Saturday 24 February 2018 / 07:12 PM


The now 8-2 New England Patriots beat the now 1-9 San Francisco 49ers, to the surprise of absolutely no one. The 30-17 result fed into several narratives going on in the NFL.

Are the Patriots Overrated?

What was rather unsettling for someone who is bullish on the Patriots and believes their Super Bowl run this year will be a breeze, like me, was that this wasn’t close to the blowout that was expected. In fact, the game was relatively close until the Patriots bolted off with 17 points in the fourth quarter. The third quarter was scoreless for both teams, which is surprising for a Tom Brady offense against a struggling defense like that of the San Francisco 49ers. I don’t think the Patriots are overrated because they are a phenomenal team all around, but I do see some midseason struggles that could carry over into the tail end of 2016.

Is Tom Brady Slowing Down?

I don’t think so. Sure, it took him four quarters to really leave his mark on the game, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a natural-born winner. He’s not the type of player to showboat for the first three quarters then lose in the last, he’s the kind to do work where and when it is needed. His gameplay was certainly an improvement over last week’s game with the Seahawks. He didn’t have a 300+ yard game, but at 280 yards on 24-40 attempts, he wasn’t too shabby. Throw in 4 TD throws and you’ve got something every quarterback in the NFL dreams about.

Is This the End of Colin Kaepernick?

Social issues and political tension aside, he’s still a great quarterback. The 49ers’ struggles go far beyond the quarterback position. The offensive line is weak and allowed Colin to get sacked 5 times, in comparison to the 1 sack for Tom Brady. Among all the chaos off and on the field, Colin is able to maintain his composure and still play good football. He threw for 206 yards on 16/30 attempts with 2 TD passes, which is saying a lot against New England’s defense.

Will the Patriots be Able to Fill the Gronk Gap if Needed?

Rob Gronkowski was out with a chest injury from the previous week’s clash against the Seahawks. As a side note, I’m not sure how hard you have to hit a 265-pound 6’7 guy in the chest to cause serious damage, but it happened. With Gronk out, the Pats had to use Martellus Bennett as a replacement. Bennett had 1 reception for 14 yards all game, and only 2 targets. Brady clearly misses his Gronk connection, but I’m sure if Gronk is out long enough he will have no choice but to start targeting Bennett more. WR Julian Edelman, on the other hand, had 17 targets and caught 8 receptions. I wouldn’t be surprised if future teams start to play tighter coverage on Brady’s preferences.

The Future for the Patriots

The Patriots face off against AFC East rival the New York Jets next week, which should be an easy win. The Jets will be coming off a bye week and are sure to play hard football, but I think the Patriots should be able to come out with at least a touchdown margin victory. After that, they will play the Los Angeles Rams, which shouldn’t be much of a problem either. Gronkowski will probably be given ample recovery time and the Patriots will be able to handle the rest of their schedule with relative ease, up until the Denver Broncos match-up on the 18th.

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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