Complain all you want about the defense, but 14.4 points per game is not good enough in today’s NFL. The Patriots have won just two playoff games when scoring fewer than 20 points: 17 vs. the Titans in ’03 and 16 vs. the Raiders in ’01, and the game has changed much since then.
The Patriots averaged 20.0, 24.3, and 28.3 points in the three postseasons that ended in Super Bowl victories. The last six Super Bowl champions have averaged 31.0 (Ravens), 25.5 (Giants), 30.3 (Packers), 35.7 (Saints), 28.3 (Steelers), and 21.3 points (Giants).
The Patriots need to become more dangerous on offense to win the biggest games. Will they roll up countless yards and points in the regular season? Of course, unless their health becomes a huge problem. Belichick, Josh McDaniels, and Tom Brady can pick apart a great majority of defenses.
But in the biggest games and against the toughest defenses, they have been shut down. Repeatedly.
A talented young receiver from the draft would help. The Patriots’ terrible track record finding one is well-known. It’s time to change the formula. Stop looking at three-cone times and athletic ability. Look for the most polished player with the type of high football IQ that will allow him to learn the playbook quickly and endear himself to Brady. He has to get on the field before he can catch a pass.
The receivers in this draft that have the best chance are Robert Woods (USC), Keenan Allen (Cal), Chris Harper (Kansas State), Marquise Goodwin (Texas), Josh Boyce (TCU), Tavarres King (Georgia), Cobi Hamilton (Arkansas), and Aaron Mellette (Elon).
The feeling here is that Woods offers the best chance at instant impact. He has been highly productive in a pro-style offense, makes terrific cuts in and out of breaks, and shows a great feel for routes and the game.
He’s not the most dynamic player, but neither was Lloyd, and Woods looks like he can give what Lloyd did and add toughness and yards after the catch.
But the Patriots have studied these prospects much longer and more closely than I have. As long as they pick the right player, it doesn’t matter who it is. The offense needs help. It’s way past time for the Patriots to find a viable receiver in the draft.