The Patriots were delivered a slice of humble pie Sunday night in Baltimore.
New England is unbeaten no more, as the reigning Super Bowl champions were handed their first loss of the season via the Ravens. The Patriots, who effectively coasted through the first eight weeks of the season, had multiple weaknesses exposed against Lamar Jackson and Co., who are shaping up to be a legitimate Super Bowl threat in the AFC.
But despite the likes of the Ravens and Houston Texans, Boomer Esiason still believes the conference crown goes through Foxboro. The former quarterback’s view of New England doesn’t appear to have changed in the slightest in wake of the team’s latest result.
“Absolutely. 100 percent. It’s a long season,” Esiason said Monday on the “Greg Hill Show,” as transcribed by WEEI, when asked if the Patriots still should be considered the AFC favorites. “Yesterday was a weird day. Every team in the NFC lost. If your last name was Allen and you played quarterback you won, there were three of those. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers had their asses handed to them yesterday. The Indianapolis Colts lost another starting quarterback. So there was a lot of weird stuff happening in the NFL yesterday, including last night’s 37-20 victory by the Ravens.”
Esiason continued: “They (Patriots) stepped into a hornet’s nest last night. I’ve seen this before, especially in Baltimore. They can do that to you. With Lamar Jackson playing the way he played last night, boy, he’s going to be difficult to deal with the rest of the way. That’s why Bill Belichick said earlier in the week, ‘He’s a problem.’ Yeah, he’s a problem all right. He’s about as fast as they come at the position. He’s faster than Michael Vick. I don’t know that he necessarily throws the ball as well as Michael Vick did. His running prowess is evident and everybody can see it. Even though I thought going into this game that they would have something for him that would change the way that he play, obviously they have to go back to the drawing board.
“Nobody’s seen anything like this offense. I still say when it all comes down to it it’s going to come down to having to throw the ball from the pocket when the game is on the line at some point for Lamar and the Baltimore Ravens. And they are going to have to do it in a big spot in the playoffs. This is in the middle of the season, it was a very hostile environment, there was a lot of emotion running through the Ravens. They can do that to you on a Sunday or a Monday night in their building. They do have a fast defense. But if not for maybe a Julian Edelman fumble in the second half maybe things are a little bit different. So it was a game of ebbs and flows in momentum. When you have a nine-minute or a nine-and-a-half minute drive late in a game, that kind of tells you who’s a little bit more forceful, who’s getting beat down pretty good and I would think that if you are a defensive player for the Patriots this morning, you are licking your chops because that was a pretty bad performance on their part.”
While New England still should be viewed as the team to beat in the AFC at present, there’s a chance that could change in the coming weeks. Following a Week 10 bye, the Patriots will embark on a tough four-game stretch of matchups against the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Texans and Kansas City Chiefs. New England had the luxury of a light schedule in the early goings, but it’s now time for the Patriots to show what they’re really made of.
Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images