You don’t need stats to tell you that something has been off with the Patriots this season. Although they have a dominant defense, their offense has often gone AWOL, and is one of the main reasons the Patriots just lost two in a row.
The Patriots face the Bengals on Sunday as they look to avoid losing three games in a row.
Here’s a good stat: the Patriots haven’t lost three games in a row since 2002. If they lose on Sunday, panic might set in.
Now that you somewhat understand what EPA means, you can see how much Brady has been put in early down trouble this season. That Patriots have a 37.4 third down efficiency, which explains the lackluster EPA. If the Patriots and Tom Brady can get themselves out of early down trouble, they can start to get back on track as an offense.
Brady is 24th in red zone passing. Getting into early-down trouble in the red zone has crushed the Patriots this season. That won’t get it done, even with a defense as good as the Patriots have. If Brady and the offense can correct these errors, look for them to break out against the Bengals.
2. Brady shouldn’t take all the blame. At the end of the day, his receivers haven’t been getting open, especially when he’s pressured. Take a look at this graph from PFF’s Kevin Cole
Bill Belichick going and getting Mohamed Sanu surprised a lot of people, but looking at the core that they had, it was clear that they needed an upgrade.
But, it’s clear something is still off. Sanu has battled injuries, which has left young receivers to get more reps then expected. One of them, N’Keal Harry, has been a positive for the offense, and someone I expect to get a big game against Cincy, but he’s still just a developing receiver that you can’t solely rely on.
The Patriots offense surely needs to get it together before the postseason. One thing we do know, it was business as usual in Foxboro this week as they look to figure things out.
Patriots @ Bengals 1PM Sunday.