There, now the New England Patriots are officially cooked. At 2-5 they sit two games back of the last Wild Card spot in the AFC, and four games back of the division lead. They sit at the bottom of the AFC East for the first time in nearly two decades, alongside this weeks’ opponents, the New York Jets. The Jets are the epitome of a poverty franchise right now. They sit at 0-7 with the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, which they will probably use on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, just to ruin another potentially great career. This game on Monday Night Football is shaping up to be the epic battle of the suck, maybe one could say that this is a “Tank Bowl” as the New England Patriots sit with the ninth overall pick at this point. They could be looking at a signal caller themselves. Hypothetically speaking if the Patriots lose out, they’d be worse than the Jets with a 2-14 record, and they would get Lawrence. It’s a scenario worth dreaming about. But that isn’t the Belichick way, and beating the hell out of the New York Jets is. Set it up Bailey, let’s get this one underway.

Three Keys To The Game

New England Patriots four-round 2021 NFL mock draft
David Butler II, USA Today Sports

Key #1: Build Off Last Week

The offense began to step it up in the second half against Buffalo last week. I admit I was a bit shocked to see Jakobi Meyers play so well when called upon. If it wasn’t for Cam Newton fumbling the ball on the final drive, the Patriots would sit at 3-4 only one game back of the AFC East. While I think the Patriots are done, there’s room to say if they only lose two more games, they’ll sit at 9-7 and be in the playoff mix at the end. If that’s going to be the case, the offense is going to have to play as well as they did in the second half for the rest of the season. Are they capable of it? You tell me.

Key #2: Darnold Sees Ghosts

One of the few highlights of the season last year was Monday Night Football against the Jets when the New England Patriots steamrolled them and we got the famous soundbite of quarterback Sam Darnold, mic’d up on the sideline saying “I’m seeing ghosts” in a game which he threw four interceptions and fumbled the ball twice. All jokes aside I truly do feel bad for Darnold. The New York Jets and head coach Adam Gase have pretty much ruined any talent or promise that the USC product might’ve ever had. The Patriots are probably going to destroy their offense simply because the Jets are too inept to adapt, and Darnold will be made to look like a fool, through no fault of his own. Don’t worry Darnold, I’m sure Pittsburgh will get the best out of you once you get traded!

Key #3: Don’t Play Down To Them

The Jets are a winless football team. At least in most of the Patriots’ losses, they’ve been competitive. The Pats should be able to steamroll the Jets with ease. They’re not a competitive football team typically, and they’re tanking for Lawrence about as hard as the Colts sucked for Luck back in 2011-12. This one is a shorter key to the game, but nonetheless an important one. You’re better than the Jets, play like it.

X-Factor: The Offense

Patriots Week 7 Mailbag: Doom and gloom in New England?
Maddie Meyer, Getty Images

In the most John Madden cliche to ever exist, whoever puts the most amount of points on the board, is going to win this football game. The Patriots have struggled to do that through the majority of the season. It’s up to this unit if they’re going to beat the Jets on Monday night. It’s not like they’re playing against a gladiator defense either. This Jets defense is a bottom four unit in the NFL. This should be a good chance for the Patriots to see what they can do through the air, seeing as how the Jets are probably going to let them do whatever they want. Compiling easy drives and easy scores should help the Patriots coast to a victory as they did last year under the lights in MetLife Stadium. If the Patriots do suck that bad though, they could quite easily hand the Jets their first victory and even the most optimistic of Patriots homers will have to quit on the season.

Closing Thoughts

Bill Belichick and Patriots coaching staff make curious decisions in loss to Bills
John Munson, AP

No matter how this game goes, I think the Patriots are done for. No real moves during the trade deadline (except for trading a seventh round pick for wide receiver Isaiah Ford from the Dolphins). We weren’t buyers nor sellers and ultimately this is the team until the new league year. I hope that we can look to sell reigning Defensive Player of the Year, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, as his talent is being wasted on a rebuilding team such as ours, and he has a good amount of value to him. If anybody has any value to them, the Patriots should be looking to offload to bring in a true youth movement that this roster so desperately needs in order to be competitive in one to two years from now. For now, we sit as a relic of what we used to be, struggling to put together four quarters of good football.

As for this Jets game, I see this being a false sense of hope for a lot of fans out there. The Patriots are going to look good, there will be questions if the season is still alive, then the team is brought back down to earth next week when we take on the Baltimore Ravens, who are fighting for their division and hungry for any win they can get. The Jets boast one of the worst defenses in the league, and the only reason their head coach hasn’t been fired yet is that his ineptitude is going to land them a generational quarterback talent out of the draft this off-season. The Jets are losing for a purpose, the Patriots are losing because they don’t know how to win anymore. Who’s truly the franchise with no direction?

Final Score: 31-6, Patriots win (3-5)

Photo Source: Sharp Football Analysis