New England Patriots: Week 5 is the last chance to save the 2021 season

Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

With a 1-3 record, the outlook for the New England Patriots 2021 season isn’t too great right now.

They are already two games behind the AFC East leading Buffalo Bills, and are in danger of falling out of contention in the wild card race early on.

Despite the 1-3 record, things haven’t really seemed that bleak for New England.

If Damien Harris doesn’t fumble in the red zone late in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, they probably win that game. And if Nick Folk found a way to hit a difficult 56 yard field goal in rainy conditions last weekend against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they may have come out on top in that one too.

Unfortunately, things don’t always work out the way you would hope, and the Pats find themselves sitting with a 1-3 record. The Patriots weren’t necessarily expected to contend for the division or even a wild card spot heading into the season, but if they plan on doing so, time is running out.

Luckily, the team is set for an inviting matchup against the Houston Texans this week that could be key to them staying in contention for a playoff spot the rest of the season.

Why the New England Patriots Week 5 matchup is extremely important

After nearly pulling out a win against the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Pats have a matchup against the Texans that should result in a win. In case you have missed it, the Texans are an absolute mess from top to bottom, and New England should look to use them as a punching bag on Sunday afternoon.

Without getting too deep into their myriad of front office issues, or the Deshaun Watson controversy, the Texans just don’t have a good football team. They looked surprisingly competent early on thanks in large part to the combination of Tyrod Taylor and Brandin Cooks, but now Taylor is on the injured reserve, leaving 2021 third round selection Davis Mills under center for the time being.

Mills has been about as incompetent as you’d expect, and Houston has come crashing back down to earth. The Texans were throttled in Week 4 by the Bills, losing by a score of 40-0. Mills finished with 87 yards passing and four interceptions. The Patriots aren’t the Bills, but they should be able to inflict some damage on the Texans.

It may seem like a cakewalk on paper, but you can never take wins for granted in the NFL. Not to mention, this is a vitally important game for the New England Patriots now. Lose this, and you can all but kiss goodbye those few remaining playoff hopes. It’s very clear New England has to win this game if they want any shot of making the playoffs.

The gap between being 2-3 and 1-4 may not look too drastic, but it makes a world of a difference in the long run. Houston is easily the worst team in the league right now, so you need to pick up wins while you can. It also doesn’t help that future opponents like the Los Angeles Chargers and Carolina Panthers have looked much better than expected to start the season, meaning games New England was expected to be close in may not be that winnable anymore.

But anything can happen in this league, and the New England Patriots already got their hardest game of the season out of the way in Week 4 against Tampa Bay. They still have games against the New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, and Jacksonville Jaguars that they should be able to win. Despite the subpar start, there is still a lot of football left to play on the season.

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That optimistic outlook will almost certainly go sour if they end up losing this game against the Texans though. Falling to 1-4 at the hands of the Texans would be demoralizing, and the team would almost certainly be unable to climb their way out of such a hole the rest of the way out. The season is far from over, but the Patriots need to beat the Texans in order to stay relevant in New England, and the rest of the NFL as well.