This week the New England Patriots’ average drops down in the Power Rankings 1.1 points to 30th. With just a little extra push — a few thrown interceptions, maybe a couple extra “finger-tipped” third down passes — they can do it. Become the best of the worst. No. 32.
Remember though, no matter how far down the experts gleefully drop the Patriots, they do not control what really matters: the 2024 draft order. As of now, the 1-5 Chicago Bears own the top two picks in April. Next in line are the 1-5 Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants. New England holds No. 6. That’s bad, but not quite bad enough.
The next four games — vs. Buffalo Bills, at Miami Dolphins, vs. Washington Commanders and vs. Indianapolis Colts (in Germany) — will be key. The Colts game might be the tricky one, as they may have lost QB Anthony Richardson for the season and will be running with veteran Gardner Minchew. Let’s just say there’s a reason Minshew was a veteran pickup on a team with eight starting quarterbacks since Andrew Luck retired after 2018.
I’m always one to keep the faith, however, so more power to the Patriots no matter which direction they’re heading.
Around the AFC East:
New York Jets (3-3) - Bye Week
Cincinnati Bengals (3-3) - Bye Week
Houston Texans (3-3) - Bye Week
Tennessee Titans (2-4) - Bye Week
28th - Consensus (Bleacher Report): We’re witnessing history with the New England Patriots. That’s not new under Bill Belichick. But the history we’re witnessing is historic futility—and that most assuredly is.
Make no mistake. These Patriots are bad. Really bad. Mac Jones may well be the worst starting quarterback in the league. Belichick’s frustration level has reached the “break stuff” phase. As Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson wrote, though, on some level Belichick has no one to blame but himself for this dumpster fire of a team. At this point, more losses may well be the best thing for these anti-Patriots, as it gives them a better shot at an elite quarterback prospect. The question then becomes whether Belichick will be around next year when that quarterback arrives. It’s looking more and more like “no” with each ugly loss.
28th - Jarrett Bailey (Touchdown Wire): Every great empire falls- Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and now, New England. The Patriots went 10 quarters without scoring a touchdown and their expired Yoplait yogurt cup at quarterback is throwing to a bunch of guys that no one else wanted. They are a bad football team. [-2]
29th - Karen Guregian (MassLive): They’re not onto Buffalo. They’re onto playing out the string. Time to think about the future, not the present. [-1]
29th - Staff (The Ringer): I thought rock bottom for the Patriots was when they lost 38-3 to the Cowboys. Then I thought rock bottom was losing 34-0 at home to the Saints in Week 5. But Week 6 brought yet another new low, a 21-17 loss to Josh McDaniels’s Raiders. Sure, at least the Patriots scored a touchdown this week (though it took till the third quarter to do it), but everything about this team is messy—it committed four pre-snap penalties in the loss to the Raiders, it had a field goal and a touchdown wiped off because of penalties, and Mac Jones had yet another bad game. So maybe the answer here is there is no bottom; these Patriots simply are who they are: an undisciplined team lacking talent, with a bad quarterback and a coach who seems out of answers for how to fix things —Lindsay Jones. [-2]
29th - Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): They competed against the Raiders, which is progress. It’s hard to believe it’s come down to that for this group. [nc]
29th - Eric Edholm (NFL.com): It’s broken-record time, as the Patriots once again fell in an early (double-digit) hole they couldn’t pull themselves out of, stricken by too many mistakes. At least the Patriots showed some fight, as they gave themselves a remote chance to pull off a comeback against the Raiders. Following the blowouts to Dallas and New Orleans, it’s progress. But for anyone holding out hope that there’s some untapped Bill Belichick magic, I’d remind them that the roster is in incredibly tough shape. Even in August, with nearly everyone healthy, the personnel (especially on offense) felt thin compared to the other AFC East teams. Now, with so much of the defense banged up, it’s not pretty. Oh, and the Bills and Dolphins are up next. [nc]
29th - Dalton Miller (Pro Football Network): The Patriots are a complete disaster. Mac Jones has apparently watched too much All-22 of the more mobile quarterbacks in the NFL because he’s out there attempting physics-defying throws … for him. [nc]
30th - NFL Nation (ESPN): Lesson learned: The offense is holding them back. The Patriots are the only team in the NFL not to score more than 20 points in a game this season. A combination of shaky offensive line play (31st in pass-block win rate, 44.1%), receivers not coming through when the opportunity presents itself (e.g. DeVante Parker’s drop on a beautiful deep ball late in Sunday’s loss) and Mac Jones’ turnover struggles (three returned for touchdowns in blowout losses in Weeks 4 and 5) has put the defense in a tough spot — especially early in games. — Mike Reiss. [nc]
30th - Matt Johnson (SportsNaut): At this point, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has no other choice. Bill Belichick built this entire roster, he hand-picked his coaching staff and everything he believes in is ingrained in the Patriots’ DNA. It’s also why New England is one of the NFL’s most unwatchable teams in 2023. At this point, the Patriots should be tanking for Drake Maye and Belichick shouldn’t have the opportunity to coach him. [nc]
30th - Josh Schrock (NBC Sports Chicago): I think it’s time for Mac Jones and the Patriots to agree to see other people. [nc]
31st - Staff (TheScore): What isn’t disappointing about the Patriots right now? Mac Jones has been brutal, the receiving corps lacks playmakers, the new offensive system is somehow no better than the last, and Bill Belichick bears responsibility for it all. Everything is bad in New England. [-1]
31st - Ryan Dunleavy (NY Post). [nc]
31st - Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports): The Patriots’ next two games are against the Bills and Dolphins. This could continue to spiral downward for New England. The next question is how long Mac Jones can keep his starting job if the Patriots continue to look this bad. [-3]
31st - Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): Bill Belichick has good reason to throw tablets. The offense was still inept in Las Vegas with Mac Jones and his receivers, despite the running game rolling. The defense did its job, but this is definitely his worst Patriots team since 2000, pre Tom Brady. [-2]
31st - Nate Davis (USA Today): Among their many, many failings? No team has fewer takeaways (3). And no team has a higher percentage of drives (81.7%) that end without points. [nc]
32nd - Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk): Bill Belichick will own the all-time record for losses before setting the all-time record for wins (if he ever does). [nc]
32nd - Conor Orr (SI): The Patriots faked the cool field goal block thing! Did you see that!? That was neat. Totally worth the re-watch of that game. Totally worth the time in my life I won’t get back. In all seriousness, the rest of this season should be an audit. Bill Belichick said it best: the Patriots need to start over. Keep Jabrill Peppers for finally doing something about all the free space Las Vegas was gobbling over the middle of the field and knocking loose an interception, though. [-7]
AVG RANK: 30 (-1.1)