The time has finally come. Tom Brady is set to finally return to the field for the New England Patriots now that his four-game suspension has ended; and that is all anyone can talk about now, all conversations about scandals and NFL picks forgotten.
When Brady was thrown to the sidelines as a result of his suspension, a lot of people wondered how the Patriots would fare. In fact, a lot of people were relatively certain that the Patriots would struggle to stay afloat.
The idea was floated that, at best, they would be 2-2, this allowing Brady to return to the team while it was still in the mix. However, the picture as it stands today is far different from the predictions. The Patriots are a 3-1 team; they won their first three games and they did so satisfactorily.
Sure, the Patriots were shut down by the Buffalo Bills on Sunday; in fact, they looked completely flat in that game. However, that hardly spells doom and gloom. Yes, the Bills’ victory was very decisive, but one has to keep in mind the Patriots limitations at the time.
They had to depend on rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett for results, this at a time when he was fighting with a thumb injury that might require surgery down the line. So, yes, week 4 was a flop for the patriots.
But, at the end of the day, looking at the big picture, they are undoubtedly the best team in football right now. Their disappointing performance on Sunday came down to their terrible offense; however, their defense only gave up 16 points, and that is saying something.
Keep in mind the fact that they Shut out the Texans just two weeks ago; the team has allowed the fewest number of points in the NFL this season; with Robert Ninkovich finally back from suspension, their defense couldn’t be any stronger.
Right now, their offense is the only facet of the Patriots that requires improvement, and that won’t be much of an issue once Brady finally returns to the helm of the team.
The first four weeks of the season have been great for the Patriots. This is a team that has scored 81 points to date; they are standing tall ahead of 13 teams. When you look at the metrics, they only further justify the team’s strength.
For one thing, they were 11th in offensive DVOA; this, by the way, is despite the health complications plaguing Rob Gronkowski.
The Patriots are, by no means, struggling to keep up. They are doing quite well, and Brady’s presence will only help the team cement its dominance, improving the Patriots’ running game while helping the deep receiving corps (Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Gronkowski and the like).
The Patriots can honestly say that they do not need Brady’s skills to survive. LeGarrette Blount managed 352 yards while Brady was away, this along with four touchdowns. With Dion Lewis returning in two weeks, the Patriots look as good now as they did last season. They are becoming a force that the rest of the NFL should probably fear.