It’s not often that we’re wondering about the state of the New England Patriots after 13 weeks of action, but that’s where we are these days. Their performance in a loss to the Houston Texans is among the major takeaways we had from this week.
Patriots’ Offense Has Problems
There’s no question that the Patriots have won with worse offenses than they have right now, but watching their current concoction on Sunday Night Football, one has to wonder what’s wrong with this team. Forget the stats, it felt like Brady and company were laboring to even pick up first downs.
Taking a look at the season as a whole, Brady had 10 touchdowns and two picks in the first five weeks. He has just five touchdowns in the seven games since with four interceptions. New England barely mustered 17 points against the Philadelphia Eagles, who coughed up 37 to the Miami Dolphins. The Pats barely squeezed out 13 against the Dallas Cowboys, who easily gave up 26 points to the Buffalo Bills this past week.
Whether it’s Brady, the offensive line that’s taken a lot of hits, the ground game that’s not working, or the feeble receivers, this offense is not Super Bowl-worthy right now.
Be Careful Betting 49ers Futures
After the San Francisco 49ers smoked the Green Bay Packers, there was lots of conversation about how we’re likely to see a Jimmy Garoppolo-Tom Brady Super Bowl and that the 49ers were the team to beat in the NFC. Well, a lot can change in a week.
There’s no question the 49ers held up pretty well in Baltimore this past week, losing 20-17 on a last-second field goal, but given how competitive the NFC is right now, this loss could be very damaging.
Consider that if the Seattle Seahawks win on Monday Night Football (they host the Minnesota Vikings), the 49ers would drop to the No. 5 seed in the NFC. Even if the Seahawks lose on Monday to the Vikings, keep in mind that San Francisco is at New Orleans next week while the Seahawks are at the Rams.
It’s been a great year for the 49ers, but they’re not making a deep playoff run if they have to go on the road and win multiple games.
It’s Over For Doug Marrone As Head Coach Of The Jaguars
There’s no question that it’s not all Doug Marrone’s fault in Jacksonville, but he’s the man in charge, and the team appears to have tuned him out. They’ve now lost four in a row by a count of 129-47. They weren’t even competitive on Sunday against Tampa Bay as they trailed 28-0 before benching Nick Foles and switching back to rookie Gardner Minshew II in the second half.
There’s really not much that Jacksonville does right these days. They can’t stop anyone defensively, their offense is pathetic, and they’re rarely even in games. They’re in the midst of a nosedive and it’s clearly time for a change. Bet against them going forward.
Carolina Has Bigger Problems Than We Know
The Panthers have bigger issues than we can see right now, and it’s best to stay away from betting them.
For a while, it seemed like the expected regression of Kyle Allen was going to be a problem. That’s happened, as the guy who threw seven touchdowns and no picks in his first four outings has eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions since.
However, the general consensus was that this team could still play defense and run the ball quite well to the point where Allen wouldn’t limit them that much. In games he played well, they’d win. If he coughed it up, they’d lose.
On Sunday, we saw otherwise as the Panthers lost at home to awful Washington. Carolina held a 14-0 lead and was somehow outscored 29-7 the rest of the way, giving up 248 rushing yards in the process. They’ve lost four in a row and five of six with some bad losses in the mix, such as Atlanta, a 51-13 loss to San Francisco, and now this. It’s unclear what the issue is, but this team might need a full-on rebuild. I’d stay away.
Steelers Have Tough Schedule Ahead
The Steelers are now 7-5 and are in the final playoff spot in the AFC. Considering what this team has had to deal with, this might be head coach Mike Tomlin’s best job yet. This is a team that’s on their third quarterback this season and is without several key offensive contributors like Juju Smith-Schuster and James Conner.
There’s no question that the Steelers’ defense has stepped up and will continue to carry the mail. However, keep in mind that this team has a tricky schedule coming. It’s not that the opponents are all that challenging, but three of their final four games are on the road. They’ll go to Arizona, host Buffalo, go to the New York Jets, and go to the Baltimore Ravens. They should win at least two of those games – maybe three – but with the offense being the way it is, it’s simply going to come down to turnovers. If they can continue to protect the ball and force turnovers from their opponents, they’ll be fine.
Just remember that they’ve been shaky on the road, nearly losing to Cincinnati in their most recent away game and losing in Cleveland by a couple of touchdowns the week before that.