What? What’s that you say? You’re wondering how in the hell I’m going to put a positive spin on the worst loss of Bill Belichick’s career in which the New England Patriots dropped to 1-3 and the team lost two of its best defensive weapons?
That’s a good question. I have absolutely no idea. So here goes nuthin.
1. Non-conference loss. I don’t think it’s going to matter one way or another, but on the extremely off chance that the Patriots are in the playoff conversation come January, this game isn’t going to factor in. Where it’s more likely to factor in is in 2024, when the Patriots are likely to be drafting in the top 10 if they keep playing like this. So in a way, it’s kind of a win here.
2. Turning point. How the team responds to this loss is going to speak volumes about where the Patriots go for the rest of 2023. That loss was as bad as it gets, and the whole team should be embarrassed this week. They also lost their best pass rusher and their best corner as the offense continued to do absolutely nothing.
Two things can happen from here: they either allow this loss to stew and fester and negatively impact the rest of the year, or it can be the kick in the pants the Patriots need to turn a corner and go on a tear. I’m hoping that this loss will be the 2014 Monday Night Chiefs game of the 2023 season. But we’ll have to wait and see.
3. Winnable games. The Patriots have a stretch of very winnable games coming down the pike right now. The Saints, Raiders, Commanders, Colts, Giants, Chargers, Broncos, Jets, and Steelers are all games I can 100 percent see the Patriots winning. They also might be able to steal a win against Buffalo or Miami too, as divisional matchups are always wonky.
If they win the games they’re supposed to win and take one of the Bills and/or Dolphins games, that’s an 11-win season. Of course, they way that they’ve been playing thus far, I can also 100 percent see them losing all of those games, but since this is an article about putting a positive spin on whatever the hell we watched on Sunday, I’m going to remain optimistic and say that we’ll hopefully have a string of wins coming our way over the next two months.
4. Recalibrating the season. With New England sitting at 1-3 with their only win coming against the lowly Jets, we have an opportunity to reset out expectations for the 2023 season. As I just mentioned, there’s for sure a chance that they turn it around, but it’s just as realistic to expect more of the same in the coming weeks until the season is basically over. And if that happens, it’s all about taking each game for what it is and evaluating future talent for 2024.
There’s some fun to be had in that, and I mean that sincerely. Once you accept that your team is bad (I’m not there yet, be gentle), there’s something very Zen about the process of rooting for them. And you start to find joy in things like first downs and any kind of points.
5. Yet to play a full game. We have yet to see this team play at full strength with all of the starters healthy, so who knows what the ceiling of this team is. Maybe once everyone gets healthy and the Patriots get all of their corners and linemen back, this team will surprise us. Probably not, to be honest, but what do you want from me? I’m already grasping at straws and it’s not even Halloween yet.