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What the 2021 Patriots have in common with the dismal 1993 Patriots

Drew Bledsoe gets pressured by the Seahawks' Cortez Kennedy during his third start as a Patriot in the dismal 1993 season.
Drew Bledsoe gets pressured by the Seahawks' Cortez Kennedy during his third start as a Patriot in the dismal 1993 season.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

On the surface, it might not be fair to compare the 2021 Patriots and the 5-11 squad from 1993. The game is played differently now. The Patriots weren’t a dynasty yet. The 1993 team, which didn’t have as much top-flight NFL talent, was coming off a 2-14 finish and had just hired Bill Parcells as head coach.

And yet, with Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, the Patriots are now 0-4 at home for the first time since 1993. And there’s an interesting parallel between the two teams — they’re both starting a rookie quarterback.

In 1993, Washington State star Drew Bledsoe came to New England as the No. 1 pick, arriving with considerably more fanfare and arm strength than No. 15 pick Mac Jones did this season.


Like Jones, Bledsoe was the starter from the beginning. (He missed a few games with a knee sprain, starting 12 that year).

And, as with the Jones-led offense this year, the 1993 Patriots struggled to score points and keep pace with more explosive offenses.

Comparing metrics like points per game — the 1993 Patriots averaged 14.9, the 2021 team is averaging 20.8 — might seem like an “apples and oranges” situation because of the way the league has changed.

We can put it into perspective by comparing these teams with their contemporaries.

The 1993 Patriots ranked 22nd overall in points scored per game. The 2021 team’s rank through six games: 24th.

Both teams had solid defenses, with the 1993 team ranking 11th in points allowed and the 2021 squad ninth.

Their offenses also had issues with giving away the football. The 1993 Patriots coughed up the ball 16 times through six games. This year’s team has committed 11 turnovers of their own.

Bledsoe and Jones even threw the same number of interceptions (6) in their first six games, going through familiar rookie struggles (though Bledsoe was nowhere near as accurate as Jones has been so far).


The Patriots lost three of their first four home games in ‘93 by a field goal, with the fourth loss coming in overtime (sound familiar?) to the Bills.

It’s possible nothing about this year’s team will resemble Bledsoe and Parcells’s fledgling squad by the end of this season, though.

Despite their 2-4 record, the 2021 Patriots can keep themselves in the playoff race by virtue of the schedule: seven of their remaining 11 opponents have sub-.500 records.

Regardless of how the 2021 season finishes, that 1993 comparison offers a silver lining. Despite missing the playoffs, they finished strong, winning their last four games.

And 1994 was a huge improvement. Bledsoe started all 16 games and threw for 4,555 yards, leading the Patriots to a 10-6 record and the wild-card round