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Pats Pulpit Reacts: Looks like the sky isn’t falling after all

Related: Pats Pulpit Reacts: Have the Patriots met your expectations so far?

Detroit Lions v New England Patriots Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

Things looked dire for the New England Patriots following their Week 3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Their team fell apart down the stretch, while starting quarterback Mac Jones suffered a high ankle sprain on the final offensive play of the day.

The Patriots’ record was only 1-2 at that point, but the prospect of Jones missing considerable time made for an uncertain outlook. This, in turn, was reflected in the fan base’s confidence in the team: only 28 percent of participants in SB Nation’s Reacts survey after that game against Baltimore felt good about the direction of the team.

Fast forward two weeks and that number has improved significantly. After climbing to 55 percent following last week’s defeat in Green Bay, it now stands at a season-high 72 percentage points. Beating the Detroit Lions 29-0 and shutting out the previous highest-scoring offense in the NFL has done wonders to the Patriots’ fan confidence.

That being said, the Patriots are still in last place in the AFC East and a sub-.500 team. As a look at one of this week’s Reacts questions shows, however, a majority of fans expected just that 2-3 record after five weeks:

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As can be seen, 63 percent of fans thoughts New England would stand at 2-3 after its early-season slate. Losses against Miami, Baltimore and Green Bay did not come as a surprise, whereas wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the aforementioned Lions were expected.

That victory over Detroit might turn out to be a turning point of sorts for New England, especially considering that the team was led by its former third-string quarterback, Bailey Zappe. In general, the rookie has looked good when filling in for Mac Jones, and later Brian Hoyer, over the last two weeks.

Nonetheless, fans don’t see a quarterback competition brewing: only 16 percent of participants in this week’s Reacts survey think there should be one. Conversely, 84 percent believe that Jones is the clear-cut QB1 and will resume the starting role no questions asked whenever he returns to the lineup.

The fourth and final question asked this week centered around wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, who has slipped down the depth chart after being one of the Patriots’ most productive pass catchers in 2021. Despite his change in status, 68 percent of fans believe that he will stay in New England past the trade deadline on Nov. 1.

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