New England Patriots: Nick Folk comes in clutch once again

New England Patriots, Nick Folk (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
New England Patriots, Nick Folk (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Once again, Nick Folk helped the Patriots pull a victory from the jaws of defeat.

Two times this season, the New England Patriots had to rely on the foot of kicker Nick Folk to pull through for a victory — and both times he delivered, most recently in Week 12.

Sunday’s 20-17 victory over a formidable Arizona Cardinals team keeps New England in the playoff discussion, at least for now. Given that the franchise has been a postseason staple since 2008 and largely for most of the last two decades, the hope is that the dream doesn’t end in a bizarre year.

Despite a victory, one thing was made abundantly clear. The franchise needs a retool on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Cam Newton had fewer than 100 yards passing and two picks. That clearly doesn’t sit well. Additionally, the weapons on that side of the ball outside of James White largely underperformed.

Defensively, the Patriots did manage to contain DeAndre Hopkins, but that largely can be attributed to Kyler Murray playing under duress.

Nick Folk can stay but the Patriots roster needs a major shakeup.

Given how Nick Folk is responsible for two of the teams’ wins this season, it’s likely he will return to the team next season, Depending on how the rest of the season and whether or not New England makes the postseason, however, will determine whether head coach Bill Belichick will need to institute a deep purge of the roster and evaluate every position.

No question the quarterback position has to be evaluated. Though Newton has had his moments, his recent play raises serious questions and, given the state of the offense, it would be wise to invest in a new signal-caller. Additionally, the franchise needs better wide receivers, and this time, they must choose wisely rather than from a looks standpoint.

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Defensively, the production has been there but talent is still thin. Expect Belichick to look deep in the draft and grab front seven players that can help out the secondary. Also, let’s not forget that they’ll have key players such as Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung back in the fold next season after they opted-out in 2020.

The win is nice, but there are questions that need answers in New England.