Tom Brady leads New England’s resurgence

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The New England Patriots are a shining example of a team that suffered a “good” loss. New England’s historically embarrassing loss to Kansas City in week four has proven to be the wake-up slap the Patriots needed to turn their season around from a disappointing 2-2 start. Since that loss, New England has gone 5-0, winning all but one of those games by double-digits.

With the exception of a hard-fought 27-25 victory over the division-rival Jets in week seven, New England has scored no fewer than 37 points in each of the last five games, even eclipsing 50 against Chicago. They have won these games by an average margin of about 23 points.

Quarterback Tom Brady, in particular, has been on fire in recent weeks. Brady has tossed 18 touchdowns and only one pick in the past five games, while lighting up opposing defenses for 1,601 yards (a per-game average of 320.2). Brady’s performance has put his name firmly in the MVP race.

Brady’s success is as pivotal to New England as it has ever been, as this is arguably the least-talented Patriots receiving corps in a decade. Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson have been major busts and Kenbrell Thompkins was recently waived, leaving Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell as Tom Brady’s top-two receivers—a considerable drop-off from past receivers Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Troy Brown. Of course, Rob Gronkowski is New England’s most talented pass-catcher, but he has only recently recovered from the string of injuries that hampered him the past two seasons.

To add to Brady’s importance, the Patriots have also endured crippling injuries to key players. Running back Stevan Ridley and middle linebacker Jerod Mayo were lost for the season in the same game, with standout defensive end and team sack-leader Chandler Jones following soon after with a severe hip injury. It is up to Brady to almost single-handedly carry the team for the remainder of the season, and so far, he has answered the challenge valiantly.

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The Patriots have been a fixture in the NFL playoffs for the better part of the 21st century, but the Lombardi Trophy has proved elusive since New England’s championship 2004 season. While Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, and even Joe Flacco have gone on to win Super Bowls since then, the Patriots have continuously come up empty in the postseason.

While it appears that New England is again poised for a playoff run, nothing is yet guaranteed. New England has perhaps one of the toughest remaining schedules in the NFL. After their bye week, six of their last seven games come against teams that currently have winning records, with the New York Jets being the outlier.

As long as Tom Brady continues to play some of the best football of his career, New England has every chance to return to the Super Bowl, especially having soundly beaten the Broncos, whom many believed to be the AFC’s best team prior to last Sunday. It will be important for the rest of the team to stay healthy—namely Rob Gronkowski—but all in all, this team rises and falls with Tom Brady. They are never completely out with him under center.

For more NFL football analysis and predictions, visit Fantasy Football Overdose – your newest source of anything about NFL Fantasy Football.

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