Ah, the New England Patriots. Whether it’s for their near-permanent state of success in the last fifteen years or their underhanded antics, people love to hate them. Well, we’ve some good news for you begrudging folks – here are five reasons why those big cheating b*stards won’t be winning the Super Bowl this year.
Pass Rush Predicament
Kony Ealy was supposed to be the big thing for the Patriots. He’d rush the passers and let their unheralded secondary jump on imperfect throws. He was signed in exchange for a second round draft pick. He’s already been released and has since joined the New York Jets.
Seventy per cent of the people reading this would probably be good enough to play for the Gang Green because they’re as effective as your Sunday League XI the day after a free bar at a whiskey magnate’s wedding. Trey Flowers missed his rookie season, but bounced back last year to lead the team in sacks. He’ll be taking double teams this year though, so not one but two blokes the size of Big Sam after a day at the Heart Attack Cafe will be looking after him.
Sebastian Vollmer. Rob Ninkovich. Julian Edelman. Tom Brady’s stood upright for some time because he has solid if not brilliant offensive lines in front of him.
This is in no small part down to the influence of Vollmer. He’s German, so he’s naturally efficient yet surprisingly hasn’t lost many wars in his time. His retirement alongside Rob Ninkovich’s will hamper the Pats in big moments. Ninkovich racked up forty-six sacks in his time in Foxboro.
You shouldn’t need to be informed about how good Julian Edelman is.
He could probably still be better than most receivers without his ACL. Once a quarterback in college at Kent State, Edelman became Brady’s favourite safety blanket. If you haven’t seen his Super Bowl LI catch, you’re missing out.
The Patriots basically gave up the farm to ensure Tom Brady would have another Super Bowl ring this year. While some of those risks look promising (Brandin Cooks), others (Kony Ealy) do not. The price of these shiny new toys came in the form of draft picks. They didn’t have a pick inside the first eighty-two. With the eighty-third selection, they drafted Derek Rivers. He’s torn his ACL.
Their only other three picks look exceptionally underwhelming.
Antonio Garcia is an offensive tackle from the Sun Belt Conference. That’s a bit like signing a bloke who can’t get his game at a Vanarama Conference South side and wondering why he’s not good enough to play for Chelsea.
The Patriots have won thirteen of the last fourteen divisional titles. Don’t worry, we’re not daft enough to suggest they won’t win it this year. Their cheerleaders could probably finish with an 8-8 record. The Buffalo Bills, the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins could potentially be three of the worst teams in football. The Jets will almost certainly be the worst of the thirty-two, while Buffalo have reverted to a rebuild and given up most of their decent players.
The Miami Dolphins lost Ryan Tannehill to a season-ending injury and signed Jay Cutler from the FOX commentary booth.
Arsene Wenger could probably do worse than signing Martin Tyler at this stage, mind. They’ll not be tested in 40% of their games. That’s a dangerously comfortable mindset to fall into.
The New England Patriots did not win Super Bowl LI. The Atlanta Falcons produced the biggest bottle job since Liverpool’s title run-in, to hand them the Lombardi trophy.
Do not be fooled in thinking this team were the best in the country last year. They weren’t.
Kyle Shanahan, instead of running out the clock, decided to pass the ball. He’s since gotten a head coaching job in San Francisco. At least they’ll relate to his levels of embarrassment.
The over-confidence they’ll carry into the season will be startling. Before you say Bill Belichick will bring them down to earth – just remember – these are the cockiest athletes on the planet.