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State of the Patriots: Week 5, 2016

This week will be very brief and more focus on the next game as we attempt to flush the last one out of our memories.

The Patriots are 3-1 and coming off a loss where they were emotionally flat and just wanted the game to end as soon as possible. Even though the Patriots punted that game, you still have to be happy with the 3-1 start without Tom Brady at QB. The Patriots are still on pace for their 12 win average under BB and Brady, and this season 12 wins is most likely what we’ll get.

Brady’s Back: Tom Brady’s suspension is over, which means the season now really starts. After an embarrassing performance on offense where the OL was committing killer penalties and the offense was unable to sustain drives and the ones they did ending with penalties and one red zone drive resulting in a turnover. With Brady taking the snaps instead of Jacoby Brissett, who did an admirable job going 1-1 in 2 starts, the offense can finally start clicking. I expect to see some rust from Brady having not played since August and any meaningful action since January. Once Brady is back in rhythm, the Steelers, Bengals, and Bills might be the first three to experience an Angry Tom Brady.

Injury Report: The Patriots suffered a horrific injury to RB/STer Brandon Bolden in the game, although it’s reported that it might not be season-ending. Rob Gronkowski and Dont’a Hightower are still battling back from their injuries and still aren’t close to 100%. Fortunately neither player experienced any re-injury in the game and the Patriots can continue to manage their progress. DE Rob Ninkovich may be returning in Week 5 as his timetable to return was about the same length as his suspension. Despite the Bolden news, the overall offense is getting healthier with each week.

We’re on to Cleveland: The Patriots are playing an 0-4 Browns team that has had a lead in their last 3 games. The Browns haven’t been able to finish the deal despite competing in those games are a couple mistakes away from possibly a 2-2 record. The Patriots defense will be facing a rookie QB in Cody Kessler, who has been one of their few bright spots this year. Hue Jackson is on his 2nd NFL head coaching gig after coaching the Raiders in 2011-12. The Patriots cannot afford to sleep-walk through this game despite the fact they are the more talented team at virtually every position. As far as the last game goes, the answer is “We’re on to Cleveland”.