The New England Patriots are lucky, and they’re good at it

Patriots LB Matthew Judon (9) is joined by Ja'Whaun Bentley (8) to celebrate his quarterback sack. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
Patriots LB Matthew Judon (9) is joined by Ja'Whaun Bentley (8) to celebrate his quarterback sack. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots are lucky.

That’s right, the Patriots have been very lucky this season. For a team lead by a rookie quarterback to be 8-4 isn’t normal. They had some breaks go their way.

Start with the schedule. New England got to pad their wins with defeats of the Falcons, Panthers, Jets twice and Texans. That’s more than half of their wins so far.

Even when the Patriots faced quality teams, the football gods were looking out for them. When the Browns came to Foxborough, they showed up without RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Yeah, they shut out the Falcons, but Atlanta played without receivers Calvin Ridley and Cordarrelle Patterson.

The New England Patriots are taking advantage of their luck

Heck, even the recent win over the Titans, Tennessee was playing with second and third stringers all over the place. Offensive stars RB Derrick Henry, and receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones were all sidelined.

And this coming Monday night, the Bills will be without Tre’Davious White, their All-Pro corner. The Patriots are dodging so many bullets, you’d think they were in The Matrix.

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Apparently discrediting the Patriots has become a thing again. So much so that The Onion dunked on several fan bases about Mac Jones’ success. This week, Jones was named the NFL offensive rookie for the month of November. Is that because Jones is a system quarterback or he’s very lucky?

If the Patriots’ success is due to luck, what is luck? To me, luck is when opportunity meets preparedness. Opportunities can come and go, but if you’re not ready to act on it, opportunities pass you by. Conversely, you can be prepared for anything, but if opportunities don’t come your way, you’re left waiting.

The Patriots have been ready for almost everything. Some opportunities slipped through their fingers (Dolphins, Buccaneers, Cowboys), but most of them they fully exploited. Whether it’s a game-winning drive, a field goal as time expires or forcing a red zone turnover, the Patriots make things happen.

If people want to call it luck, go ahead. The bottom line is the New England Patriots do a damn good job of making luck happen.

Soft schedule? Unlike college football, the Patriots don’t choose their opponents. The NFL uses a formula to match them against opponents and rotates which divisions play each other so every team plays each other every three years.

What head coach Bill Belichick and his assistants do is prepare the players for every opponent arguably better than the rest of the league. That means getting up for the high profile games and not letting their guard down for bad teams.

After losing to the Buccaneers in overtime, the Texans game was viewed as a trap game. New England was a bit sloppy, but came back to win. Trap averted.

As for injuries, those happen. Every team has them. Good teams are built with depth in mind. Behind LBs Matthew Judon and Kyle Van Noy, at one point the Patriots had Josh Uche, Chase Winovich and Jamie Collins. O-lineman Michael Owenu now comes off the bench. And when RB Damien Harris was out with a concussion, Rhamondre Stevenson filled in with his first career 100-yard rushing game.

Not that the haters are gonna change their minds. Being a fan is about being irrational. We won’t always accept logical arguments. But let’s push this whole luck thing a little further.

The Patriots were lucky to had drafted Jones. The 49ers should had taken him over Trey Lance. Hell, New England was lucky to get Christian Barmore too. Almost every team passed on him at least once. The Bengals should had never agreed to trade with the Patriots and let New England draft this ‘Bama beast.

And the Patriots were sooooo lucky to sign Judon. And it only cost them $13.625 million per year. That’s 21st in average per year for edge rushers in 2021. T.J. Watt averages $28 million. Lucky the Ravens didn’t re-sign him.

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The bottom line is this: every team gets lucky. You can call it that when a chip shot field goal goes off the upright or a Hail Mary pass falls through a maze of arms into the hands of a receiver. Luck happens to the best and worst teams.

Fortune even favors championship teams. Whether it’s a toe on the 3-point line (right, Milwaukee Bucks fans?) or an interception negated by a penalty (2018 AFC Championship), even the best had a bounce or two go their way.

So if people wanna say the 2021 New England Patriots are lucky, go ahead. Have your fun. If the Patriots luck their way to a seventh Super Bowl championships, I’m OK with that. After all, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.