Patriots still find way to get the win with the NFL's worst defense
October 17, 2017 3:09 AM
by Alan Berg
As much as things change, they stay the same someone once said, and year after year it seems to apply to the NFL.
First the New England Patriots moved to 4-2, barely beating the New York Jets 24-17, thanks in a large part to bad ruling costing the Jets the tying touchdown. Now it’s likely Tom Brady would have just marched the Pats right down the field to seal the win but we will never know.
What we do know is the Patriots have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. We are six games into the season and it’s clear they aren’t good. They are dead last in the league in yards given up per game (440.7), tied for last in points allowed (159) with the Indianapolis Colts, although the Colts hadn’t played yet. The stats keep piling up – yards per play 6.6, worst in the league; third worst in points per game, 26.5. Jets QB Josh McCown looked closer to Tom Brady last week than, well… Josh McCown.
All that being said, Patriots remain in first place but were unable to cover the -9 spread on the road. Fact is they weren’t ever really close. Anyone who felt comfortable when Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 28-yarder to lead by 10, were lying to themselves if they thought the Patriots defense could hold the lead.
Next up is the Atlanta Falcons coming into town, followed by the L.A. Chargers to Foxboro. Honestly, nothing would surprise me now. I actually hope the Falcons lose this week because I would be on the Chargers big the following week.
Watch out for the NFL teams that can run the ball and rush the passer. The Chargers would be really dangerous but I think they are having a hard time dealing with the situation the owner has put them in at “home games.” No one wants the Chargers in L.A., so I expect them to thrive on the road this year and maybe if they can get hot they can salvage the season. Melvin Gordon is starting to turn it on.
After a 2-2 week that featured a classic Takeover OVER, let’s see if we can find a few more overs this week.
Chiefs (-3, 47) at Raiders: While I am not sure the Raiders “bounce back” here, I think Oakland will score some points, forcing the Chiefs to keep pace. Both teams are the middle of the pack on defense as far as points allowed but both teams are in the bottom 10 in yards allowed. OVER
Bengals at Steelers (-6, 41): Fresh off a much-needed win over Kansas City, Pittsburgh hosts division rival Cincinnati. The “Bungals” started the season 0-3 and looked like one of the worst teams in the league thanks to an abysmal play-calling scheme, horrible offensive line protection and QB Andy Dalton holding onto the ball too long. All that added up to disaster but Cincy recovered with two straight wins before the bye against Cleveland and Buffalo. Obviously the Bills game carries more weight considering they actually have won a game this season. I don’t think this game will be as defensive as people anticipate. OVER
Falcons at Patriots (-3.5, 54.5): Talk about the circled game in the preseason. Atlanta, after an embarrassing home loss to the Miami Dolphins, head to New England, the source of their Super Bowl disaster last season. Maybe the Falcons were looking ahead to next week in the second half of the game against the Dolphins, maybe it never factored in, but if the Falcons win another game this season this is the one they want to win. That said, I still can’t bring myself to bet against Brady and Bill Belichick. OVER