Foxborough, MA - The New England Patriots are no stranger to lukewarm starts to the season. Last year, against the Kansas City Chiefs in the opener, the Patriots fell, but they still wound up in the Super Bowl. Fans will of course remember when the Patriots were 2-2 in 2014 and sports analysts said the era of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and dynasties was over. New England, of course, would end up winning the Super Bowl.
So with these experiences, why are Patriots fans feeling some concern about a 1-1 start, especially when they looked so good in week one and still almost came back in week two, but were stymied by an elite defense?
It might be because the Patriots offense doesn't look as good as fans are used to. A depleted receiving corps will do that to you. But even though the team hasn't clicked right now, I don't think fans should be concerned. And I think they're going to win this Sunday night against the Detroit Lions. But it might be closer than fans might think.
The Lions have not looked good so far and many NFL analysts have attributed this to the poor coaching performance of Matt Patricia, who should maybe have never been a coach in the first place. The one team he may actually be able to coach well against, though, is the Patriots because he knows their weaknesses so well.
That being said, Belichick knows this and I believe he's smarter than Patricia. I wouldn't expect a blowout, but I would expect a victory for New England in primetime.
As for who will be active, Josh Gordon seems probable to play, which is rare for midseason receiver acquisitions. Even if he hasn't entirely learned the playbook yet, Gordon could still make a splash.
Rob Gronkowski has also shaken off the injury designation he had during practice because of his ankle. Expect to see Gronk on the field. Another tight end, Jacob Hollister, has been ruled out, however. Defenders Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung are listed as doubtful for Sunday. Fortunately, the Lions offense has looked inept so far.
Sunday Night Football is going to be a good one this week!