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2021 Playoff Analysis: New England Patriots
New England Patriots
Elite Quarterback
7 points
--
Premiere Offensive Weapons
2 points per player
Damien Harris
Jakobi Meyers
Hunter Henry
Elite Pass Rushers
4 points per player
Matthew Judon
Quality Offensive Coaching
6 points
Josh McDaniels
Quality Defensive Coaching
6 points
Bill Belichick
Number of Successful Comebacks
7 total points if the team successfully staged at least 3 comebacks
2
Elimination Game Experience
2 points each for offense, defense, and special teams units, provided a majority of key role players on a given unit have experience in elimination game scenarios.
Offense
Defense
Special Teams
Quarterback Elimination Game Experience
6 points if a quarterback has experience in an elimination game
No
Score Range
24 - 28

The Patriots have been a fascinating franchise this year. After starting off very slow, New England went on a bit of a rampage against some underwhelming opponents before finally gaining legitimacy by shutting out the Falcons and then stomping all over the Bills in a primetime game. As quickly as they were crowned the league’s best team, they fell from grace after statement losses against the Colts and the Bills in a divisional rematch.

A couple things need to be noted here in my limited review of the Patriots. One, their pass rush only has one star - Matthew Judon. It’s not necessarily a terrible thing, but championship teams typically have at least two stud pass rushers. Super Bowl teams missing two star pass rushers usually compensate through offense….but that brings me to point number two - their offense is the very definition of a managed offense. Production is generally schemed and Mac Jones is only tasked with keeping the offense humming on schedule. He’s shown some ability to improvise and make difficult throws under pressure, but in the end, the kid’s a rookie still cutting his teeth at the professional level. When Jones was forced to assume the mantle of production against an emotionally charged Bills team, his throws were low and out of rhythm. Dropback football isn’t much of an option for this Patriot team yet, which effectively dooms them from making much progress in the postseason. Perhaps they can notch a win in the wild card round, but it’ll be all the more difficult doing so when a majority of playmakers on offense have never battled before in the postseason.


New England goes far into the postseason if
Mac Jones truly elevates his level of play going into the playoffs. It’s not an easy ask for a rookie, especially one that’s yet to truly bond with any of his weapons on offense. But it does help that the Patriots have one of the better special teams unit in the league. That and their defense is still among the best in the country, even if it only features one elite pass rusher.

New England fails to win a game in the postseason if
their wild-card opponent truly tests their mettle on offense. A good defense will put the onus of production squarely on Mac Jone’s inexperienced shoulders. Damien Harris cannot be allowed to pop off for any significant yardage. So without a ground game, Jones will be tasked to keep the ball moving with a group of wide receivers and tight ends still in the process of gelling together into a cohesive unit.