After a one-year absence, the New England Patriots were back in the playoffs in 2021. But it was a very short stay for Bill Belichick’s revamped team.
Off the franchise’s first losing campaign since Bill Belichick’s debut season as the team’s head coach in 2000, the New England Patriots dropped four of their first six games. And all of those setbacks were at home.
But something funny happened on the way to what could have been a second straight dismal showing. The team reeled off seven consecutive wins, including a 14-10 Monday night triumph at Buffalo.
But just as quickly, the Pats wilted and dropped three of their final four outings. While the club qualifies for the playoffs as a wild card, Belichick’s squad was very one and done in a startling 47-17 loss to the Bills.
Despite the season-ending slump, the 2021 season can be considered a success. But there’s still a lot of work to be done if the Patriots are to recapture the top spot in the AFC East for the first time since 2019 and win a postseason game for the first time since Super Bowl LIII.
3. New England Patriots must add another pass-rusher to complement LB Matt Judon
He proved to be one of the league’s best free-agent additions in 2021. Former Baltimore Ravens’ edge rusher Matt Judon enjoyed a career year in Foxborough. He was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl in his first season with the Patriots. The six-year pro played in all 17 regular-season contests and finished with 60 tackles, a personal-best 12.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery.
Judon accounted for just over one-third of the team’s 36 quarterback traps. Second on the team was veteran Kyle Van Noy with five sacks. All told, this is an area that the Patriots could certainly use a little more help in. Especially when it comes to tracking down the likes of Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen.