Don’t stop believing Patriots fans, Nick Folk did it again. He hit a 50-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the Patriots to a 20-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals.  Folk also made a 51-yard field goal to win the game against the New York Jets earlier in the season.  It wasn’t the best game for the offense by any stretch, but a win is a win at this point in the season.  This win was pretty unexpected, as New England looked dead in the water after the loss to Houston last week, but there is now new found hope, hopefully it is not false hope. 

Cam’s Outfit Check

I’m not sure what the top is, I am not a fashion expert by any means.  I wear Adidas sweatpants 90% of the time.  But the all-black works.  It is definitely better than last week, and we can all agree on that.  It is not the best, but it is not the worst at all.  7 out of 10.

Defense Carries The Offense

The Patriots defense had a strong outing against Kyler Murray today.  Murray has been almost unstoppable this season, especially on the ground.  He has 650 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns on the season.  He was held to only 31 yards rushing and zero touchdowns.  Chase Winovich and Adam Butler were in Murray’s face almost all day, forcing Murray to make some magic. 

The defense also had a massive stop at the end of the first half, keeping the Cardinals from scoring a touchdown.  It would have been 17-7 with Arizona starting with the ball in the second half.  Instead, Ja’Whaun Bentley filled a hole and stopped Kenyan Drake from running it in from inside the one.  This kept the Pats within three and shifted the momentum.

Struggling Offense

Even with a win today, the offensive struggles are still there.  Cam only had 84 yards passing and two interceptions, one of his worst games as a Pats QB.  Damien Harris also only had 47 yards on 14 carries.  

Cam has been inconsistent with his performances this season, and it is worrying.  In some games, he throws all over the yard, and in others, he struggles to throw accurate passes.  He will not win games just with his arm alone, but he needs better and more consistent performances if this team has any shot at the playoffs.

The Patriots’ special teams units were game-changing.  Donte Moncrief nearly had a kick return touchdown, but his return set the offense up with great field position.  Gunner Olszewski should have had an 82-yard punt return touchdown, but a bogus blindside block penalty brought it back.  The return still set New England up with great field position again inside of Arizona’s territory.

Then the Nick Folk kick, which won the game.  Folk has been great all season, and he has kept Justin Rohrwasser on the practice squad.  He can’t win every game for New England, but he sure is clutch.

Still Some Hope

The Patriots need to still win out, but the chance is still there.  If the defense plays the way it did today, then they have a shot.  The offense needs to play better, and they will.  Cam has been inconsistent, but the running game has been very good all season.  There could be an extra playoff spot added if the NFL needs to use a Week 18, so the Patriots are not dead.  They still also have to play every team in the AFC East, so they are not totally out of the division either. 

But before we get into the final divisional games, both the teams from sunny Los Angeles are on the schedule.  The Chargers come first, and that game is definitely winnable.  The Rams are less winnable, but if the Pats fly out of Los Angeles with two wins, they have a serious shot at the playoffs.  Every week so far has been either hopeful or hopeless.  But one game at a time.  On to Los Angeles, part one.