Over the last five games, the New England Patriots have been scuffling, dropping three contests while showcasing an underwhelming offense. Although the injury problems have been solved, the Patriots just don’t seem to have the same firepower as they’ve had in years past.
The run game has been brutal, Tom Brady is in the midst of one of the worst stretches in his career, and even the defense has some issues that need to be rectified.
With three games left before the playoffs, the Patriots don’t have much time to fix their issues before the real football begins. And for some pundits, that spells doom for the Patriots playoff chances.
Speaking on ESPN’s “Get Up” Monday morning, former NFL coach Rex Ryan shared his thoughts on the Patriots’ fate in this year’s playoffs. Here’s what he had to say:
“Nobody’s afraid of them, I can promise you that. Last year I said the same thing and it was the worst Patriots team and if it’s not for an offside call, they get beat. This team’s not even close to that team last year. They can’t run the football, they can’t protect the quarterback, nobody can get separation. I’m sorry, but they’re one and done in the playoffs.”
The Patriots all but squandered their chances for the top seed in the AFC with Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs considering Baltimore (11-2) defeated the Buffalo Bills. New England has still yet to clinch a playoff berth and is a couple weeks away from locking up the division title.
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The Last Patriots’ Team to Go One and Done in the Playoffs
New England has made it to an NFL-record eight straight AFC Championship games, appearing in every one since 2011. In 2010, New England had the top seed in the AFC at 14-2 but was unable to secure a berth in the conference title game after a shocking playoff upset at home.
The coach to pull that one off? Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. The Jets dominated much of that Divisional Round game against New England and opened up a 14-point lead in the final two minutes before holding off New England’s comeback effort in a 28-21 victory.
Contrary to this season, that 2010 Patriots team had one of the league’s most efficient offenses behind Tom Brady’s unanimous MVP season in which he had an NFL record 340 passes between interceptions.
Another coincidence with the 2010 Patriots, it was the last time someone other than Stephen Gostkowski was kicking for the team. Shayne Graham was brought in after a torn quad muscle forced Gostkowski to miss the second half of the season.
This year, a hip injury has forced Gostkowski out of action since early in the year. But the Patriots haven’t been able to easily replace their long-time kicker, going through a myriad of options including Mike Nugent, Kai Forbath, and their current kicker Nick Folk who was also injured for a game.