The date is November 1st, 2020, and New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton fumbles the ball within the last minute while in field goal range, ensuring a win for the Buffalo Bills, who were only holding on by a three-point margin. The Patriots are now 2–5 and the hate articles and comments are coming in bunches.
“Cam is washed up”, “The Pats are done” were talking points that have been thrown around in the past few weeks, and it was probably very refreshing for Patriots haters. New England was finally vulnerable for the first time in two decades, and the salt that existed was ready to be fully embraced.
Two weeks later and the Patriots are 4–5 and now deserve some apologies. This column is not meant to say that the Patriots are Super Bowl favorites and will finish the regular season 11–5. It is meant to instead express how jumping on a struggling team is always a recipe for disaster.
The Patriots have been jumped on many times in the past several years. Many claimed that quarterback Tom Brady was past his prime during the 2014 season when the Patriots lost to the Chiefs 41–14 on national television. The Patriots instead charged back and won a Super Bowl that year.
The Pats of 2020 are different than the Pats of 2014 or any year within the past two decades. There is a new quarterback, many young, inexperienced players getting lots of playing time, and several games left in which they are the perceived underdogs.
They will most likely not make the playoffs and may not reach .500, and that is probably a good thing for the parity of the league. While that may be a likely scenario for the Patriots, it is certainly not a guarantee, and continued success in the running game and a gritty playstyle across all aspects of the game could bode danger for their remaining opponents.
Sunday night was a trap game for the Baltimore Ravens, and the Pats are officially still a team to be feared in the NFL. The best advice anyone could have now is to relax on the hate comments until the season ends, as betting against a down Patriots team is never a safe bet.