Thought I’d save you all some time this afternoon and sum up the rankings:
Lost in the woods ... The empire has officially collapsed ... Belichick has lost his mojo.
Falling apart ... It’s all just terrible ... One of the worst in football ... Patriots are in major trouble.
This team is toast. Mac Jones is bad ... Mac Jones is abjectly terrible ... The knives are out.
There you have it. We’ll see what happens this week vs. the Raiders. I’m picking the Pats to win because why not?
Around the AFC East:
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) Bye Week
25th - Conor Orr (SI): The Patriots have gone from “you can scheme up Mac Jones” to “my God if anyone gets into that pocket he’s going to throw a pick.” Playing quarterback in this league is hard, but how much harder do the Patriots make it look? The fake tush-push toss-back fumble was the epitome of how lost in the woods this version of Bill Belichick’s club has become. [-1]
26th - Jarrett Bailey (TouchdownWire): This Patriots have been outscored 69-3 over the last two weeks. The Empire has officially collapsed. [-4]
27th - Staff (The Ringer): Mac Jones is not a quarterback who elevates the players around him. [-6]
28th - Karen Guregian (MassLive): Back-to-back blowout losses. Bill Belichick has clearly lost his mojo. But will he also lose his job? [-3]
28th - Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports): The Patriots have a minus-54 point differential over the past two weeks, which seems impossible for a Bill Belichick-coached team. It’s just all terrible for the Patriots right now. The conversation can already start about Belichick’s future. He’ll be 72 next season. Does he want to be a part of this long-term rebuild? Do the Patriots want to make a change, and if they do, how do you move on from a legend like Belichick without it being utterly messy? [-3]
28th - Consensus (Bleacher Report): The New England Patriots are in major trouble. One week after head coach Bill Belichick suffered the worst loss of his coaching career, the Pats nearly duplicated the feat, getting blown out at home by the Saints. Belichick didn’t mince words about the performance while addressing the media after the game. Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was abjectly terrible—he completed just 12 of 22 passes for 110 yards and turned the ball over three times, including a pick-six. After being pulled for the second game in a row in favor of Bailey Zappe, Jones admitted that he and his teammates are frustrated. [-1]
29th - Eric Edholm (NFL.com): The last two weeks have been about as dark a stretch for this franchise in forever. Seeing Bill Belichick punt on fourth-and-3 from the Saints’ 40-yard line in a 24-0 game in Foxborough was shocking. One of the greatest coaches of our lifetimes just seemed defeated. Two weeks in a row, they’ve had to bench Mac Jones for his own good. The season has gone from concerning to depressing in a one-week span, and I have very little hope that a banged-up defense is somehow going to come to the rescue. Until further notice, this club can safely be called one of the worst in football, which is just strange to type. The fear factor is long gone. [-5]
29th - Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): This team is toast. It’s hard to believe they are this low with Bill Belichick as the coach. Maybe it was Tom Brady for all those years. [-5]
29th - Dalton Miller (ProFootballNetwork): It turns out that having absolutely no juice on the offensive side of the ball is an unsustainable way to try and operate an offense at the NFL level in 2023. Mac Jones is not a creator, and he has nobody on the outside to consistently create separation, either. Jones would need a nice environment to succeed, and even after hiring a real offensive coordinator, the Patriots still are not a good situation for him. The defense is talented when healthy, but with most of their cornerbacks unable to play, that’s not exactly how we can categorize this unit at the moment. [-5]
29th - Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): Mac Jones is bad. The offensive line and running game don’t exist. The defense is falling apart with injuries and not enough active bodies to execute in Bill Belichick’s scheme. Big changes might need to come soon. [-3]
30th - NFL Nation (ESPN): Not many choices from a team that has scored just 55 points all season, but Henry ranks 10th among tight ends in fantasy points scored with 17 receptions for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s been one of the few bright spots and is a consistent presence on the field, having played 83% of the offensive snaps. — Mike Reiss. [-3]
30th - Josh Schrock (NBC Sports Chicago): The Patriots have lost their last two games by a combined score of 72-3. Honestly, it could have been worse.
30th - Matt Johnson (SportsNaut): It’s one thing for Bill Belichick’s complete control over the 53-man roster to cripple the New England Patriots offense and depth by whiffing on multiple top picks every other year. It’s another type of problem when New England is being out-coached and its own players make so many undisciplined and baffling mistakes. Robert Kraft will give Belichick the remainder of the season, but after that, this franchise desperately needs a change from top to bottom and that includes at quarterback. [-6]
30th - Staff (The Score): This week, we identify one post that sums up every team’s season so far. Judy Battista: “The worst two losses of Bill Belichick’s career have come in back to back weeks — unchartered territory for owner Robert Kraft, who was frustrated by last season and expected the playoffs this season.” [-3]
31st - Nate Davis (USA Today): If the dynasty wasn’t already dead, then life support has officially been unplugged. Bill Belichick wants to “start over” after suffering the two worst defeats of his career with an offense that’s been shut out of the end zone for 10 consecutive quarters and has turned it over 10 times. [-8]
31st - Ryan Dunleavy (NY Post). [-7]
32nd - Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk): The knives are out for a chronic curmudgeon who can’t coach his way out of a growing list of mistakes. [-5]
AVG RANK: 28.9 (-4.3)