There are plenty of ways to break down the Patriots’ 2-8 record, but in this instance, we’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. Here are 10 stats that tell the story of the 2023 Patriots through their first 10 games.
▪ Minus-6: The Patriots’ turnover differential. Only two teams — the Raiders (minus-7) and Bears (minus-9) — are worse. While the Patriots have 10 takeaways (six interceptions, four fumbles recovered) that’s tied for 23rd in the league, they’ve given the ball away an abysmal 16 times (11 interceptions, five fumbles lost).
▪ 0: The Patriots have zero wins in games in which quarterback Mac Jones throws an interception. He did not throw a pick in the wins over the Jets and Bills.
In his two-plus seasons in New England, Jones has thrown four pick-sixes at home, including two this year. By way of comparison, Tom Brady threw four pick-sixes at Gillette Stadium over the course of his entire career with the Patriots.
▪ 2.6: Their average first-quarter scoring output, tied for 27th in the league. Simply put, early deficits have doomed the Patriots in most of their losses. The Patriots also have been wildly ineffective coming out of halftime, as they are averaging 1.9 points per game in third-quarter action, tied for last in the league.
Overall, the Patriots have averaged 14.1 points per game. If they stay at that rate, it will be their worst average since the 1992 team scored 12.8 per game.
6: The highest overall draft pick the Patriots have had under Bill Belichick. That came in 2001, when they selected future Hall of Famer Richard Seymour. If they continue to slide, the Patriots will better that slot this year; heading into the weekend, they are in the third position.
Depending on what happens over the next couple of weeks, the Patriots could move ahead of the Giants (No. 2) following the Nov. 26 game between the teams at MetLife Stadium.
7: The number of different starting combinations the Patriots have had along the offensive line. Wracked by injury and ineffective play, the line hasn’t been able to build any sort of consistency or continuity; it’s not the only reason the offense has struggled mightily, but it’s not coincidental.
The only member of the line to start all 10 games is center David Andrews; the veteran hasn’t missed a snap all season.
8: The difference in non-offensive touchdowns from 2022 to 2023. One thing that camouflaged some of the scoring struggles last season was a knack for finding points in other areas. The 2022 Patriots led the league with eight non-offensive touchdowns: five interception returns, two fumble returns, and one punt return.
This season, while the defense has carried its share of the load when it comes to complementary football, it doesn’t have a touchdown.
13: The number of catches Demario Douglas needs to tie Deion Branch for the most by a rookie receiver during the Belichick era. The sixth-round pick out of Liberty has become the most dependable part of the passing game, and he put the capper on a nice stretch last Sunday with six catches on nine targets for 84 yards, all season highs.
Through 10 games, Douglas has 30 catches for 361 yards. Branch set the rookie standard for receptions under Belichick with 43 for 489 yards and two touchdowns in 2002.
While the offense’s work has mostly been forgettable, Douglas has positioned himself to be a building block for the future.
17: The number of wins Belichick needs to pass Don Shula for the NFL career record. Including the postseason, Shula is at 347, while Belichick is at 331.
It was once believed to be a certainty that Shula’s mark was within reach, and that Belichick would make history as a member of the Patriots. Now, it’s a far more complicated situation.
Ultimately, Belichick’s pursuit of the record is an inescapable part of any discussion about his coaching future, either in New England or elsewhere.
19: Number of 20-plus-yard plays on offense. The lack of explosiveness is jarring. Only two teams (the Raiders and Panthers) have fewer plays of 20-plus yards. In addition, the Patriots are tied for last in plays of 40-plus yards with two.
74: Rushing yards per game. Rhamondre Stevenson has to average the rest of the season to hit 1,000. Stevenson, who has 482 yards through 10 games (including 175 combined the last two games), finished with 1,040 last year. If he breaks the 1,000-yard barrier, he’ll be the first running back in Belichick’s head coaching career — including his time in Cleveland — to rush for 1,000 in back-to-back seasons.