The 2022 New England Patriots are reminiscent of the 2001 champs

Nelson Agholor, New England Patriots (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Nelson Agholor, New England Patriots (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

After a disappointing loss in the season opener in Miami, the New England Patriots were able to fend off the Steeler’s comeback attempt on Sunday and come away with a 17-14 road win.

Despite the win, concerns still linger throughout Pats nation particularly in regard to their struggles on offense; scoring just 24 total points in two games.

While the concern is warranted, this season is far from over and Patriots fans should see that this team might be poised to make a similar run to the 2001 team: If you think about it, this year’s squad shares some of the same qualities as the team that sparked New England’s 20-year run.

The 2001 New England Patriots were led by Tom Brady in his second year, Mac Jones is also in his second year and both struggled early on

In 2001 the Patriots were coming off of a 5-11 season, and after the infamous Drew Bledsoe injury all hope seemed lost with Tom Brady taking over after an 0-2 start and just 20 points scored in those games.

While this year’s team split the first two games, people are already writing off the Patriots mainly due to their offensive deficiencies and possible limitations to Mac Jones.

Before we say the season’s over or Mac Jones isn’t good enough, remember this: Tom Brady went 1-2 in his first three appearances and failed to throw a single touchdown in those games.

Now Brady wasn’t at the height of his power yet, but he still figured it out and played well enough for the rest of the team to propel New England to its first Super Bowl victory. A similar story is certainly in the cards for Mac Jones and this team.

Defense and ball control are still the keys to victory

The offensive lapses to this point are undeniably worrisome, but on the other side of the ball the Patriots have been stout, allowing just 28 points (not counting the fumble return TD in Miami) in the two games.

It might be a reach to call this year’s defense as special as the legendary 2001 Patriots who only allowed 17 points per game, but through two games the New England Patriots have shown that points won’t come easily against them.

With a young Tom Brady at the helm, the 2001 Patriots took on a ground-and-pound approach to the offense and tallied 15 rushing touchdowns on 1793 yards. This was to lighten the load on a second-year quarterback, and control the clock/avoid shootouts. A philosophy that proved to work.

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Last season, the Patriots went 10-7 on the shoulders of a similar offensive attack that got them top 10 in rushing yards by a team. Coming into this year, it has looked like the Patriots are sticking to their guns on that front, averaging over 100 yards on the ground between the two games.

Similarly to Brady, a strong defense and reliable run game could be enough to lift a young Mac Jones to new heights.

No hype, no problem

The last striking similarity between the 2022 Patriots and the championship team of 2001 is their lack of expectations heading into the year.

As mentioned before, New England went 5-11 the year prior to the magical Super Bowl run, nobody viewed them as a real threat and Vegas had their win total set at 6.5 games. Obviously New England blew past this number, going 11-5 and winning it all.

Upon entering this season, expectations were similar with the win total set at 8.5 games as the Buffalo Bills are the clear favorite to take the AFC East, with many picking the Miami Dolphins to finish behind them.

Next. Patriots: 3 takeaways from week 2 win. dark

Winning the division admittedly won’t be easy, especially with Buffalo looking like the best team in football so far, but it’s not impossible. The roster construction, the game-plan, and the preseason predictions for these two New England Patriots teams are all eerily comparable, and with that it is not impractical to look for a similar season outcome as well.