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New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 12: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots awaits the snap during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Through three games, the Patriots are dead last in the NFL in red zone percentage. They’ve scored a touchdown on just two of their eight trips inside the 20 so far this year.

Yet to chalk the Patriots’ lack of scoring (18 points per game, 26th in NFL) up to red zone issues doesn’t paint the entire picture. The bigger problem is the team’s “situational offense,” encompassing both third down and the red zone, weighing individual plays more as a team gets further down the field.

The Patriots’ overall third down numbers through three games actually aren’t bad. They’re 21-of-47, or 44.7 percent, which ranks eighth in the NFL. Their average “to-go” distance on those plays is 6.7 yards, which is the 13th shortest in the league. So from a big-picture standpoint, they’ve seemingly exceeded expectations on third downs.

However, that picture gets a little less pretty as the Patriots start to move the ball. Specifically, once they get into field goal range – which, for clarity purposes, we’ll define as the 32-yard line (a 49-yard field goal) and in.

Once inside field goal range, the Patriots’ third down percentage drops to 35.3 percent, with six of their 17 tries converted. That percentage ranks 19th in the league.

MORE: Forget Mac Jones, everyone else needs to be better

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.