The Patriots 16-3 win over the Broncos has everyone giddy about New England again. Their defense is alive! It’s gotten better without Jamie Collins! The Rams and Broncos combined to score six points in eight quarters!
Not so fast, my friend. A deeper dive into the Patriots opponents shows they’ve played some of the worst QBs in the NFL. Look at this list: 10 of the 14 quarterbacks the Patriots have faced are in the bottom 12 in net passing yards per attempt.
Carson Palmer, Win
Ryan Tannehill, Win
Brock Osweiler, Win
Tyrod Taylor, Loss
Cody Kessler/Terrelle Pryor, Win
Andy Dalton, Win
Landry Jones, Win
Tyrod Taylor, Win
Russell Wilson, Loss [25-of-37, 348 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs]
Colin Kaepernick, Win
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Win
Jared Goff, Win
Joe Flacco, Win
Trevor Siemian, Win
Bryce Petty/Ryan Fitzpatrick/Christian Hackenberg TBD [UPDATE: It’s Petty]
Matt Moore TBD
The Patriots have faced one quarterback who definitely will be in the playoffs (Russell Wilson), one who might be (Joe Flacco), and seriously, is Andy Dalton the 3rd best QB the Patriots have gone against?
As luck would have it, the Patriots faced all three of those quarterbacks at home.
[Obligatory: You can only play your schedule, Jason! Agreed. But don’t mention the Patriots stout defense without mentioning they’ve faced a bunch of really bad quarterbacks.]
They went on the road to play the Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger. Other than the Russell Wilson loss, New England’s other defeat was against Tyrod Taylor … when Jacoby Brissett started for the Patriots. It’s been a strange season for the Patriots.
Do we know how good this defense is? They’re 1st in points per game allowed (16.6), which looks good on paper until you look at the QBs they’ve faced. When you look at yards per play allowed, the defense isn’t nearly as impressive – 5.3, which ranks 11th.
The real question: Who will New England go against in the playoffs? They won’t face MVP candidates such as Wilson, Aaron Rodgers or Matt Ryan. Which leaves the likes of Alex Smith (Kansas City), Derek Carr (Oakland), Marcus Mariota (Tennessee) … and Roethlisberger.
How’s this: The Patriots could end up facing Tom Savage or Matt Moore in the divisional round, at home.