Mid-Season Report Card

Brandon King (36) is one of New England’s core special team players

Photograph by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

1st in the NFL in starting field position on kickoff returns (28.50 yard line) - Dion Lewis is 5th in the league in averaging 24.2 yards per return.

2nd in the NFL average opponent starting field position on kickoffs (23.00 yard line) - Stephen Gostkowski’s high kicks, placed right at the front of the end zone, are giving the coverage unit time to corral the returner.

6th in the NFL in punt returns - Danny Amendola is 5th in the league with 11.2 yards per punt return.

25th in the league on field goals of 40 or more yards (63%) - That means that if the line of scrimmage is at the 23 yard line or beyond, New England has a one-and-three chance of missing the kick. This observer notes that Joe Cardona has been consistent on his long snaps this season.

28th in the NFL in net punting average - Ryan Allen is averaging 39.0 yards net, and put only 35% of his punts inside the 20 yard line (23rd best in NFL).

Devin McCourty has been in on 527 of 528 defensive snaps in the first half of the season

Photograph published by NBCSports.com

32rd (worst) in the league in Yards allowed per drive (39.30) and 23rd in points per drive (2.02) – New England has given up 36 opponent plays of 20 or more yards.

32nd (worst) against the run (5.01 opponent yards per carry) – This is a stark contrast to last season, where the Patriots were 8th in the league, giving up 3.9 yards per carry.

28th against the pass (101.0 opponent quarterback rating) – The Patriots have given multiple quarterbacks their best game of the season.

22nd in the NFL with nine takeaways – On pace for 18 takeaways in 2017, and over the past three years the defense has averaged 23 takeaways.

16th in points allowed per game (22.4), and 7th in points allowed per opponent red zone appearance (4.24).

Interior linemen Joe Thuney (62), David Andrews (60), and Shaq Mason (69) have played all 593 offensive snaps in the first half of the season

Photograph by Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP Photo

1st (best) in the league in Yards gained per drive (39.01) and 3rd in points per drive (2.52)

2nd in in the league for team passer rating (106.5) - Tom Brady hasn’t been perfect in 2017, but he’s still among the best playing. The offensive line has been 15th overall in sack rate (6.6%).

2nd in the NFL with only five turnovers – It can be argued that New England’s ball control is the difference between a 6-2 and 2-6 start of the season.

7th in points scored per game (27.0), and 14th in points allowed per opponent red zone appearance (4.74)

21st in run efficiency (3.9 yards per carry) – Ironically, Footballoutsiders.com calculates the offensive line’s production (adjusted for conditions) as 2nd in the NFL when run blocking between the guards and center.

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