Last week at this time, fans of the New England Patriots were among the most confident in the entire NFL: 98% of participants in our FanPulse survey — please click here if you also want to take part in the future — felt good about the direction in which the team was heading, tied for best in the league with the Kansas City Chiefs. And why wouldn’t the numbers look like that coming off a dominant 43-0 win over the Miami Dolphins?
A lot has changed since last Thursday, however, and the Patriots’ fan confidence has taken a slight hit because of it. First, the team parted ways with controversial wide receiver Antonio Brown after new allegations were brought forward against him. While New England’s offense did not skip too big a beat without Brown during Sunday’s 30-14 win over the New York Jets, the team suffered another blow just one day later.
After already holding him out of the game against New York due to a neck injury, the Patriots placed James Develin on their injured reserve list. The fullback will miss at least eight games because of the move, leaving the team’s already inconsistent running game without one of its key contributors. This in combination with the decision to release Brown has pushed New England’s FanPulse rating down five points to 93%.
As can be seen, fans are still quite confident in the reigning world champions at this point in the year but the recent developments have altered the outlook for some. As a result, the Patriots’ fan base falls down from the top position and is now “only” the sixth most confident in the NFL. The top spots, meanwhile, still belongs to the Chiefs who now share it with the San Francisco 49ers; the team of Jimmy Garoppolo also sits at 98%.
New England’s upcoming opponent, meanwhile, is ranked eighth: 84% of Buffalo Bills fans participating in the survey (down from 88% last week) feel good about the state of the team heading into its matchup with the Patriots — one that determines who will lead the AFC East next week. After all, both clubs are entering the contest with identical 3-0 records and the winner will sit atop the division after Sunday’s game.
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