One of the toughest losses — that is how Duron Harmon labeled the New England Patriots’ defeat against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 14. It is not hard to see why the veteran defender feels that way: the team had its fair share of issues, especially in the first half, but still was in a good position to potentially tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Missed opportunities in combination with some bad officiating, however, led to the Patriots ultimately coming up short.
But while New England lost with a final score of 23-16 and now finds itself at 10-3 and essentially out of the race for the number one playoff seed in the AFC, some fans actually appear to be encouraged by the performance the team showed against Kansas City last Sunday: according to the results of SB Nation’s latest FanPulse survey, New England’s fan confidence improved by 10 percentage points when compared to last week.
Coming off their 28-22 loss against the Houston Texans, the team’s approval rating dropped from 91% down to 42% — the lowest number since Week 16 last season, when New England fell down to 28% coming off a 17-10 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers. What followed, of course, was the team finding its identity and getting hot at the right time: the Patriots won their final two regular season games before marching all the way to a championship.
In order to put themselves in a position to do the same this year, the Patriots will first need to get back on track — especially on the offensive side of the ball — against the Cincinnati Bengals this week. The Bengals are, of course, among the worst teams in football this season and their 1-12 record has them well-positioned in the race for the number one draft selection next spring. Despite that, however, their fans are not too confident in the team.
According to Cincinnati’s FanPulse results, only 5% of participants feel good about the direction in which the team is currently headed in. This number — down from 29% last week after the team won its first game of the season — ranks the Bengals’ fan base as the third least confident in all of football. Only the Dallas Cowboys (3%) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (2%) currently create fewer positive moments for their fans right now.
If you too are interested in participating in our FanPulse survey, please click here!