With The New England Patriots now holding the final playoff spot in the AFC would it be a bad thing if the Patriots actually made the playoffs? The Patriots currently sit at 5-4 and have the tiebreaker over both Cincinnati and the Los Angeles Chargers. If the Patriots were to win this Sunday as well, they would leapfrog over the Jets and be either the 5th or 6th seed in the AFC.
If the Patriots make the playoffs this year I feel that it would be a very similar end to the season that we saw last year in Buffalo. Maybe the game would not be a complete and total blowout but I would not see the Patriots beating any of the two through four seeds in the AFC at the moment.
The Patriots would have to go on the road to either Miami, Tennessee, Baltimore, and depending on the final standings Kansas City and Buffalo could be in the mix too. I believe that if the Patriots were to make the playoffs they would overlook their current flaws and similar to last season would think of the season as a success being able to make the playoffs.
History Of Roster Improvement
The Patriots are always looking for ways to improve their team when a season does not end in the way in which they hoped for. After the 2006 season, the Patriots needed more offensive weapons after the loss to Indianapolis in the AFC championship game. They went out and traded for Randy Moss and signed Wes Welker.
After the 2019 season finishing 7-9 the team lacked talent all around the field. They went out and spent the most money out of any team in the league. Unfortunately some of those signings have not panned out as well as we hoped for but some, Matthew Judon, were absolute grand slam deals.
So if the Patriots fail to reach the postseason this year I believe that they will take a long and hard look at where they need to improve. The three key areas where they need help is offensive line depth, a true number one receiver, and the most important issue that needs to be addressed is the offensive coordinator.
Offensive Line Help
The Patriots need to address the offensive line depth as they seem to be spread thin this year. Micheal Onwenu has been the only bright spot on the offensive line so far this season. Signings like Trent Brown and rookie Cole Strange have had peaks and valleys this season while guys like Yodny Cajuste and Isaiah Wynn have been sorely underperforming. The line issues were so bad at one point that the Patriots signed Marcus Cannon, who now is on injured reserve, and he wasn’t even playing football when they signed him.
The Patriots will have just over fifty million in cap space which is enough to go out and sign one or two quality offensive lineman. Tackles Orlando Brown Jr. and Jack Conklin would command about fifteen million each so one or both would be a quick solution. Interior Linemen are few and far between. Hoping that Cole Strange can develop into a leader on the offensive line I like Colts guard Matt Pryor as a signing. He makes just over five million and he’s having a down year so maybe you could get him for even cheaper.
Keep Jokbi Meyers, Sign Another Proven Receiver
The Patriots receivers will be thin heading into next season as Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers are both free agents. Hopefully Meyers can work out a deal to stay but Agholar leaving will open up twelve million dollars. With that money you could sign proven receivers like Sterling Shepard, DJ Chark, Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman , and Paris Campbell. Regardless of who they sign or choose to keep there will be some changes at the receiver position heading into next season. Brandon Cooks could be another name who could be traded here as he was not traded at the deadline this year and refused to play for Houston in their Thursday Night loss to the Eagles because so.
Needing A Real Offensive Coordinator
With the coaching I feel that this is the biggest change needed. If the Patriots do make the playoffs that will only promote the idea of keeping both Patricia and Judge in lieu of bringing in an actual offensive coordinator. The idea of having two failed head coaches, one who is defensive minded and one who was a special teams coach, running your offense is absurd. Joe Judge ruined any chance of Daniel Jones being a competent player and without Judge, Jones has shown to be an above average quarterback in the league this year.
Patricia has seemed to change his tone with players and the media since his return to New England. He has gone from a guy who was harsh on players in the media and just flat out disrespectful to media members when he would speak to them when he was in Detroit. Now he openly flaunts about how good his players are and has fabricated banter with the media during press conferences which is cringe worthy to watch.
The Patriots should look to reunite with current offensive coordinator for the University of Alabama Bill O’Brien. The former Patriots OC and Texans head coach would be a drastic improvement over the current situation. O’Brien looks to be on the chopping block for the Crimson Tide with the two losses by a total of four points. This would be the preferred option now that Las Vegas owner Mark Davis has been in support of Josh McDaniels.
Regardless of anything I believe that none of these issues will be addressed if the Patriots do in fact make the playoffs this year which is a blessing and a curse. Yes there is nothing like playoff football but if it means hurting the future of the team just to play an extra game or two I think it will ultimately hurt the team moving forward.
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