NEPD Staff Writer: Dan Hope
The New England Patriots are taking momentum into their bye week, coming off of their most dominant performance of the season in a 45-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams.
With a one-game lead in the AFC East, and on a two-game winning streak with three consecutive games against teams with losing records following the bye week, they are in good position to win their fourth consecutive division title, and 10th in the past 12 seasons. The Patriots also have the league’s best points differential, +92, with a league-leading 262 points scored compared to just 170 points allowed.
But while there are many positives about the Patriots’ first half of the season, and where they stand going into the second half with a 5-3 record, their first-half struggles should also not be ignored. Their three losses are more than they were expected to have at this point, and all three losses were the result of costly fourth-quarter mistakes. The Patriots have not lived up to expectations, and have some real issues that must be corrected going forward if they are to make it back to the Super Bowl.
With the bye week falling immediately at the halfway point of the regular season, these are five questions that the Patriots should be trying to find answers to before hitting the season’s homestretch.