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Can you believe 10 weeks have passed in the 2017-2018 NFL season? It feels like yesterday I witnessed one the best historic comebacks all-time in any sport in the Super Bowl, conducted by yours truly, the New England Patriots. But enough reminiscing, let’s discuss the present. I believe it is safe to say the Patriots have made a strong statement that they’re the team to beat in the AFC.

A wise man once said, “defense wins championships,” but in the Patriots’ case, the offense may be the savior for their chase for their sixth ring. We’re 10 weeks in this head-scratching season and the Patriots are surprisingly ranked number one in total offensive yards per game (409.4), total passing yards per game (301.6), and ranked fourth in points per game (28.6) without Tom Brady‘s on-field bestie: Julian Edelman.

Some will argue that the Patriots have not played enough contenders this season to justify their position as a Super Bowl pick in water-cooler discussions. Don’t let those fools distract you from the fact that the Patriots destroyed the New Orlean Saints, who are now the league’s fifth-ranked defensive team in points allowed. The Patriots offense also was battle-tested once again in week four against the Carolina Panthers whose defense is currently ranked number one in yards allowed per game (278), number four in passing yards allowed per game (197.4) and ranked number two in rushing yards allowed per game (80.4). Although the Patriots lost that game, the offense managed 373 total offensive yards, which surpasses the number of average yards given up by the Panthers per game, and was able to put up 30 points on the scoreboard.

Now with Rex Burkhead back in the lineup,  the Patriots’ offense seems to be moving a lot more efficiently. Burkhead adds a lot of value to the offense with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and run up the gut when his number is called. Rex has been targeted 11 times and has reached the end zone once in the last 3 games. His size and agility cause chaos for opposing defenses by creating mismatches across the middle and outside. He’s like a Danny Woodhead 2.0. This does not only allow Tom to have more options to throw to but can subtly relax coverage off Rob Gronkowski and Brandin Cooks in 3rd-and-short situations. Not to mention he’s a part of a run committee of that is so dangerous in open space.  Martellus Bennett may also provide value to that offense. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a bit of the two tight end scheme Bill Belichick used back in the day with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Especially to beat teams with phenomenal cornerbacks such as the Jacksonville Jaguars.

On the contrary, the Patriots’ defense is suspect but shows promising signs of great things to come. Although the defense has allowed 408.3 total yards per game this season, they are moving on up just like the Jeffersons. In the first four games, the Patriots has allowed an average of 32 points per game. Since then, they’ve only allowed 13 points per game.  One of the aspects the defense has to work on is pass rush. The opposing quarterback seems to have all day and night to throw the ball and that results to a huge yardage. Without a doubt, I foresee the defensive front improving with the return of Malcolm Brown.

As long as everyone ‘does their job,’ I don’t see why the Patriots cannot win another Superbowl title.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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