Where Patriots Land On Colin Cowherd’s NFL Power Rankings Entering Week 15

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December 12, 2019

Colin Cowherd isn’t incredibly high on the Patriots, but he isn’t counting them out just yet.

New England has been dreadful offensively over the past handful of weeks, which has served as a leading factor in the team going 2-3 in its last five games. The Patriots’ rushing attack effectively is nonexistent, and Tom Brady only seems to fully trust a few weapons in his arsenal.

A single-faceted offense worries Cowherd about New England as the postseason nears. But “The Herd” host believes the Patriots, who he posted at No. 6 in his latest NFL power rankings, excel enough in the other two phases of the game to remain competitive.

“Here’s an interesting number with New England, and this is troubling. This tells you a lot about this offense. Tom Brady has passed the ball 522 times this year, leads the NFL. You really want your 42-year-old quarterback leading the NFL in pass attempts? Know what that tells you? Their running game stinks, too,” Cowherd said Monday on FS1. “You can bank on Brady, but they’re not running the football and that’s an offensive line issue because, I mean, James White and Sony Michel are fine. So, they’re forcing Brady to throw to rookies, undrafted guys, Julian Edelman. They don’t have a running game component. Now, they are a league-leading plus-19 turnover differential and they’ve blocked four punts. So, they’re going to get better field position, they’re going to outsmart you, they’re going to block an occasional punt, they’re going to take the ball away from you and almost never give it back. So, that gives them a puncher’s chance in these big games with more talented teams.”

While the Patriots’ defense and special teams are strong, as Cowherd mentions, these units only can mask the offense’s shortcomings so much. Brady and Co. last season struggled to consistently find success through the air, but they were able to chug along in the playoffs thanks to a ground-and-pound brand of football. New England still features the same faces in the backfield from a campaign ago, but a shaky and inconsistent offensive line might prevent the club from ever becoming a legitimate rushing threat.

As such, trying to capture another Lombardi Trophy with a collectively mediocre supporting cast — in his 20th season, no less — might be Brady’s toughest challenge to date.

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