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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain
Sunday night was another example of Bill Belichick's genius and Tom Brady's abilities. Coming off an awful loss to the Browns to pile 39 points on the Steelers? Not many people predicted that. Belichick is now 23-2 after a loss since 2003, and Brady is in the MVP hunt.
That's all well and good.
But there should be concern about the Pats' consistency on offense. The makeup of this team, especially the defense, is not one of a championship squad. If they get there, it'll be on Brady's arm and Belichick's brains.
At 7-2 with likely wins left on the schedule against the Lions and Bills, the Patriots have come close to assuring themselves of a playoff bid. And the way they played against the Steelers and Ravens, upcoming games against the Colts, Jets, Bears, Packers and Dolphins could all be wins.
That's the problem, though. Which Patriots team will show up on those Sundays? The one that showed up against the Browns could finish 9-7; the one that faced the Steelers should finish 14-2.
It's unfair to expect the Patriots to play the way they played Sunday night every single week, especially in this league's climate of parity and with such a young defense. You can't ignore the defensive statistics: 32nd on third down, 30th against the pass and 29th overall. That's not a Super Bowl-winning team, not even under Belichick.
What they need is some semblance of consistency. And that won't be easy to find with so many rookies and second-year players on defense. It's easier on offense, and if they win, it's going to be because of the offense. The Patriots are averaging 14 points scored in two losses and more than 32 in their seven wins.
The defense has made big plays, but they haven't had any game worth being too excited about. The Pats have allowed less than 20 points only twice this season. The offense needs to bring the game they showed on Sunday night every week down the wire and especially in the postseason. If the offense consistently plays at a high level, the Patriots have shown they can beat anyone and make up for a bad defense.
They have still have seven games to figure it out and can use Sunday's effort to create a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball. Consistency better come before the postseason, because Belichick's record after a loss means nothing come playoff time.