Return of the King: Patriots once again top the AFC East

Rookie Quarterback Mac Jones.

SB Nation

Rookie Quarterback Mac Jones.

Jack Kelleher, Contributing Writer

The Pats are back in a big way, winning 6 straight after starting the season 2-4. Led by veteran head coach and one of the greatest minds in football, Bill Belichick, the team has looked the best it’s ever been since Brady left. With rookie quarterback Mac Jones at the helm and a stifling defense, the team has beaten its last 6 opponents by a combined score of 211- 63. The team is rebounding from a difficult season last year, but the way they are playing now is reminiscent of their Super Bowl winning ways.

 The team has got fans all across New England excited, including senior Jack Libby, who has much to say. Libby voiced his opinion as “[The Patriots] are defying all odds. I read that only 5 other teams in history have gone on a 6 game win streak with a margin of at least +148 point differential. To do this with a rookie QB is absolutely nuts. Mind you, that Mac Jones was the 5th rookie QB taken, it seems like the Patriots got a steal. Looks like the money Bill spent in free agency has gone to great use too, with big names such as Judon, Hunter Henry, and Kendrick Bourne all playing insanely well. Also, some of the smaller names like Jalen Mills and Agholor have stepped up as well. The run game has been great too, with the emergence of rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson and the workhorse Damien Harris doing Damien Harris things. The defense has been filthy too. Mr. Int: J.C. Jackson, is in the conversation for DPOY, and the aforementioned Matt Judon accumulating a league leading caliber number of sacks. And I could never forget about Nick Folk, to be honest the Patriots really don’t deserve him. He has easily been the most reliable kicker in the league, which is crucial in winning big games.” With confidence like this, it only makes sense for fans to start thinking about the playoffs, which Libby has also thought about: “In order for us to make a deep playoff run, it is crucial that Mac limits his turnovers (which he’s done well with so far) and that the defense keeps up their top-notch play. I have no doubts that this team could see Tom Brady on the other end of the line of scrimmage in the Super Bowl.”

Similarly, to Libby, junior Will Baker is also optimistic about the future, but also reflects about the dark times at the start of the season: “Being 8-4 and the best team in the AFC East is nothing but incredible, but the season did not start off like this. Starting off 1-3 the Patriots scared many New England fans, making people question the reliability and skilled rookie Mac Jones possessed. As the season progressed so did the team. The defense, led by linebacker Matthew Judon, became stronger and began to stop powerful offenses when we needed them the most. I am currently very happy with the Patriots being an 8-4 team holding their own with some of the best teams even without Tom Brady.” It will be interesting to see if the team is able to maintain this form into the final games of the regular season and into the playoffs, but for now they look like world beaters. I personally think that if they can keep this up a trip to the big game is in the cards. However, a massive test lies ahead next Monday in Buffalo, when the Pats take on divisional rivals Buffalo for undisputed control of the division.

When it comes to the future, senior Brian Odell has complete faith in Mac Jones, as “I haven’t seen a quarterback in Massachusetts play so well since Dylan Pierce on Thursday!”