton looked like he did against San Francisco, which is not a good thing, and had a horrific interception that set up Arizona with a chance to take the lead late.  A discouraging step back to say the least.

The defense hasn't had much luck finding consistency either.  After a strong showing against a high-powered Kansas City team in Week 4, it's been Jekyll and Hyde ever since.  A "meh" effort against Denver.  A pathetic showing against San Francisco where they forced just one punt.  A 20-point first half to the New York Jets, followed by a stingy second half that allowed them to come from behind.

A strong showing against Lamar Jackson and Baltimore.  An inability to stop DeShaun Watson and Houston.  Then most recently, they held Kyler Murray and the number one offense in the league to just 17 points, their lowest point total of the season. 

Just look at their last five games as a whole.  A narrow loss to Buffalo which had Newton not fumbled late, could have easily been a victory.  A come from behind, last second win against a winless Jets team.  An impressive victory over a much more talented Baltimore team that was favored by a touchdown.  A loss to a two win Houston team, and then Sunday's win over Arizona.

Would anybody be surprised if they go out to Los Angeles this Sunday, get lit up by Justin Herbert and lose to the 3-8 Chargers?  I wouldn't.  This franchise has been the model of consistency the last two decades, but they've been anything but this year. 

The only thing that is for sure with these last five games, I have no idea what to expect.


Follow Derek on Twitter @mcvay34

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Boston Sports Syndicate: These New England Patriots Are Like a Rubik's Cube
These New England Patriots Are Like a Rubik's Cube
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