Patriots Preview: Where should Focus be during Bye Week?
The Patriots are heading into their Week 10 Bye Week at an opportune time sitting at 5-4. The Patriots are at the bottom of the AFC East but are only 1.5 games behind the leading Buffalo Bills.
They are coming off a stellar month of football going 4-1 in the last 30 days. They're only defeat came on Monday night in a game that can easily be thrown away due to frantic QB play by rushing Mac Jones back too early. In these five games, the Patriots have outscored their opponents 129 - 68, with 33 points against coming from their one loss.
The Patriots key focus this week should be on their passing game. This is not to say it is a weakness of theirs, but it's the one facet of their game that isn't complete. Mac Jones has been better since coming back from his injury and over the last two weeks has 351 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. The Patriots are also getting better play from their tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, which is opening up the slot options and anything within 10 yards. This, along with an exceptional running and play action game, which the Pats indeed have, is destined to lead to huge gains down the field.
The Pats' defense and special teams are both top-5 units in the NFL and don't need to be touched. Besides the Bears game, the defense has given up 35 points in their previous 4 games, which is far and away the best in the NFL. This defense has also only given up 45 points in the three games the Patriots haven't thrown an interception, which bodes well for the team as Mac Jones continues to hit his strides.
The special teams unit has been responsible for 30 points in the past two weeks and a blocked punt. Kicker Nick Folk is 9/9 on field goals in this span and is 19-for-21 on the year. Special teams has always been prioritized greater in New England than any other football team, but is truly becoming a key factor in wins more than any other year.
The Jets come to town in two weeks time to finish off the series that the Patriots lead 1-0 at the moment. The Jets are also on a bye this week no doubt getting prepared to exact their revenge when they come to town. Two weeks ago, the Jets were defeated at home by these Patriots 22-17. The Jets offense struggled to get anything going in the second half and committed 4 turnovers. They cleaned up a lot of mistakes as they defeated the Bills in Buffalo and look poised to give the Patriots a better matchup next week.
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