The Patriots finished the regular season 12-4 with a shaky month of December football. The Patriots lost their final two games to the Jets and Dolphins, failing to clinch the number one overall seed. They needed to beat the Jets or Dolphins, but did not, so here they are, number two overall with a bye week. The Pats fell in an ugly loss, 20-10 in Miami, who will be looking for a new coach now that their season is over. Plenty of humble pie to serve to a team that not only needs to get healthy, but get better before the divisional round.
They are the number one unit that deserves humble pie after their entire 2015 season of football, but especially the way they finished the year. They allowed Tom Brady to get sacked and hit almost every time he threw the football yesterday, and could not open up holes for the run game against the 30th ranked run defense. They have been awful, every single one of them. Stork is having a down year, so much so that they need to find a way to get Andrews back on the field, and he was even up and down, mostly up though, during his stint as starting center. The guard play has been awful along with the tackles. Vollmer will help when he gets back, but they have so much improvement that needs to be done or they will hold the Patriots back from their fifth Super Bowl win.
2. The Wide Receivers
I think once Edelman is back it will change everything for the offense, even the OL, but especially the wide receiving core. They can’t get going without him. LaFell is nowhere to be found, Amendola does his best and is pretty good, but he needs Edelman back to be even more dangerous, and even Gronk needs Edelman. Edelman and Gronk help each other, double one deal with the other. Teams don’t fear any Pats wide out except for the almost uncoverable Julian Edelman. None of the wide receivers have been able to get open fast enough for Brady and the OL and none of them have stood out. Martin is coming along so he may give Brady a solid fourth option behind Edelman, Amendola, and LaFell, but right now nobody is performing well. This group needs to dig deep during the bye week.
3. FS Devin McCourty
He allowed a few too many big plays and a touchdown yesterday, not his best day. He may still be feeling the effects of his injury suffered a few games ago, so for now a pass, but still, he will need to recharge, get healthy, and be ready for the postseason. The secondary needs him, he’s vital to their success in the postseason, so no more Miami games from him during the postseason can happen.
4. The Running Game
It really needs to get going. The running game for the Patriots doesn’t have to be great, just good enough in certain games. Steven Jackson showed some potential and I think he will do good in the red zone, but it needs to be a bit better than yesterday. A slight pass for the running backs thanks to how bad the OL was, but still, the running game needs a better performance and a RB that can hit the 50 yard mark.