The New England Patriots have some issues to work out as they prepare for the final two weeks of the regular season.
After rolling into their bye week with seven straight wins, the Patriots have lost two consecutive games to the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills. They now trail the Bills in the AFC East and have tumbled from the top seed in the AFC to the sixth seed heading into Week 17.
After Sunday's loss to Buffalo, Patriots captain and special teams ace Matthew Slater delivered a clear message about the team needing a sense of urgency to turn things around.
“We have some choices here. One of the choices is to let this just spiral out of control. And the other choice is (put) our feet in the ground and make a stand and fight," Slater said. "I believe in the character of the men in this locker room. I believe we will fight.”
Next up for the Patriots is a meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars, followed by what could be an enormous game against the surging Dolphins in Miami. On a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss whether there's reason to panic heading into the final two weeks, or if the team should be feeling optimistic.
"When you look at the way they lost these games -- I don't like the lack of urgency, I don't like the fact they didn't come out with the same aggression or intensity -- but when you look at how these games played out, the Colts and the Bills, they didn't get their asses kicked by Indy despite the score and while they got their asses kicked by the Bills, the score didn't indicate it," Curran said. "I just don't think they have to flip out."
Perry believes Slater's statement perfectly sums up what New England's attitude needs to be going forward.
"I also think it's important to make sure that you're trying to do something about what's going on," Perry said. "You also can't sit there and say 'guys, we're going to be fine' because there's just not enough time. Of all people in that locker room, I would say Matthew Slater has a pretty good gauge of understanding what his team needs at this point in time in terms of the messaging. Messaging is up to the coaches, but it's also up to the leaders of the team too, and I would say he and Devin McCourty are the voices of this team."
Also discussed in this episode: Is this team more like the 2018 or 2019 Patriots? Will the QB gap be the Achilles heel for the Patriots in the playoffs? Would Josh McDaniels even want the Jaguars head coaching job? And an exclusive 1-on-1 with Kyle Van Noy.