We might not know enough about the 2019 Patriots to gauge their ultimate ceiling, but a peek at some of the numbers reveal the breadth of their accomplishments through six games, and can offer some insight into what they could be capable of down the road.
With that in mind, here are 10 numbers that provide a snapshot when it comes to the state of the team heading into Monday’s game in North Jersey.
1: Coming into Thursday, Jamie Collins is the only player in the league with at least three interceptions, four sacks (he has 4.5), and four passes defensed this season. In his second act with the Patriots, the linebacker has made a strong case for Defensive Player of the Year honors. The only other players who have the same sort of varied stat line are old friend Logan Ryan (2.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 6 PDs) of the Titans and T.J. Watt (4 sacks, 1 INT, 3 PDs) of the Steelers.
3.5: The average yards per carry for the New England ground game, which is 27th in the league. For a team that was so devastating on the ground down the stretch and into the postseason last year (Sony Michel averaged 4.7 yards per carry in the 2018 playoffs), the numbers are a little worrisome. You can attribute some of the drop-off to not having center David Andrews in the lineup, and losing fullback James Develin shortly after the regular season began. Maybe Develin’s return can provide a spark? Perhaps they’ll be better equipped in November and December to take advantage of some mismatches? While the Patriots are a constantly evolving offense — and the rushing attack certainly took time to gel last year — New England needs to get the ground game moving sooner rather than later.
4: The number of sacks for rookie Chase Winovich. He’s almost halfway to tying the franchise record for first-year pass rushers – Garin Veris had 10 in 1985. (For the record, Chandler Jones had six in 2012, and Deatrich Wise had five in 2017.)
7: The number of guys in franchise history who have been back-to-back All-Pros — John Hannah, Nick Buoniconti, Rob Gronkowski, Richard Seymour, Larry Eisenhauer, Ben Coates, and Jim Nance. The way he’s going, Stephon Gilmore could very well be No. 8 this year. The cornerback has been incredibly stingy through the first six games, and while there’s a long way to go between now and the end of the season, as long as he stays healthy, he should be in the conversation for another All-Pro berth.
10: The number of personnel moves the Patriots have made at wide receiver since Sept. 1 (not including practice squad maneuvers). The constant turnover has forced New England to get creative when it comes to the pass-catcher spot. N’Keal Harry, who returned to practice earlier this week, could help down the stretch. Or maybe the Pats could get a boost between now and the trade deadline. Whatever the case, New England could use some stability at receiver.
13.7: The conversion rate for opposing offenses on third down against New England. It’s far and away the best total in the league — the Cowboys are second at 25.4 percent. Overall, the Patriots have held opponents to just 10-for-73 on third down.
18.53: The average gain per play for the Patriots this year on passes that fall under the heading “deep right.” It’s best in the league, according to the NFL’s Game Statistics & Information System. Overall, Brady has gone “deep right” 15 times this year, and completed 60 percent of the throws, also good enough for best in the NFL through six weeks.
By that same token, the least successful play this year for New England is a rush around left end — the Patriots have 16 rush plays around left end this season, and have averaged just 2.25 yards per play. That’s the worst per play average in the NFL when it comes to that play call.
48: Total points allowed by the Patriots through the first six games, an astounding average of eight a game. You play the hand you are dealt — New England couldn’t control the fact it faced some of the lowest-scoring teams in the league — but it’s still an impressive total, any way you look at it. That rate figures to change over the second half of the season as the Patriots will play Kansas City, Baltimore, and Houston, but right now, it’s the best total in the league, and the group deserves to be acknowledged as one of the best in recent league history.
79.2: New England’s percentage on extra-point attempts. It’s the lowest percentage in the NFL of any team with at last 15 attempts to this point in the season. (Stephen Gostkowski was 11-for-15 before he was lost for the season, while Mike Nugent is 8-for-9.)
438: The number of snaps Ted Karras has taken this year — he’s the only player in all three areas (offense, defense, special teams) to play 100 percent of the snaps this season. Karras, who moved into the starting center role when Andrews went down before the start of the season, is one of multiple players along the offensive line who have filled in at one point for an injured starter. While wide receiver could be a trade deadline need, if the Patriots don’t get Isaiah Wynn back from a stint on IR, they could also be the market for some tackle help.
Follow Christopher Price @cpriceNFL.