“I think we are a good team. I think we’re a good team with a bad record right now,” special teamer Justin Bethel said immediately after the 35-29 defeat. “There haven’t been games where we’re not in the running. We’re always one play here, one play there. We’ve just got to keep working, go back to work this week, and find a way to win those close games.”
The Patriots have indeed played some competitive football this year, and found themselves in a lot of close situations. Unfortunately, they came out on the wrong end on some of them.
While the Patriots did beat the Houston Texans on a late-game field goal, they also lost a very winnable game against the Miami Dolphins due to a late fumble. They were also beaten by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when the potential game-winning kick hit the left upright, before losing to the Cowboys in extra time two weeks later.
A few plays here and there, and New England might just be in a better situation. Alas, those plays did not happen and the Patriots now find themselves at 2-4 and looking up in the AFC playoff picture. What they may lack in victories, though, they do not lack in confidence.
“We’re 2-4, but we know we’re not a 2-4 team,” added tight end Jonnu Smith on Thursday.
As illustrated by SB Nation’s latest Reacts survey, Patriots fans are not quite as confident in the team’s direction as the players. While 74 percent still answered that they would feel good at where New England is headed at the moment, that number ranks only 15th in a league-wide comparison — not bad for a 2-4 team, but also not as enthusiastically optimistic as what the players themselves said over the last week.
At the end of the day, though, it is on them to show that they are right to feel confident in their ability to turn the ship around. A significant number of fans think they will, but the tide could be changing quickly if the outcome of this week’s game versus the 1-4 New York Jets is not a satisfying one.
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