The New England Patriots offense hasn't been quite as sharp in 2019 as it has been in recent seasons. There are quite a few reasons for this. The offensive line is banged-up, the receiving corps is lacking weapons, and the run game hasn't been able to get going.
These problems have definitely played a role in the Patriots offense sputtering, but one underrated area that the team has been struggling in is converting third downs.
On the surface, it doesn't appear that they've been having many issues with this. After all, their percentage of conversions has come close to matching their pace from the past two seasons. Just take a look at the data:
But a deeper dive shows that in recent weeks, the Patriots' third-down conversion percentage has been poor.
According to the "Boston Sports Info" Twitter account, the Patriots have converted just 13 of their last 41 third-down attempts (31.7 percent conversion rate) dating back to their game against the Jets. In that contest, they converted their first four third downs before their struggles began.
If the Patriots can't rectify this issue against the stronger teams and defenses that they will be facing in the next four weeks, this could quickly become a major problem for them. As it stands, their offense has had trouble moving the ball. If third downs continue to be a problem, then the unit's struggles will only intensify.
We'll see if the Patriots were able to improve upon their third-down game plan during the bye week in their game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The game kicks off at 4:25 p.m. ET but you can catch pregame coverage on NBC Sports Boston and the MyTeams app starting at 1 p.m. ET.
Patriots have been unusually cold on third downs in recent weeks originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston