The New England Patriots are in uncharted territory for a 10-3 team. They've now lost two of their last three games, posting an average scoring margin of -3.0 points per contest during that span.
That's worse than 22 other NFL teams during that same stretch.
Much time has been spent discussing the likely culprit for the offensive vulnerability in New England. The loss of Rob Gronkowski could certainly be playing a role, as can the inexperience of the team's skill-position players.
At the end of the day, though, how much of the struggle can be attributed to the regression of Tom Brady?
Brady's expected points added (EPA) per play figure has been well below the league median since early November. In fact, since his MVP season in 2017, Brady's EPA has continued to follow a downward trajectory, save for a few spikes in production.
Supporting cast can definitely play a role in a quarterbacks' ability to orchestrate successful drives and therefore directly impact his EPA. At the same time, though, no one can play at an MVP-caliber level forever.
No one knows what the future holds for Brady and the Patriots. It would be very Brady-esque for him to turn around next season, or even in the playoffs, with a revamped offense and march through the AFC yet again.
It's also possible, though, that we might just be witnessing the end of an era.
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