Following a Week 8 loss to the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots’ playoff hopes appeared to be out the window.
A 2-5 team coming off a four-game losing streak gained some hope after beating the New York Jets on Monday night — which was extremely close to being a loss. The Patriots pulled away and even secured a victory against the Baltimore Ravens the following night, leading to the 4-5 record they carry.
Cam Newton’s infectious energy kept the team alive and now the Patriots are heading into a matchup agains the 2-7 Houston Texans, which could lead to a .500 record. So, with all the injuries and opt-outs, can the Patriots still make a playoff push?
Tedy Bruschi weighs in with his opinion on the topic.
“It’s still there for them, I still think it’s going to be very difficult to do,” Bruschi said on WEEI’s ‘Ordway, Merloni & Fauria’. “It’s strange just because they lose the games they are supposed to win like vs. Denver, and they win the games [they are not supposed to]. So, do you think they will beat the Texans? Absolutely. But is it possible that they will lose? Yes. I think you have to look at both sides of the coin going forward.
“I think Cam is a huge piece. I think the offensive line is a huge piece that stays negative in results for one, and then keeps playing the way that they are playing. It can go a varied amount of ways in my opinion. They could not make the playoffs, absolutely. They can based on how they played against the Ravens.”
Most people thought the win against Baltimore was an anomaly, but Bruschi doesn’t believe so.
“I’d love to say that was an outlier based on the weather, but isn’t that what the Ravens are built for?” he said. “This is a strong, physical defensive running football team that when it gets sloppy, when it gets ugly, they can use their quarterback as a running back and pound it and overload formations with Greg Roman calling the calls and just pound you to you submit. But, it was the Patriots who did exactly that to the Ravens. They out Raven’d the Ravens. That is why I think this is something you really have to look at it as what a tough team this Patriots team is.
“They were tougher than the Ravens. They were mentally tough. They didn’t make the mistakes, the Ravens did. I thought it was a great win all the way around. You’ve got guys contributing everywhere on the defensive side of the ball. The offensive line, like I said, is going to be the leader for this team and they did it again. Cam Newton was better than Lamar Jackson. I think that is just look at the conditions, look at what they were for each quarterback and Cam was the one that was stoic, that was making the plays that they needed to make and the running game just was there for him.
“So yes, all the credit has to go to the Patriots and it’s not an outlier because of the weather, they went out and played a great football game.”
The Bills currently stand at 7-3 and the Miami Dolphins are 6-3, making it nearly impossible for the Patriots to win the division. But, the expanded playoffs opens two more wild card spots for the Patriots to slip into.
Time will tell if Bill Belchick can pull of a miracle in his first year without Brady.