The NE Patriots Struggling Before the Playoffs – by Cam Beall

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The New England Patriots fell to 10-2 after suffering a devastating loss to their AFC rival, the Denver Broncos, followed by a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles who are caught up in the mess that is the NFC East. Though the Pats redeemed themselves in a game against the Houston Texans bringing their record back to 11-2, there are plenty of things you could blame for the recent skid the Patriots were on. Poor officiating, Roger Goodell, the aging Tom Brady, or maybe you’re still bitter about not re-signing Darrelle Revis. However, the only reason the Patriots’ crusade through the league was halted was due to the multitude of injuries to their star players. Notable injuries include: Julian Edelman with a foot injury, Dont’a Hightower, Danny Amendola, and Dion Lewis all with a knee injury, Jamie Collins with an illness, Nate Solder with a hurt bicep, and Aaron Dobson with an ankle injury. Rob Gronkowski just recently came back during the match up with the Texans. He also suffered a knee injury.

The conditions in which Brady is working under aren’t exactly ideal.  Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola shared the role of the number one receiver in week 13, but there’s a pretty steep drop off after these two. Keshawn Martin, has seen more action as of late along with Matthew Slater and Damaris Johnson who are yet to haul in a pass this season. I don’t care who you have under center, any quarterback is going to struggle with this depleted wide receiving unit the Patriots have been forced to send onto the field.

Despite the glaring injury to Julian Edelman, perhaps the biggest issue with the Patriots’ lack of production on offense has to do with their makeshift number one wideout Brandon LaFell. It’s pretty easy to tell that LaFell has issues when it comes to catching the ball. In his first game this season he dropped a total of six passes. Not to mention that in week 13, LaFell failed to complete a lot of his routes, one of which led to a costly interception late in the third quarter of the loss to the Eagles. Although LaFell’s mistakes have stood out quite a bit, he isn’t the only one who had trouble reeling in passes this week. Danny Amendola dropped an easy touchdown pass early in the second half that would’ve put the Pats up by a touchdown, instead of leading the Eagles to a 100 yard pick-6. Even after Jamie Collins’ forced fumble with 1:09 left in the fourth while trailing by a touchdown, the Patriots dropped three very catchable passes in a row. The Patriots’ mistakes resulted in just the fifth win of the season for the Eagles.

Although the Pats haven’t been playing the best football lately, there is certainly no cause for concern just yet, especially just having come off that win against the Texans. Since the start of the “Deflategate” scandal last January, Tom Brady has been nothing short of sensational. The Michigan product has been cutting through each team like a hot knife through butter on his 2015 revenge tour. The one thing every Pats fan is hoping for is that we have our star players back come time for playoffs.

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