Whether anyone wants to believe it or not, the New England Patriots won’t win the Super Bowl when it’s all said and done. Sure, this legendary team has made it to at least the AFC Championship Game in each of the last eight seasons. But there are plenty of reasons to believe this journey won’t end with a happy ending.
Even before the run of consecutive trips to the conference title game, the Patriots had won three Super Bowls in a four-year window. They had an undefeated regular season in 2007 before losing in the Super Bowl against the New York Giants. Needless to say, we’re all tired of the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick raising the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The Patriots may have won Super Bowl LIII, but they won’t win again this season. Here are the five reasons why:
1) Tom Brady’s Age
Long gone are the days when Brady would be atop the statistical passing leaders in the NFL; the 42-year-old just simply isn’t where he used to be. He does rank eighth in TDs (21) and ninth in passing yards (3,565).
However, Brady also ranks 20th in passer rating (86.5), 21st in QB rating (50.7) and 29th in completion percentage (60.1%). It’s not like mobility was ever a part of his game, but we’re starting to see him lose some zip on his throws. And that could be a problem in the cold weather during the playoffs.
We saw the same type of decline when Peyton Manning reached the end of his career. Manning was lucky enough to have a championship-winning defense in his last season.
However, there wasn’t a ton of competition in the NFL at that time. Brady won’t be as fortunate with New England’s defense, which already showed it couldn’t stop the league’s presumed MVP. CB Stephon Gilmore is elite at his position, but that’s only one man. Perhaps, the special teams unit will have to be even better than usual.
2) Patriots’ Lack of Weapons
Aside from RB James White and WR Julian Edelman, there’s not a whole lot of places that Brady has to go with the football. As usual, White hasn’t done much on the ground this season (62 carries, 254 yards, 1 TD) but his work in the passing game (65 catches on 87 targets, 588 yards, 4 TDs) that keeps him on the field. Edelman has been his usually-wonderful self, hauling in 92 catches on 140 targets for 1,019 yards and 6 TDs.
Other than that, yikes! RB Sony Michel has been a major disappointment, considering how the Patriots rode him to the Super Bowl victory last season. Michel has yet to run for 100 yards in any game this season but does have 6 TDs. The lack of help at wide receiver has been certainly noticeable. Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, N’Keal Harry and the newly acquired Mohammed Sanu haven’t been able to muster up any sort of consistency. It also didn’t help that Dorsett and Harry were on the injury report for a good chunk of games.
3) Baltimore Ravens
In Week 9, we saw the Ravens absolutely dismantle the defending champs by the score of 37-20. QB Lamar Jackson was instrumental in the victory with 212 total yards and 3 total TDs nad is looking almost certain to win NFL MVP.
In addition, RB Mark Ingram ran the ball straight down the throat of the Patriots for 115 yards. And that’s how you do it, folks – run the ball right at this Patriots team. Their secondary is one of the best in the NFL. But teams can set up the run and make life difficult on them.
New England had a very easy schedule, getting off to a great start – until meeting Baltimore. Since then, the Patriots are 3-3 with the losses all coming against projected playoff teams – the Ravens, Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs.
4) Odds Aren’t on Their Side
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Patriots have +650 odds to win Super Bowl LIV. Only two teams, the Baltimore Ravens (+225) and New Orleans Saints (+550) have better odds. However, the Patriots have the same odds as the San Francisco 49ers (+650) and similar ones to the Kansas City Chiefs (+750) and Seattle Seahawks (+800). In our opinion, all of these teams have a chance to win this year’s Super Bowl.
The odds on other projected teams to make the playoffs are: Green Bay Packers (+1400), Minnesota Vikings (+2500), Dallas Cowboys (+3000), Buffalo Bills (+3500), Houston Texans (+3500) and Philadelphia Eagles (+4000). From the AFC, the Ravens, Texans and Chiefs have all beaten the Patriots already. Why not follow the blueprint and do it again?
5) The NFC is Better Than Ever
Even if the Patriots do make it through to the Super Bowl, plenty of NFC teams can beat them. It is interesting, though, for the Saints to have the best odds of any NFC team to win the Super Bowl. Perhaps, that is momentum from the Saints’ lopsided win over the Indianapolis Colts this last week. Not to mention, the Seahawks and Packers are actually lined up to be the No. 1 and 2 seeds if they win out.
It would be interesting if the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl and QB Jimmy Garoppolo faced the Patriots. There will undoubtedly be plenty of people rooting for that. Nonetheless, there are just too many talented teams, especially in the NFC, for the Patriots to be a lock for Super Bowl champs.