The New England Patriots are not used to being in this position. The team is 2-5 and on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. However, they can start turning things around tonight when they face the New York Jets who have yet to win a game. The Week 9 edition of Monday Night Football airs at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN. Patriots vs. Jets can also be streamed on the ESPN app.
The Patriots have lost their last four games after starting the season 2-1. Cam Newton has not looked sharp the entire year, throwing two touchdown passes and seven interceptions with a 73.2 rating. Patriots coach Bill Belichick recently talked about the team's struggles and pinpointed why they are not winning games.
"Look, we paid Cam Newton $1 million. I mean it's obvious we didn't have any money. It's nobody's fault," he said on WEEI Boston. "That's what we did the last five years. We sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth and played in an AFC championship game. This year we had less to work with. It's not an excuse, it's just a fact." Belichick is looking at the entire roster as the reason for the team's lack of success, but Newton says his play is why the team is struggling.
"I still am jeopardizing this team's success because of my lackluster performances of protecting the football," Newton said after last Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bill. "Coach trusts me with the ball in my hands, and I wouldn't want it any other way, and I've just got to do a better job of protecting it."
The Jets have a number of issues on both sides of the ball, and it starts with quarterback Sam Darnold who will likely not play tonight due to a shoulder injury. Joe Flacco, who led the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl win in 2012, is expected to get the start.
"I'm definitely a lot more [comfortable in the offense] than I was a few weeks ago when I was getting my first start or even when I had to get in there against the Broncos," Flacco said to the Jets official website. "I feel comfortable with all the guys, I feel comfortable being in the huddle. Just in terms of me feeling comfortable with the game overall, I've gotten out there, I've played again. I've gotten my feet wet and all those kind of things. I feel really good going into the game."