Kansas City Chiefs

The Patriots’ fickle approach to their roster may be catching up to them

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Patriots

Las Vegas Review-Journal

We’re not even through week one in the NFL and the collective football world has already been set ablaze by what transpired Thursday night between the Patriots and Chiefs.

If you weren’t awake, Kansas City marched into New England and took down the defending Super Bowl champions 42-27 in front of what was likely a stunned Patriots fan base and likewise a stunned Patriots squad.

And no the astonishment shouldn’t simply reside on the fact the Patriots lost a game. It’s foolish and unfair to think this New England team will go 16-0 throughout the course of the 2017 campaign.

Evidently people should be stunned because of the way the Chiefs were able to roll the Patriots.

First, one of the most vanilla offenses in the National Football League led by one of the most vanilla quarterbacks in Alex Smith was able to post 368 yards and four touchdowns while completing 80 percent of his passes and averaging 10.4 yards per attempt.

Second, a rookie running back out of Toledo in Kareem Hunt was able to tear up the Patriots’ defensive line to the tune of 148 yards on the ground and one touchdown. This included 239 yards from scrimmage which was the most of any rookie running back in week one… ever.

Third, the Patriots allowed 539 total yards and 42 total points the most allowed in both aspects during the Bill Belichick era.

Has the NFL caught up to the “Patriot way”?

When you boil things down to the issues for the Patriots coming out of last night’s game you can’t help but not look past the team’s front on defense.

Trey Flowers certainly looks like the real deal adding two more sacks last night after an impressive 2017 when he posted seven total QB take downs. Malcom Brown could turn out to be something however as a late first rounder in his early 20’s the second year defensive tackle may only be as good as the guys around him for now.

However beyond Flowers and perhaps Brown the Patriots have a lot of question marks and garbage.

Lawrence Guy has had 6.5 total sacks throughout his entire career spanning back to 2012. Meanwhile Alan Branch is on the wrong side of 30 at 33 and never really was a difference maker on the line. Furthermore, Cassius Marsh and Deatrich Wise (who had a sack) almost looked out-of-place on the field as the Kansas City offensive line seemingly had their way with them.

And don’t be fooled by those three sacks. Beyond that the Patriots had almost zero pressure on Alex Smith. The final score and the KC QB’s final numbers prove that.

But it doesn’t end with the New England defensive line who are doing a questionable linebacking core zero favors.

Aside from Dont’a Hightower who’s looking pretty average to say the least, is playing alongside Kyle Van Noy and David Harris who the Lions and New York Jets respectively thought were no longer worth the trouble.

Likewise a defensive front four that’s more porous than a piece of swiss cheese and an underwhelming linebacking group is the perfect recipe for what we ultimately saw Thursday night.

So is it time for the Patriots to worry?

Betting against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady is a lesson the rest of the NFL has learned not to do. So until the Patriots are on the golf course post week 17 with football yet to be played, there shouldn’t be any write-offs here.

This is especially the case when it comes to New England’s division which aside from the Patriots is still putrid.

However beyond that the questions pertaining to their defense are very real and should be a concern for the Pats going forward. Concerning in the sense they could find themselves in some un-necessary dog fights throughout the season something that may not transfer very well when it comes to playing better teams in the playoffs.

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