It’s almost become commonplace for the New England Patriots to cause a premature panic with a slow September start, only to turn it on and win the AFC East convincingly.
The Patriots once again have started slow in 2018, going 1-2 over the first three weeks due to a troubled passing game and a defense that has trouble getting to third down, let alone getting off the field on third down.
Many fans and pundits are tempering their panic ahead of New England’s critical Week 4 tilt with the Miami Dolphins. Miami enters the game at 3-0 and in first place in the division and can put the Patriots behind the eight ball with a win Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
While it might not be time to panic yet, FOX Sports’ Nick Wright believes that a loss to the Dolphins should cause everyone in Patriots Nation to hit the alarm.
“Frank Gore is the only person on the Dolphins who’s won in this building, who’s won at Gillette,” Wright said Friday on “First Things First.” “And he did it not as a Dolphin, he did it as a San Francisco 49er. And that’s not to make the point that he brings some knowledge, but it’s to the point that nobody in the AFC East goes to New England and wins. With Tom Brady at quarterback since 2007, they are 27-1 at home against the AFC East, and the one loss was a Week 17 game that Brady didn’t play the second half.
“So if Brady actually plays, from 07 to now, they are 27-0. So I say that to say this, if the Pats lose this weekend it is officially panic time. It is not the typical slow start. It is not, ‘Oh, wait til November.’ It is uncharted waters. Three straight losses would be the first since ’02, 1-3 would be the worst start in almost 20 years for them, and to lose a divisional home game that matters, something they haven’t done since prior to the undefeated season. It would be official panic time in New England if they lose this weekend.”
The Patriots haven’t looked like the team they were expected to be through three weeks, but this is the type of game Tom Brady and Bill Belichick usually win to begin righting the ship.