Talk of the Patriots’ demise might have been overstated.
While New England has owned one of the NFL’s top records for the majority of the season, the reigning Super Bowl champions haven’t really looked like a formidable bunch over the past few months. The defense has remained stellar, but Tom Brady and Co.’s ongoing struggles prompted many to write off the Patriots’ chances of reaching Super Sunday for a fourth consecutive season.
But in New England’s most important game of the season to date, the offense delivered and then some — and FS1’s Chris Broussard thinks their performance put the rest of the league on notice.
Brady was sharp, completing nearly 80 percent of his passes to go along with 271 passing yards and a touchdown in an AFC East-clinching win over the Bills. But perhaps more importantly, the Patriots were able to establish their running game against a stout Buffalo defense. Broussard on Monday didn’t seem shocked by New England’s well-rounded offensive performance, and he seems to believe the team is trending in the right direction at the perfect time.
“To me, it’s not a coincidence,” Broussard said on FS1’s “First Things First.” “This locker room and this culture being made up of gamers. They understand the stakes are getting higher and they’re starting to play their best football. They’ve had trouble running the football. Sony Michel hasn’t been great this year, but all of a sudden against a great Buffalo defense, now Sony can run the ball and almost get 100 yards and they can run it as a team well? Buffalo was stacking the box and they still couldn’t stop them.
“Then Brady all of a sudden, he spreads the ball. It’s not just Julian Edelman anymore. It’s not just James White. Seven receivers caught at least three passes. To me, it is not a coincidence that they came out and played such a great game against a top team heading into the playoffs. So I do think they’re going to be dangerous in the postseason.”
New England can strengthen its Super Bowl LIV aspirations by taking care of business against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. A Week 17 win over their division rival would ensure the Patriots a first-round bye and at least one postseason game in Foxboro.