Are The Patriots Still The Team to Beat?



With a 9-4 record, many fans are wondering if the Patriots are the team to beat.

Justin T., Morgan C., and Sophia T.

Are the Patriots still the Team to Beat?

After losing Tom Brady in the 2020 offseason and a rough 2020-21 year, the New England Patriots have one of the best records in the NFL at 9-4. Even after losing one of the greatest to ever play the game, Bill Belichick has kept the Patriots one top of the league. 

I think the biggest thing is you gotta learn how to win as a team,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. “I think [Matthew] Judon knows how to win. I would say even Mac does, being at Bama. We got winners here, but you gotta learn how to win as a team. And I think Bill said it earlier this season: It’s about playing well in the critical situations, when offensively they know we need to run the ball and stay in bounds and have good plays. And we do that.”

The biggest surprise by far from the success of New England, is rookie quarterback Mac Jones. Although he may not be Tom Brady, Jones has shown some flashes of promise for the future. Through 13 weeks, Jones has thrown for 2,869 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions. After being the 15th overall pick in the 2020 draft, Mac Jones has been a surprise to all football fans. 

“Mac’s been good for us all year in terms of his leadership, his resilience, and kind of always counting on him to do the right thing, and you know, he really does it at a high level, so it’s been impressive,” said head coach Bill Belichick.

Another key factor for New England’s recent victories has been the defense. Free agent pick-up Matthew Judon is third in the league in sacks with 12.5 on the year. After giving Judon a four- year $54 million contract, he definitely has lived up to expectations. Adding to Judon’s explosive year, cornerback J.C. Jackson has been ballin’ out this year. Jackson is second in the league in interceptions with seven, proving he is the long-term answer for New England at cornerback. 

“J.C., you leave any trash laying around, he’s going to pick it up,” said Coach Belichick. 

So why is this success so surprising? Two years ago, the Patriots lost their star quarterback, Tom Brady. Coming into the season, it was still a question who would be the starter moving forward, Mac Jones or Cam Newton. Surprisingly, Newton was cut, showing the world how much faith Belickick has in his rookie quarterback. 

“It’s absolutely an advantage,” said David Morris. “[Jones] knows what it takes to be successful, he knows it takes a lot, and that’s not intimidating to him.”

As New England continues to succeed, the Patriots have put the league on notice that they are back to contention.