Poll: Grading the Patriots at the bye
The New England Patriots have reached the bye week over .500, the first time they can boast such a mark this season.
At 5-4, New England remains last in the AFC East, which shows no signs of easing up over the second half, yet they are just half a game behind the L.A. Chargers for the 7th and final postseason spot in the conference.
Let's start off with the entire team. At 5-4 through nine games, are the Patriots living up to your expectations? Failing to reach them? Or right where you thought they would be?
Now, for the offense...There is no need to open the thesaurus and pluck out a fancier word than needed to try to sugarcoat things. Through the first nine games of the season, this unit has been pretty brutal, apart from that two week bout of Zappe Fever.
The Pats' O ranks 26th in the league in total offense and 24th in passing. Another way to put that - the Patriots rank 7th-worst in total offense and 9th worst in passing. In fact, the scoring breakdown in yesterday's 26-3 win vs. Indy was - Nick Folk (14 points), Pats O (6pts), Pats D (6 points). It's not ideal when your offense is your 2nd or 3rd best option for putting points on the board...What would you give Jones & Co. for their first half as a whole?
Last but certainly not least, in fact, the most important unit on this team, the defense is the reason the Pats have reached the bye with a winning record. The D is solid, but against bad teams can feast, as we saw yesterday. After racking up nine sacks against Indy, the Pats' D has 32 through nine games (they recorded 36 sacks all of last year). Jonathan Jones added a pick-6 yesterday, which was the unit's 3rd defensive TD this season. They rank 2nd in the NFL with 17 takeaways and are tied for the 6th-fewest points allowed per week at 18.4. That's gotta be pretty deserving of a decent grade, right?