We’re ¾ of the way through arguably the worst NFL season we’ve ever seen. The league is a dystopian Hellscape of bad teams, terrible games, corrupt officating, coaches cheating, coverups by the league, coaches going down with health problems, failed drug tests, fans falling from the skies like snowflakes, and the Jets. So it’s kind weirdly ironic that the team that had the most tumultuous offseason out of anyone… maybe the worst in their history… would, relatively speaking, be Team Tranquility so far. Seriously, aside from getting jobbed by some terrible calls, Tom Brady making pissy faces at some of his rookies and Gronk making a racial slur at a guy who thought it was hysterical, the Patriots have been sailing in relatively calm waters all year.
It hasn’t been perfect by any means, but when you’re 9-3 and can clinch a playoff berth this weekend, you can’t complain. So for no reason other than we’re rounding the clubhouse turn and heading down the stretch and there’s been no other news this week, it’s List Time. My picks for the Best and Worst Five Patriots so far this season:
The Five Best Patriots So Far in 2013:
5. Gronk. The only reason he doesn’t rank higher on this list is because he missed six games. The reason he HAS to be on this list is the immediate, unmistakable and profound impact he had on the offense the second he hit the field. Here’s what happened to the offense’s numbers from the six games without him to the six weeks with him:
Points Per Game: Games 1-6: 22nd in the league. Games 7-12: 2nd
Passing Yards Per Game: 19h to 6th
Red Zone Efficiency: 30th to 5th
First Downs Per Game: 16th to 1st
Looking at those numbers and there’s not much doubt he’s the second most important player on this team.