Article written by Dylan McGuire Devine (12/13/21)
The New England Patriots are back. The Pats are currently 9-4 and are sitting on top of the AFC and the AFC East. Since this past off-season, everyone has doubted New England. After their rough season last year finishing 7-9 and third in the AFC East, so many people we’re saying the Patriots and specifically Bill Bellichick were nothing without Brady. Well, this season they have proved all of their doubters wrong. What has been the key/keys to their success?
This Patriots defense is one of the best we’ve seen in recent memory. They don’t have too many big name guys, but they have a squad of guys that make big plays and shut down offenses. Matt Judon. What a guy. One of the top free agent signings in Patriots history. This guy was a stud in Baltimore and he has been the same if not even better this season for the Patriots. Judon is playing 84% of snaps on defense for the Patriots and makes his presence felt every play. 33 pressures, 14 sacks, 59 hurries, and is fourth in the NFL for QB hits (25). He has had an insane season thus far and is a serious contender for DOPY.
Some other key guys that have made a huge impact this season are JC Jackson, Christian Barmore, Kyle Van Noy, Kyle Dugger, and Ja’Whaun Bentley. Everybody has seriously stepped their game up this season and have helped make this defense one of the best in the NFL.
What a great RB duo New England has with Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. Harris currently ranks 13th in the NFL for rushing yards (754) and has rushed for nine touchdowns. Stevenson has rushed for 429 yards and three rushing touchdowns. They’ve got two strong, big body, explosive guys who have it all and they’ve continuously proven that this season. Their rushing game has been essential this season and especially in their week 13 win against Buffalo. They ran for a season high 222 yards that game on 64 total carries.
MAC JONES AND HIS TARGETS
Mac Jones has been phenomenal for New England. Absolutely phenomenal. He likely will be winning the offensive ROTY award and without a doubt has been the best rookie QB from this years draft class. He plays like he’s been in the league for awhile. Yes, he makes rookie mistakes. But he is so poised and plays with such a leader presence that has been crucial to New England’s success. His top two targets have been TE Hunter Henry and WR Kendrick Bourne (both free agent signings from this past off-season). Bourne currently has put up 623 receiving yards on five touchdowns while Henry has 394 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Both Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers have played big for New England this season as well.
This team has real potential to make a deep run in the playoffs and many consider them Super Bowl contenders. They have a relatively easy remaining schedule and have a serious chance at staying on top of the AFC. No matter what happens, New England has surpassed everyone’s expectations this season. The Patriots are back.