Are The Patriots Legit?

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We’ve all heard the stories at this point. The Patriots are at the top of the AFC… The Patriots have the number one seed… The Patriots are back! But let’s take a closer look to see if they are really back or not.

Going back over their last five games, the Patriots are 5-0 and have outscored their opponents 157-50 over that stretch. Their defense has been dominant. Their offense has awoken under rookie Mac Jones and is averaging about 31 points per game. Many are already comparing this team to those Patriots teams in the early 2000’s. 

It’s gotten to the point where many are assuming that it’s a forgone conclusion that the Patriots will beat the Bills tonight and reclaim their throne atop the AFC after only one down season. Especially since the Bills seem to be trending downward after recent losses to Tennessee, Jacksonville (gross) and Indianapolis. So how am I going to spin this one, you might be thinking? Buckle up.

First, let’s look at the statistical rankings of the Patriots last five opponents. We will be focusing on the defenses that the Patriots have faced. We will look at opponent points per game and defensive situational success rates. Situational success rate is defined by Sharp Football Analysis as “A play is considered successful when it gains at least 40% of yards-to-go on 1st down, 60% of yards-to-go on 2nd down and 100% of yards-to-go on 3rd or 4th down.” So this essentially measures how good the team is at either obtaining or stopping first downs, thus moving the ball down the field.

Week 12: Titans (36-13)

Defense:

  • Op PPG: 22nd
  • Run Success: 24th
  • Pass Success: 10th

Week 11: Falcons (25-0)

Defense:

  • Op PPG: 31st
  • Run Success: 29th
  • Pass Success: 25th

Week 10: Browns (45-7)*

Defense:

  • Op PPG: 10th
  • Run Success: 8th
  • Pass Success: 5th

Week 9: Panthers (24-6)

Defense:

  • Op PPG: 8th
  • Run Success: 6th
  • Pass Success: 2nd

Week 8: Chargers (27-24)

Defense:

  • Op PPG: 29th
  • Run Success: 32nd
  • Pass Success: 21st

* The Browns played without Greedy Williams, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and Baker Mayfield was injured and replaced by Case Keenum during the game

So, after taking a look at the Patriots opponents over the last five games, it is no surprise they were able to go 5-0. The Browns would have been their best win, had they not been missing their #1 CB, #’s 1 & 2 RBs, and had a healthy starting QB.

The Panthers are certainly the best defense they have faced recently, and during that game, they were able to put up 17 points on offense (Sam Darnold threw a pick-6). 

The Bills will be the best defense the Patriots have faced all season. They rank 2nd, 2nd, and 1st respectively in the NFL in Op PPG, Run success, and Pass success. Will Mac Jones and the Patriots offense be able to continue their output of 31 points per game? Taking the defense, cold weather and the snow in account, most likely not. The last time they faced a top defense they put up 17 points. Will that be enough to beat the Bills? I’m not totally convinced. But I guess we’ll see tonight.

About Post Author

Jared Mello

Avid Boston sports fan. Lover of all things sports betting. I try to bring a realistic approach to the sports that I cover.
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  • Avid Boston sports fan. Lover of all things sports betting. I try to bring a realistic approach to the sports that I cover.

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