Nov 30, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates following a play during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
One: The New England Patriots offense is not as bad as it looked the past two weeks. Of course, it is not as good as it looked from week five through week fourteen, either. While New England played without Rob Gronkowski this past week, they played him against the Jets and struggled as well. Part of the issue is simply that Buffalo, Miami, and the Jets have built their offenses around stopping quarterback Tom Brady by investing heavily in a front four that can bring pressure without blitzing.
There are other factors for the poor play the past two weeks and a big piece of it is missing Julian Edelman. Danny Amendola showed why he will not be returning to New England under his current contract as he simply does not have the separation ability and unerring trust of Brady. Edelman, like Wes Welker before him, has the unspoken bond with Brady and similar understanding of the defense to almost always read what the defense is doing in concert with the quarterback and react accordingly. The return of Edelman to full health from a concussion and nagging injuries will give the offense a boost.
While I would hardly call Dan Connolly the most important cog on the offensive line, his presence does seem to have a positive effect on rookie center Bryan Stork and Nate Solder. While Solder left with a knee injury which hopefully is minor and the move was precautionary, the offensive line needs to be at full-strength to let Brady go through his progressions and let Brandon LaFell, Edelman, and Rob Gronkowski attack the intermediate to deep areas of the field. When the Patriots can do that, their offense goes from very good to nearly unstoppable.
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