3 Patriots takeaways from overwhelming Week 7 win over Jets
Though their record may not show it, the New England Patriots are one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL right now. After a thoroughly monstrous 54-13 victory over the New York Jets, have won 3 out of their last 6, but easily could have been 5-1 over that stretch had they not fallen short in dramatic fashion against the electric Dallas Cowboys and reigning champ Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
These recent performances mean that Bill Belichick and Co. are well ahead of schedule on their rebuild, and the league may not get as long of a break from the Pats’ dominance as they would have liked. The Jets certainly felt that way, as Mac Jones carved them up for 306 yards and 2 touchdowns on 24/36 passing while Damien Harris combined with J.J. Taylor for 127 yards on 27 carries and a whopping 4 touchdowns on the ground.
New England sits at 3-4 now on the season, and on the outside looking in for a Wild Card spot. Will they be able to make a run at the playoffs this year, in Mac Jones’ first year as QB? Let’s take a close look at their Week 7 victory and find some key takeaways.
1. More Damien Harris = More wins
In the 5 games that Harris has received double-digit carries, he’s racked up 100+ yards in three of them, which included his monster game today. He gashed the Jets defense for 60 yards on the first two drives alone, and finished the day with an average of 7.5 yards per carry. He could have easily put up 120+ yards and 4 touchdowns if the Patriots chose to leave him in. Knowing that Harris is the best back in New England, though, it was wise to preserve his health in order to ensure he’s pounding defenses downhill in big winter games.
2. Belichick, McDaniels need to unleash Mac Jones
Week 7 saw the Pats break out the playbook for Jones much more than recent weeks, but he still has the reigns on in terms of utilizing his pre-snap reads to take full control of playcalling if he wishes. While that’s led to a passable passing offense for New England, they won’t have the chance to be elite until the coaching staff allows him more freedom. Mac’s passed all the tests thrown his way so far, and he deserves the opportunity to take this offense to the next level.
3. Pats’ trenches will lead them to the playoffs
While it’s great to see the gaudy numbers and the takeaways on defense, the key to all of New England’s success has been in the trenches. They manhandled the Jets’ front 7 and pressured both New York quarterbacks all game, which led to the huge ground numbers and 2 interceptions that the Patriots had. That’s also what kept the Pats in the game against Tampa and Dallas, and what could give them a real chance down the stretch as they fight into a playoff spot. Regardless of schedule, the Pats have shown they can beat good teams and will sneak in to a Wild Card spot.
Watch out league, the Patriots could be contenders well ahead of schedule this season.