Patriots

Patriots have been unusually cold on third downs in recent weeks

Patriots have been unusually cold on third downs in recent weeks

The New England Patriots offense hasn't been quite as sharp in 2019 as it has been in recent seasons. There are quite a few reasons for this. The offensive line is banged-up, the receiving corps is lacking weapons, and the run game hasn't been able to get going.

These problems have definitely played a role in the Patriots offense sputtering, but one underrated area that the team has been struggling in is converting third downs.

On the surface, it doesn't appear that they've been having many issues with this. After all, their percentage of conversions has come close to matching their pace from the past two seasons. Just take a look at the data:

Year Conversions/Attempts Percent
2019 52/131 39.7
2018 82/201 40.8
2017 82/202 40.6

But a deeper dive shows that in recent weeks, the Patriots' third-down conversion percentage has been poor.

According to the "Boston Sports Info" Twitter account, the Patriots have converted just 13 of their last 41 third-down attempts (31.7 percent conversion rate) dating back to their game against the Jets. In that contest, they converted their first four third downs before their struggles began.

If the Patriots can't rectify this issue against the stronger teams and defenses that they will be facing in the next four weeks, this could quickly become a major problem for them. As it stands, their offense has had trouble moving the ball. If third downs continue to be a problem, then the unit's struggles will only intensify.

We'll see if the Patriots were able to improve upon their third-down game plan during the bye week in their game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The game kicks off at 4:25 p.m. ET but you can catch pregame coverage on NBC Sports Boston and the MyTeams app starting at 1 p.m. ET.

Tom E. Curran previews Patriots-Eagles in NFL Week 11>>>

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That 617 Life Podcast: Who made who? Bill Belichick or Tom Brady

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

That 617 Life Podcast: Who made who? Bill Belichick or Tom Brady

The people's court is now in session. The topic of debate: Who made who, Bill Belichick or Tom Brady?

The two New England Patriots greats will always be inextricably linked for the success they've had in creating the Patriots dynasty. Together, the duo has won six Super Bowl titles and has overseen the most dominant two-decade stretch in NFL history.

Still, the question of who is chiefly responsible for the team's success has long been a debate among the New England faithful. And this week, Shanda, Cerrone, and Leroy take a deeper dive into the case for both sides on the latest episode of "That 617 Life Podcast".

Cerrone kicks off the "trial" by defending Brady, arguing that his on-field play and his arrival to the team snapped the Patriots out of the funk that they were in for most of the early part of their franchise's existence.

[The Patriots] were the team that nobody wanted to use in TecmoBowl. Now, for everybody in America, you're cheating if you use Tom Brady in Madden.

Furthermore, from Cerrone:

There's teams in the NFL over the past 20 years that still haven't defeated Tom Brady. Still, over 20 seasons. There are organizations and fan bases that still have not seen a victory in front of Tom Brady.

As for the case for Belichick, Leroy laid out a simple case for Belichick and called him "possibly the greatest coach in sports history."

Hear more of the trial and thoughts on the latest Boston sports stories on the latest episode of the "That 617 Life Podcast", which drops every Friday as part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

CURRAN: Are we watching Brady's final day with the Patriots?>>>

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Report: Patriots expected to re-sign Nick Folk on Saturday

Report: Patriots expected to re-sign Nick Folk on Saturday

It's no longer a mystery who will kick for the New England Patriots vs. the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

The Patriots are expected to officially re-sign Nick Folk on Saturday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Folk was released by the team and replaced with Kai Forbath prior to last week's game vs. the Houston Texans after undergoing an appendectomy.

In three games with the Patriots this season, Folk has made seven of nine field goals and all three extra-point attempts. 

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