After the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, the New England Patriots went into this off-season looking like they had more to prove than they already have. They made some big additions on both sides of the ball, looking to get their sixth Super Bowl title in franchise history.
For the offense, they had both losses and gains, but were able to hold onto the core that keeps them as one of the top offenses in the league. Can this current Patriots team match the fire power and record-breaking numbers that the 2007 Patriots offense put up? Let’s take a closer look at the comparisons by positional groups.
This is the one spot on the roster that still has the same name at number one in the positional depth chart. Tom Brady is still the lead guy under center, and is still throwing the ball like he was in 2007 when he threw a then-record 50 touchdowns that season. Last year, while only playing 12 games, Brady threw 28 touchdowns and only two interceptions, which gave him a single season NFL-record 14-1 TD/INT ratio.
Brady is playing some of his best football, and will be 40 in the upcoming season. There are some fears that father time will catch up with him, but it may have more to do with the back up quarterbacks to see which team has the advantage.
In 2007, Matt Cassel and Matt Gutierrez never started a game, but they combined for eight passing attempts on the season in garbage time. Matt Cassel would become the Patriots’ primary starter in the 2008 season after Brady tore his ACL in the first game of the season. He led the Patriots to a 11-5 record that season, while just missing the playoffs.
In 2017, the Patriots have Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett are two young guys who each got to play during Brady’s suspension last season. They both have great potential and they showed it during their playing times during the first four games of last season. For this, we give the back-up advantage to the 2017 Patriots squad.
However, 2007 Tom Brady was a whole other animal who we may never see again from any quarterback. Whichever year you pick, you are going to have Tom Brady and that is why it is hard to choose one team.
The 2007 rushing attack was led by a young Laurence Maroney, who led the team with 185 attempts, 835 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. Behind him was Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk, whose combined 147 rushing attempts only amounted to 649 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. Faulk had more receiving yards than rushing yards, but there will always be one running back like that every Patriots season.
Last season, that was James White, who had over 3 receiving yards for a single rushing yard last season. The Patriots lost their leading rusher in LeGarrette Blount, but picked up Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee who can take some of the work load that Blount had last season. With those two new guys coming in, along with Dion Lewis and fullback James Devlin, the 2017 Patriots get the advantage again because of the depth and versatility that all their backfield options should give to the offense.
Advantage: 2017 Patriots
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Looking at both groups right away, you probably are thinking that the 2007 receiving core was much better because of the top two options. Randy Moss, one of the best receivers ever, had a career year in his first season with the Patriots with 98 catches, 1493 yards and the single season record of 23 receiving touchdowns. This performance, along with Wes Welker‘s 112 catches for 1175 yards and eight touchdowns, shows how explosive the offense was back in 2007.
But after those two guys, there was no real depth for the receiving core behind Moss and Welker. Kevin Faulk, a running back, had the third most receptions on the team. Following him was wide out Donte’ Stallworth and tight end Ben Watson. They did not have amazing numbers, but were contributors to the all-time offense of 2007.
What the 2017 brings to the table that 2007 couldn’t is depth. Julian Edelman is a tougher Wes Welker and Brandon Cooks is a rising star whose ability to get deep is reminding Patriots fans of what Moss was doing in Foxborough. But past those two receivers, the Patriots depth at the position is unmatched to what Patriots fans have seen in a long time. Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end in the league when he can stay healthy, and Dwayne Allen will be able to be a great blocking tight end while still making plays with the ball.
After Edelman and Cooks, the receivers behind them in the depth chart include Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell, all of which played key roles in bringing the Vince Lombardi trophy back to New England last season.
When it comes to the receivers, 2007 may have the bigger names, but 2017 gets the edge because of the depth and Gronk.
Advantage: 2017 Patriots
Now it is somewhat hard to really analyze an offensive line as individuals because each player does not really rack up much stats. To take a closer look at it, observing them as a whole unit will be easier and much quicker.
In 2007, the Offensive Line helped the team put up one of the best offenses in recent memory, while allowing Tom to have plenty of time to make the right play, advance the ball down the field and get into the end zone. They only allowed 21 sacks the whole season, while scoring the most points and the most yards.
For the 2017 offensive line, it is important that they stay consistent and play as well as they did last year. They only allowed 24 sacks and had the fourth best yards on offense. They do not have as much of a veteran presence as the 2007 unit had, and for that, we give the advantage to them.
Advantage: 2007 Patriots
After looking deeper into the details, it seems that the 2017 New England Patriots offense has the potential to be even better than the 2007 team. With Tom Brady playing some of his best football, and his diverse weapons, it is hard to see this offense put up bad numbers for the upcoming season. Patriots fans are in for a real treat this season.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new New England Patriots article is published, fill out our email notification form.