How Does Patriots’ Signing Of Martellus Bennett Change AFC East Race?

Last Updated: 2017-11-10

Hours after the Green Bay Packers got rid of Martellus Bennett because quarterback Aaron Rodgers became injured, the New England Patriots picked up the veteran tight end for their annual playoff push.

Bennett helped lead the Patriots to a Super Bowl victory last season. Once he joined the Packers, it seemed like they were set to make the run at the NFC title. However, Rodgers’ collarbone injury changed the Packers’ fortunes rapidly. Now, Bennett joins the No. 1 team in the AFC East.

The Patriots are (6-2) and are currently tied for AFC lead with the Pittsburgh Steelers. They also have a slight lead in the AFC East over the Buffalo Bills (5-3). However, it has not been easy for these Patriots. They are No. 7 in scoring offense, averaging 27 points per game. They are also giving up over 22 points per game, defensively. So, there’s a reason why the Patriots decided to add a little more firepower on the offensive side of the ball.

Rob Gronkowski is second on the team with 34 receptions. He is tied for the lead with five touchdown receptions. However, the rest of the tight end unit has accounted for six receptions. Now, the addition of Bennett could get the Patriots back to where they were last season. Bennett caught 55 passes and a career high 7 touchdowns with Tom Brady at quarterback. Bennett also played in all 16 games with the Patriots last season. During his time with the Packers, he caught 24 passes in 7 games. However, Bennett was unable to find the end zone in the first half of the season.

Some are questioning whether Bennett quit on the Packers once Rodgers got injured. However, that’s a loaded accusation coming from a team that has decided to forge on without a proven commodity at quarterback. Now, Bennett’s presence means that the rest of the AFC East has one more playmaker to deal with.

The Patriots are fresh off of the bye week. They resume action with a pair of road games against AFC West foes. First, they take on the Denver Broncos on Sunday night. Then, they battle the Oakland Raiders. In fact, the Patriots still have five more road games to play this season. They also have five divisional games left on the schedule. The final eight games are against all against AFC opponents.

Due to their defense struggling, Bennett might end up being more of a savior than a luxury. Remember, the Patriots are only averaging 21.7 points per game over the last four games. They haven’t scored more than 24 points since the first week in October.

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