Owning at 5-4 record nine games into their 2022 campaign, the New England Patriots are very much alive in the race for a playoff spot. That does not mean all went well over the first half of the regular season: they had their miscues in all three phases of the game, or else they would not have lost four games so far.
The biggest area of concern has undoubtably been the offense. Not counting any defensive or special teams touchdowns, the Patriots are ranked just 22nd in the NFL with an average of 20.2 points scored per game; they also rank just 25th in expected points added (-0.047/play) and are dead-last with 17 turnovers.
Despite some encouraging stretches of play, the unit led by quarterback Mac Jones and play-caller Matt Patricia obviously has a long way to go. The first nine games, after all, have largely been a disappointment — a sentiment reflected in how fans view the group.
Take a look at the latest SB Nation Reacts poll, for example. Earlier this week, fans were asked to grade the Patriots’ offense, defense and special teams, and there was a clear difference between the first unit and the second two.
Whereas a majority of participants graded both defense and special teams with a B, the offense was given a D for its first-half performance.
Needless to say that the Patriots offense is not a finished product by any means, and that the goal is to play the best football down the stretch — something New England failed to do in 2021. However, based on the first nine games it is no surprise to see that fans are not overly optimistic about the group’s outlook.
That view also carried over into the general fan confidence. Despite the Patriots beating the Indianapolis Colts 26-3 last Sunday, a smaller number of fans is feeling good about where the team is currently headed: the fan confidence score dropped from 45 percent approval in Week 9 to just 30 percent this week.
The Patriots will get a chance to bring it back up next week. Following their Week 10 bye, they will host the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium — a game that will give them an opportunity to finally leave the last position in the AFC East.
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