Sunday 7: Possible explanation for Patriots offense getting off to slow start

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The Off Day Podcast
The Off Day, Ep. 198: Looking ahead to Monday night vs. Bills
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1. It took a little bit for the Patriots offense to start to click. While it wasn’t terrible early in the year, there were some little things missing when it came to timing in the passing game and obviously not taking care of the football. Things have changed of late, especially the last six games where the Patriots offense has averaged 35.2 points per game. Mac Jones' play along with the production from his pass-catchers has picked up during this stretch, and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers offered a potential reason for some of the timing issues earlier in the season. “I think it’s with anything, repetition makes it permanent and fixes it up a little bit,” he said this week. “The more practice we’ve gotten together — Mac wasn’t really taking (No. 1 reps) during camp, so it was kind of hard to gauge what he was thinking, so the more I have gotten to talk to him, watch him play, watch him go out and handle his busyness, the more I have learned about him and it has definitely helped on the field.” Meyers is right as Cam Newton saw the majority of reps with the first unit during training camp and all of the preseason. It wasn’t until Newton was cut 10 days before the regular season that Jones got to start working extensively with the first-team offense. Chemistry is very important when it comes to the passing game and while it took some time, the Patriots pass-catchers and Jones have seemed to have found it.

2. The hype surrounding the Patriots has been a little excessive of late, especially when it comes to looking ahead to the Super Bowl. Yes, they’ve won six in a row and have looked great in the process, but they have been helped tremendously with not playing teams at full strength and still have a rookie quarterback. There’s a reason why a rookie quarterback has never made it to the Super Bowl — it’s very, very hard to do. New England is having a terrific season, so just take it for what it is and enjoy it.

3. It will be interesting to hear what the ESPN crew (Brian Griese and Louis Riddick) relay Bill Belichick told them about Josh Allen in their meeting Sunday night ahead of the game. Last year, they said the Patriots coach didn’t buy into the craze surrounding the Bills quarterback, which he apparently wasn’t thrilled with. This week Belichick went over the top in praising Allen, saying his improvement has been remarkable. We also wonder how Belichick will respond to the crew in their meeting given what happened last year.

4. The Massachusetts high school Super Bowls were held at Gillette Stadium Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week and it was cool to see some Patriots players taking in the action. Jones, Damien Harris and Matthew Judon watched some of the Division 1 final between Springfield Central and Central Catholic on Thursday, and Jones popped out to catch a glimpse of the action Wednesday.

5. When it comes to the AFC East standings, the Patriots’ loss to the Dolphins in Week 1 could prove to be costly. If the Patriots and Bills split their two meetings and end up tied at the end of the year, Buffalo would win the tiebreaker, providing it beats the Jets later in the year. After head-to-head the next tiebreaker is division record and the Patriots would have two losses to the Bills’ one in that scenario.

6. The Bills will have an interesting “Legend of the Game” Monday night — Terrell Owens. The wide receiver played only one year with the Bills, had 829 receiving yards and they went 6-10. Seems like a pretty low bar for legendary status.

7. Not only do the Patriots have a very late bye week — the latest in the league (Week 14) — they also will lose two days. New England plays on Monday night this week and then in Week 15 will travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts on Saturday night. So, instead of the normal two full weeks in between games, the Patriots will only get 12 days. This likely will be something the NFL considers next season when making the schedule and should give the Patriots a more favorable bye week (middle of the season).

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