The must-win game for the Patriots is well underway and has unfortunately started much like every other game has this season: punts and costly turnovers.
Although the defense has done an excellent job so far, with Ja'Whaun Bentley picking up a sack for -8 yards and ensuring the Saints went 3-and-out after a horrific 26-yard punt, the offense continues to be the most problematic part of the team.
The absolute worst-case scenario happened halfway through the first quarter when Mac Jones threw a pick-six to Tyrann Mathieu instead of taking the sack. It gave the Saints the first points of the game, forcing the Patriots to play from behind once again.
Jones is having a terrible start to his third season, with his performance against the Cowboys last week being the worst game of his career. There was an emphasis on making better decisions and eliminating turnovers this week, as said by both Bill Belichick and Bill O'Brien, and we are yet to see that in this game.
And to make matters worse, Jones' latest pick-six makes it his third of the season and the sixth of his career, tying the record with Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford for the most since the 2021 season.
Self-inflicted wounds have become the biggest task the Patriots need to overcome this year, specifically on offense, and so far in the game with the Saints, they haven't gotten better about limiting those mistakes.
It's another game where they are playing from behind early, and they have been historically bad at coming back from that during Jones' career.
It's certainly not an ideal situation, and hopefully, they can break the cycle that has become the theme of the season so far. But something is clearly off with this offense, whether it be due to the offensive line, the quarterback, the play calling, or something else. Whatever it is, it needs to be fixed if the Patriots hope to have any shot at winning this year.