The result of the Super Bowl last Sunday was much of America’s dream come true. The New England Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in an exciting, high-scoring game.
A big question now is, was that Super Bowl loss the beginning of the end for the New England Patriots? I still think the Patriots will win their division because the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins do not provide too scary of a matchup for them.
However, I am not sure they will be the #1 or even the #2 seed out of the AFC like they have been since the 2010 season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, and Houston Texans are on the rise, and the Steelers are always right there in terms of beating the Patriots. All three of these teams, when healthy can challenge the Pats for that top seed I believe.
Not only is the AFC finally getting some better competition as an entire conference, but the Patriots are starting to lose pieces they have had during this long run.
Former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who was with the team since the 2004 season, just signed to be the head coach of the Detroit Lions. There has also been a lot of rumors that the Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who has been with the team in one form or another for 12 seasons, might leave to be a head coach somewhere.He turned down the opportunity to be the Indianapolis Colts head coach, which many believe is to eventually take over the Patriots job.
If McDaniels does, in fact, go somewhere to be a head coach, they would be losing both coordinators who know the way the team does things extremely well. Many of the players have only worked with these coaches and know their style and how to talk with them, something they would have to re-learn with new coaches.
Another problem brewing within the organization is the whole situation between owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and start quarterback Tom Brady. Winning cures a lot of drama, but coming off of this Super Bowl and a long off-season ahead, it will be interesting to see if that comes back up.
Lastly, star tight-end Rob Gronkowski said he is going to take a serious look at his career and future. He has sustained many serious back injuries and concussions, that may force him to retire early.
Brady’s numbers are much better with Gronkowski on the field. Gronk causes matchup issues that virtually no defense has been able to solve, but if he has to retire, he will leave huge shoes to fill for that Pats offense.
All of this being said, as long as the New England Patriots still have Belichick and Brady, they will be a contender because those two just know how to win. Along with the AFC becoming more competitive, these losses and changes could decrease their dominance of not only the AFC, but the entire National Football League.