As it stands, Dominique Foxworth doesn’t believe the Patriots are a serious threat to win Super Bowl LVI.
But the NFL cornerback-turned-analyst believes there’s a strategical change New England can make that would legitimize its Lombardi Trophy aspirations.
“I’ve been rooting for them to kind of take the reins off of Mac Jones and they’ve done it a little bit more,” Foxworth said Wednesday on ESPN’s “Get Up,” as transcribed by Boston.com. “But I think if we were going to consider them legitimate contenders, they’re going to have to let him throw the ball a lot more than they have up until this point, and take more aggressive shots down the field.”
Foxworth believes the Patriots also might be able to benefit from the “mess” that is the AFC. Every team in the conference has at least two losses including the currently top-seeded Tennessee Titans, who won’t have all-world running back Derrick Henry for the remainder of the season.
New England’s Super Bowl hopes obviously would be strengthened by winning the AFC East. That’s still very much a possibility, as the 4-4 Patriots still have two head-to-head matchups against the 5-2 Bills left on the docket. Buffalo also has to play both the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road in the second half of the regular season.
The Patriots showed shades of being a contender last Sunday when they upset the Chargers in Los Angeles, but they now need to prove that Week 8 triumph wasn’t a fluke. That effort begins Sunday when New England visits the Carolina Panthers, another team that likely will need to scratch and claw if it wants to reach the playoffs.