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Tuesday, 03 December 2019 13:56

Patriots Progress Report - Third Quarter 2019

Safe to say that the New England Patriots team of the past four weeks isn’t quite the dominant force it was over the season’s first half. 2-2 isn’t the worst thing in the world – especially if it puts you at double-digit wins – but there’s no disputing that the Pats have come back to the pack.

Much of the onus for that regression has to be laid on the offense – the team has struggled to score and things seem just a bit … off. The defense has largely maintained its high level of performance, though they did show glimpses of what this team might look like if that D struggles.

Still, New England remains comfortable atop the AFC East, with a two-game cushion over Buffalo. This stretch did see them cede their spot as overall top seed in the conference, however. Regardless, this is a playoff team, even if their general performance this last month wasn’t quite up to par.

Let’s look at the month that was, shall we?

On to the Progress Report.

Published in Sports

Ho hum – another year, another undefeated start.

Someday, the New England Patriots are not going to be watch-settingly excellent every season. Someday, fans of the team will be left to wonder whether their beloved squad will have what it takes to make it to the postseason. Someday, the regular season outcome will be in doubt.

Today is not that day.

Tom Brady and company have once again started the season by winning their first four games. This initial quarter of the season could not have gone any better, with a trio of dominant performances followed by a hard-fought victory against a Buffalo team that is going to be considerably better than anyone really expected (on the defensive side, especially).

In basic terms, the fundamental goal in football is to score as many points as you can while giving up as few as you can. Simple. And after four games, there’s not one team in the NFL that can say they’re better at those two things together than the Patriots. As good? Maybe. But better? Not a chance.

Welcome back to the Progress Report.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 05 December 2018 15:13

Patriots Progress Report 2018 - Third Quarter

No one who has been a fan of the New England Patriots for any length of time would view this incarnation of the team as a particularly exceptional one. And yet … they’re 9-3 with an AFC playoff spot well in hand.

This last quarter of the season hasn’t been all that impressive, but the Pats still won three of four games. Sure, the competition wasn’t necessarily top-tier; they beat the Packers, the Jets and the Vikings while losing to the Titans of all teams. It wasn’t exciting football – all four games were won by multiple scores.

But hey – wins are wins.

This team might not be the powerhouse squad to which fans have grown accustomed over the years, but nine wins put New England in the mix for a first-round playoff bye; they even have the edge in potential tiebreakers for the top seed. The ongoing run of excellence continues.

On to the Progress Report.

Published in Sports

It’s safe to say that the second quarter of the Patriots season was a heck of a lot better than the first quarter. After a rough start to the season, New England has cruised to victory in each of the last four games.

They haven’t all been easy. And a couple of them have been quite a bit closer than fans might like. There has been an uncomfortable amount of doing just enough to win – one-score victories over the Chiefs and the Bears left us sweating it out until the end.

But in the end, a win is a win. And four wins is four wins.

The offense definitely picked up steam and the defense held up its end of the bargain (albeit just barely at times). It’s the sort of strong stretch of play against some good teams that instills confidence in the team’s viability going forward.

The .500 team from the first quarter is gone. This is the New England Patriots squad we expected to see – one that appears poised to march to yet another AFC East title and a deep postseason run.

On to the Progress Report.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 03 October 2018 12:26

Patriots Progress Report 2018 – First Quarter

It seems like just yesterday that the Patriots were utterly failing to stop the Philadelphia Eagles offense in the Super Bowl. And yet here we are, already a quarter of the way through the new season.

It has been a rocky road for the Pats thus far – and that’s putting it in far gentler terms than some of the team’s more hardcore supporters might. It hasn’t been an outright dreadful start, but considering the expectations, 2-2 isn’t exactly great.

New England has only looked really good once so far, and that was against a suspect Miami team. They were OK at best against the Texans and worse than that against the Jags. And of course, they were awful against the Lions.

Add it all up and it starts to look like maybe this season won’t be the cakewalk to the playoffs that many of us anticipated. Still, what’s done is done – let’s look back at how we got here.

And now, ladies and gentlemen - the Progress Report.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 01 May 2018 16:35

Your newest New England Patriots

This past weekend, the future of the NFL was unfolding in Dallas.

The NFL Draft took place over the course of three days as representatives from all 32 teams selected players from among the cream of the collegiate crop in an effort to separate the wheat from the chaff and hopefully land the next NFL superstars.

The Patriots haven’t been major players early in the draft for some time, but this year saw New England pick in the first round for the first time since 2015 – and they did it TWICE.

Don’t worry: Bill Belichick and company did plenty of wheeling and dealing in the middle rounds, moving up and down, stockpiling future picks (and landing offensive lineman Trent Brown) along the way.

Still, there’s something exciting about New England actually adding first-rounders to a team that made it to the Super Bowl last season. And they actually used more draft picks than usual; their haul of nine picks more than doubles the total of four they selected in 2017. New doesn’t always equal better, but it’ll be exciting to see how this all plays out.

Let’s meet the new guys.

(Obligatory annual caveat: This is not an effort to grade the Patriots draft class. Literally nothing has changed about any of these players except that they have been given an opportunity to potentially make an NFL roster. As to whether any or all of them cash in on that opportunity, well … I can’t say. And neither can anyone else, no matter how authoritative the sound on TV or on the internet. Grading a draft that just happened is nonsense; a worthless exercise. This is just an introduction.)

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 20 March 2018 16:44

An exodus from New England

Patriots say so long to some free agent talents

Published in Sports

There’s no question that the New England Patriots finished out the 2017 regular season strong.

The final four weeks saw the Pats put up a 3-1 record – including winning their final three in a row. It was more than enough to put them at the top of their division. Not only did they win the East, but they’re the top seed in the AFC, currently looking forward to a first-round playoff bye.

In the season’s final four games, New England found their way to victory even when certain parts of the team weren’t necessarily performing at an optimal level. This is a squad that never really put it all together in the final month, yet here they are, a championship favorite.

Even with an uneven performance in recent weeks, the Patriots still look poised to make some noise. Let’s look back at how they got here. After all, this feature is about what has been, not what is yet to come.

On to the Progress Report.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 11:49

Patriots Progress Report 2017 - Third Quarter

It seems safe to say that the New England Patriots are currently firing on all cylinders.

The Pats have looked dominant in winning their last four games – a stretch that runs their overall streak to eight straight. Sure, their opponents haven’t been great teams, but wins are wins.

It looks as though New England has things figured out on both sides of the ball. The struggles of the season’s first month are little more than a fading memory at this point – this team looks very much like the squad that had pundits drooling in the preseason.

Will they be able to keep it up against a higher echelon of competition? That remains to be seen. But right now, we’re talking about what has been, rather than what will be.

And what has been is four wins. Another great month.

On to the Progress Report.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 04 October 2017 10:58

Patriots Progress Report – First Quarter

If this first quarter of the season is any indication, 2017 is going to be one hell of an up-and-down roller coaster ride for fans of the New England Patriots.

Considering that there were serious conversations about New England’s chances of running the table before the season started, it’s tough not be disappointed with a 2-2 start. Yes, there have been a number of injury issues that have contributed to these early struggles, but still – sitting at .500 after four games is not where anyone expected this team to be.

That’s not to say that the season’s first month has been all bad. There have been plenty of things to be excited about. And hey – up and down, round and round, it’s still the Patriots.

And now, the Progress Report.

Published in Sports
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