The New England Patriots are falling apart, but not all hope is lost

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

The New England Patriots matchup against the Buffalo Bills yesterday afternoon certainly didn’t go as expected. The Patriots got trampled by a score of 33-21, and quite frankly the score makes the game seem closer than it actually was. The Bills dominated from start to finish, as New England couldn’t assert themselves on either side of the ball.

In the aftermath of the disappointing defeat, it appears the sky is falling in New England. The Patriots have now lost the top seed in the AFC East, and they went from the top seed in the AFC to the sixth seed in a span of just two weeks. Considering the Bills finish their season off against the lowly Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets, it seems unlikely they will cough up their lead, meaning the Pats will probably end up with a wild card spot if they end up in the playoffs at all.

Admittedly, things don’t look as bright and rosy as they did after the Patriots prior meeting against the Bills. All the talk about New England being a legitimate Super Bowl contender can probably be put on the back burner for the time being.

While the Pats are still a playoff contender, and maybe one of the better teams in the AFC, they are a team with holes that are being exposed by both themselves and their opposition with increasing regularity now. And while things don’t seem good now, not all hope is lost for this team, for now and for the future.

The New England Patriots have exceeded expectations this season, regardless of what happens the rest of the season

I think it’s safe to say that nobody really expected the Patriots to be much of a contender this season, let alone be participating in an extremely important game in Week 16 with the top spot in the AFC East on the line. Yet here they are. Even though they lost a very good shot to win the division over these past two weeks, they still stand a very good chance of locking up a wild card spot over the ensuing two games.

Related Story. Patriots depleted WR corps could be a big issue. light

But now that they have made it this far, both fans and players want more, and that’s extremely reasonable. Given the way the Pats had been playing during their seven game win streak, it was fair to expect them to at least be competent against the Bills and Indianapolis Colts the week before. And while they still were in these games down the stretch, they never played well enough to make you think they have a shot at pulling out a win.

But with all things considered, even the New England Patriots losses have been extremely encouraging. It gets forgotten because of how good they have been at times this season, but this team is only two years removed from losing arguably the greatest player in NFL history in Tom Brady. If that happened to 31 other teams in the league, an extensive rebuild would be in the cards. Yet after just one downtrodden season, the Patriots are back.

Think about all the change this team has undergone this season. They are being led by a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones. Yes, he is still a rookie, and games like the one he had against the Bills yesterday afternoon (14/32, 145 yards, two interceptions) are common for rookies. Heck, all of Jones’ draftmates have had games worse than that this season. Despite leading this team to unexpected heights after just 15 games, he still has tons of room to grow.

This team also has a bunch of new players that haven’t even played a full season together. There are veteran holdovers from the Patriots previous championship winning teams, such as guys like Devin McCourty, Dont’a Hightower, and David Andrews.

But there are also key new contributors, such as Matthew Judon, Hunter Henry, and Kendrick Bourne that were all signed this past offseason. For them to accomplish what they have in their first seasons is extremely impressive, and there’s good reason to expect them to continue to get better as time progresses.

The Patriots are already good, and they are going to continue to get even better the longer this group plays together. They already have some clear needs heading into the upcoming offseason, such as re-signing J.C. Jackson and finding Jones a true number one wide receiver, but that shouldn’t be the concern right now. Enjoy the progress this team has made this season, and when the show ends, you can bet the team will find a way to improve things come next season.

The New England Patriots are still built very well for the long-term future as well

The Patriots have managed to turn themselves into a playoff team in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season. They could end up somehow falling out of the playoffs, and that still would be true. Regardless of the results of this season, the future of this team appears to be in great hands.

For starters, the New England Patriots appear to have found their quarterback of the future in Jones. He has vastly outplayed every other quarterback drafted alongside him this season, and he looks mature beyond his years. He’s still learning things and will only get better from here, but the initial results are encouraging.

New England also has a solid run game to lean on, which is huge in helping their rookie QB, and it should continue to be that way for the foreseeable future. Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson have both been excellent when they have seen the field, and the offensive line they run behind has quietly turned into the unit we expected them to be coming into the season. The pass catchers need to be upgraded a bit, and I’d expect that to happen this upcoming offseason.

dark. Next. It's N'Keal Harry's time to shine

The defense, despite getting torched by Buffalo, remains in good shape for the future as well. Some of the veterans, such as Hightower or McCourty, may move onto greener pastures soon, but this defense isn’t going to be sapped of talent if they do. Guys like Ja’Whaun Bentley, Kyle Dugger, and Christian Barmore will help lead the next generation of the New England defenses.

This team wasn’t supposed to succeed this season, but they did anyway. Not only does that bode well for this current season, but it also bodes well for their future. Not only is this team set to succeed now, but they look poised to firmly reestablish themselves as one of the top teams in the NFL over the next few years. So while things may not look great right now, not all hope is lost for the New England Patriots.