In a vacuum, the Patriots should be excited about Sunday’s outcome.

New England bounced back from its Week 9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and earned a hard-fought win in Philadelphia against an Eagles team that needed a victory far more than its counterpart. But thanks to another forgettable performance from the Patriots’ offense, the reigning Super Bowl champs actually might have left the City of Brotherly Love with more questions than answers.

Tom Brady certainly didn’t hide his frustration after the game, and New England now is tasked with locking down its offensive identity over the next six weeks. Given the Patriots’ current personnel, Chris Simms believes it might be in their best interest to revert back to their old ways.

“It’s honestly like it’s gone full circle,” Simms said Monday on NBC Sports. “This is a little bit how it was for him (Brady) to start his career, right? It was, ‘Man, we’re gonna run the ball.’ We’re just gonna manage the game offensively and Brady would make a few big throws every game in some big moments and you’d go, ‘Man, they did it.’ Their defense was really good. Of course, he started to get better and better as every year went by and he just started to take over whenever he wanted. I don’t think the supporting system around him offensively right now is good enough, and him at age 42, he’s not gonna be able to just carry the team all the time, week by week. Yeah, they’re gonna kind of have to play that style here down the stretch.”

This method of operation worked for the Patriots last season. After failing to build a consistent, high-end passing attack, New England leaned on its running game in the latter stages of the regular season and into the playoffs. With their defense operating at a high level, the Patriots’ ground-and-pound style paid dividends and opened the door for Brady to make the occasional big throws. It’s unclear whether New England would find success going this route this season, however, as it has received shaky offensive line play for the bulk of the campaign.

The Patriots will look to find some semblance of a groove on offense Sunday when they welcome the Dallas Cowboys to Gillette Stadium.

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