Kicks N’ Cleats
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Kicks N’ Cleats

The Dynasty Is Back on Top

Did anyone really think New England would go away that easily?

Everything seemed to have run its course following the 2020 NFL season. Tom Brady had left New England, leading to a 7–9 season for the Patriots. The dynasty was finally over.

I guess the entire NFL was given false hope.

After a 20 year run in which the New England Patriots were continuously the favorite, history once again appears to be repeating itself. The Pats’ 7–9 record last season was merely just a quick reset. Bill Belichick and company are back.

The Patriots’ dynasty appeared to have ended during the 2020 season. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Sitting atop of the AFC with a record of 9–4, New England has as good a chance as anyone to reach the Super Bowl. But how did we get to this point? Simply put, Belichick knows exactly what he’s doing.

Bill saw his team during the 2020 season and knew it didn’t have the talent to compete at the highest level. This led to a very non-Patriot way of business during the offseason.

New England is notoriously known for not spending big on free agents. Even during the Tom Brady era, the Patriots would consistently low-ball offers and let players walk who demanded big money. This offseason however, was different.

The Patriots flipped the script, and spent the most money out of any team in free agency. They brought in guys like Matthew Judon, Hunter Henry, and Kendrick Bourne. All of which have been key pieces in New England’s run this season. Bourne leads the team in receiving yards with 623. Henry leads the team in receiving touchdowns with seven. And last but certainly not least, Matthew Judon leads the team and ranks third in the NFL with 12.5 sacks.

Matthew Judon has been New England’s best signing, totaling 12.5 sacks. Nancy Lane/Boston Herald

New England didn’t stop the improvements there either. Perhaps the most important move the Patriots made this offseason was finding their quarterback. Belichick knew Cam Newton wasn’t enough to win with after the 2020 season. Instead, the Patriots decided to draft a QB in the first round for the first time since 1993. Enter Mac Jones.

Jones has been better than many expected, currently leading the Offensive Rookie of the Year race. The former Alabama QB has totaled 2,869 yards, 16 touchdowns, and eight interceptions in 13 games this season.

So where have these additions gotten New England?

Well as I previously mentioned, the Patriots are currently the one seed in the AFC with a record of 9–4. A mark which will likely only improve over these last few weeks as they are set to play the Bills, Jaguars, Dolphins, and Colts. New England could easily win three if not all of those games, essentially locking up the first round bye.

Mac Jones is proving to be everything New England had hoped for. Michael Dwyer/AP Photo

Along with a top record, the Patriots have also been statistically dominant this year. Their offense ranks eighth in points scored, led by a top-fifteen passer (Mac Jones ranks 13th in passing yards) and a top-twelve rusher (Damien Harris ranks 11th in rushing yards). Their defense on the other hand has been even more dominant, allowing the fewest points per game (15.4).

Basically it’s stacking up for New England to once again be favored to reach the Super Bowl. They have a top-ten offense and defense, they’re not going to beat themselves (they rank third in turnover differential), they have a solid offensive line that’s only getting healthier, and they showed yesterday they can win in any conditions (beating Buffalo while throwing just three times). Oh and on top of that they have the greatest coach of all time likely equipped with the one seed. Best of luck to the rest of the AFC. New England is officially back in business.

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Jacob Burns

Jacob Burns

University at Buffalo ’20 | BA in Communication | Writer for The Sports Scientist & Kicks N’ Cleats

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