New England would like to regain its past glory, so they need to improve on both sides of the ball in a few areas.
After a retooling season in 2020, the Patriots found themselves in the familiar territory during the 2021 season: back in the playoffs. The Patriots started the season with two wins and four losses, went on a seven-game win streak, then had a shaky end and lost in the playoffs. There were plenty of ups and downs during the year.
We will focus on what the team needs to do to make the playoffs again and possibly advance this time.
One: Improve On Big Plays
Mac Jones’ rookie season was nothing short of a success. He had a good statistical season and showed good poise. However, since it was only his rookie season, he still has some areas to improve. The Patriots lacked big plays. While this may not have been a problem in previous years, it is a glaring problem now. With Josh Allen, Mahomes, Burrow, Herbert, and more in the conference, the Patriots need to match the firepower of other offenses.
The ability to get big plays and score quickly is essential in today’s game, and it’s very tough to win without it. The Patriots responded by drafting the speedy Tyquan Thornton and getting a true #1 receiver in Devante Parker. With overall improvement from the newer Patriots’ receivers like Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor, with integrating into Tyquan Thornton and Devante Parker well, the Patriots could get the big plays they need in 2022.
Splash passing plays are also helpful to the inside run game because the defense needs to spend more resources on the threat of plays downfield, leaving more space for the running backs to manipulate.
Two: Defensive Consistency
While this may seem odd to say, at first sight, a Bill Belichick-led defense in 2021 lacked consistency. During certain games, the defense looked like the best in the league, rushing the quarterback and locking down receivers. During other games, they would allow opposing offenses to dominate them. During their seven-game win streak, the Patriots’ defense was elite; it cooled down. The most notable game was against the Bills, where the Patriots didn’t force a single punt. So there is certainly room to improve for the defense.
You would never know whether the elite or below-average defense would show up. With a young quarterback, one of the most important things is for the defense to step up. An underrated loss the Patriots had during the season was Jonathan Jones. Jones was a reliable slot corner option. Although they still had J.C. Jackson, in today’s game, more than one receiver can hurt you.
The Patriots are at their best when their defense is at their best. There is lots of talent on the defense, and the ability to be a great defense is there. Bill Belichick’s good cohesion with this defense group is key to a successful 2022 season.
Three: Turning Red Zone Chances Into Touchdowns
Another problem that appeared was the Patriots’ red zone offense. While it looked suitable for a few weeks, it could improve more. While the Patriots’ red zone offense finished pretty well, it had its highs and lows. During certain games, The Patriots had trouble getting touchdowns and settled for field goals instead. As mentioned before, the offenses today are becoming more and more dynamic. However, to win shootouts, they need to better punch the ball in for six.
This isn’t a glaring issue, but it can be better in 2022. Every point matters in today’s NFL and the Patriots are definitely in a position to be more efficient on red zone opportunities. There were games where the Patriots barely lost by only a couple of points, and the difference was due to settling for field goals instead of getting touchdowns. More chemistry with Hunter Henry will undoubtedly help. Also, Devante Parker can be instrumental with his contested catches.
Links To Our Socials, Other Articles & Paid Job Opportunities
Like Our Facebook Page. Check out our other articles @The Gillette Gazette. Are you an NFL fan? Have some takes you want to get out into the world? This is the place because we have plenty of opportunities at Stadium Rant spanning the whole NFL and more!