Since 2001, Robert Kraft, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick have been at the helm for the most successful run in NFL history. Some of the best, most dominant football teams of all time have been 21st century New England squads. However, the 2019 Patriots should be aware of New England teams that started off on fire only to have their flames burn out.
The 2007 and 2015 New England Patriots both started off with impressive undefeated streaks. They looked unbeatable early on those seasons. But unfortunately, both teams ran out of steam at the end of the year.
The 2015 Patriots started off 10-0 before dropping four of their last six. Their poor play down the stretch, as well as bad injury luck, lead to playing the AFC Title game on the road… in Denver. The Broncos defense beat up Brady all day. A failed two point conversion in the final seconds sealed a Denver win. The Broncos moved on to the Super Bowl 50, where Peyton Manning captured that elusive second ring.
The 2007 Patriots story has been told over and over and will be told until the end of time. The offense started off that season on an improbable run. Looking back, it was too much success early on. Brady, Moss, and the offensive production took a hit in the final two playoff games. They managed five touchdowns in those two contests, yet turned the ball over four times. To be fair, the 2007 Patriots were a mere 162 seconds away from being 19-0…
The 2019 Patriots should take note of what happened to these insanely talented teams. They have a chance to accomplish feats that this organization, and most of the league, has never done.
Yes, everyone is talking about 19-0, but I am not even saying that. Of course that would be incredible as the last team to go undefeated in the NFL was the 1972 Dolphins, who finished 16-0. But there are even more attainable accomplishments that this team could reach. No Patriot team has has gone 15-1 and won the championship. (There have been three 14-2 Patriot championship teams, 2003, 2004, and 2016.) Some really smart writer pointed out last week that the Patriots have never enjoyed a blowout win in the Super Bowl.
New England may not face much adversity for the few weeks of the season. The next six opponents are the Dolphins, Jets, Bills, Redskins, Giants, and Jets. The season may prove to get interesting during week eight when the Patriots battle the Browns. Then they face 2018 playoff teams for five consecutive weeks. The Patriots go up against the Ravens, Eagles, Cowboys, Texans, and Chiefs. (Road games are in bold.)
Most fully expect the Patriots to put up pinball numbers against inferior teams. But is that all the 2019 Patriots will be? Will this team easily handle the Bills and Jets yet stumble against more talented rosters in November and December? Will this team be burnt out by the second weekend of January? Or will they just be getting warmed up?
Photo courtesy of USA Today
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones