We knew the defense would be good. But not so good.
Special teams were expected to be better than average.
We’re not surprised the New England Patriots are around a .500 team at 5-4.
But no one expected Mac Jones be bad. Especially this evil.
Despite their starting quarterback injury, prime-time bench and brutal regression, the Pats aren’t out of the AFC playoff picture as they enter their bye week. With a 1-3 record and with Jones sidelined with a sprained ankle, things looked bleak in early October.
But rookie Bailey Zappe has won back-to-back starts, Matthew Judon started producing as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and, finally, Jones returned to record two wins. Going 4-1 in its last five games, Bill Belichick’s team still has hopes of qualifying for the playoffs for the second straight season.
Stats-centric geeks at Focus on professional football assessed New England midway and gave ratings to their top 10 players through Week 9:
ten. CB Marcus Jones (71.9) – A weapon like a kick-returner, the rookie was upstaged by fellow rookie cornerback Jack Jones.
9. S Jabrill Peppers (74.6) – Become healthier and better by safety week.
8. WR Jakobi Meyers (75.1) – Despite missing two games with a knee injury, leads the team in catches (40) and receiving yards (457).
seven. LB Matthew Judon (75.5) – That’s why we don’t treat PFF like the bible of football. Judon leads the NFL with 11.5 sacks.
6. DL Deatrich Sage (76.2) – Playing 80% of snaps defensively, he’s already set a career high with 5.5 sacks and is on pace to break his best season with over 40 tackles.
5. LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (78.0) — The Pats’ leading tackle on a defense that kept both the Detroit Lions (0 of 6 on fourth down) and the Indianapolis Colts (0 of 14 on third down) out of the zone goals.
4. CB Jonathan Jones (79.1) – While opposite corner Jalen Mills was average and beaten by a rookie, he’s one of the best defense playmakers (blocked punt and a Pick Six in Week 8) .
3. RG Mike Onwenu (86.0) – With Isaiah Wynn falling off the ground and first-round pick Cole Strange appearing to have hit the rookie wall, Onwenu has been the best offensive lineman on the team.
2. CB Jack Jones (86.9) – The fourth-round rookie came with questions about character, but was sparkling off the court and dazzling. His coverage speed and ball skills are already a game-changer.
1. RB Rhamond Stevenson (89.6) – Now clearly the No. 1 running back ahead of Damien Harris, he improved his blocking and reception in addition to leading the team with 618 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
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