Ever since Tom Brady and the Patriots offense set countless NFL records in 2007, New England has boasted one of the best offenses in football. The unit annually finishes among the top three in scoring, and has several times topped the entire NFL.
But the 2018 season has seen a dip in those normal levels of production. The Patriots still rank eighth in the league in points, however, and there have been plenty of elements of the attack that have been worth noting.
Tom Brady's overall numbers are down but he remains one of the best quarterbacks in football, and his most reliable target, Julian Edelman, would be on 100-catch pace if not for his season-opening suspension. Rookie Sony Michel has run with power and been productive when healthy, giving the offense another dimension as well.
But there can only be one MVP on offense, and this week's Samsonite Make Your Case is looking for a pick. Who has been the Patriots offensive MVP this season?
PFW's Andy Hart says …
One true sign of greatness is when you lead the eighth-ranked scoring offense by completing better than 65 percent of your passes and win yet another division title and people wonder what's wrong. This hasn't been Brady's best year, but he remains among the league's best.
Brady has had to deal with a lot of turnover in the lineup, losing Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks in the offseason. There were several potential replacements at wide receiver and none panned out, leading to the arrival of Josh Gordon during the season. Rob Gronkowski hasn't been himself, Julian Edelman missed a month due to his suspension and yet Brady still managed to make it work.
He's had to adjust to different personnel as well as game plans that have featured more running than in the recent past. As he always has, Brady showed he could win in multiple ways as well, besting Patrick Mahomes in a shootout and squeaking past the likes of the Bills by leaning on the ground game.
It hasn't been vintage Brady, but given all of the changes he's been forced to endure, the offense has remained productive and he's the reason why.
PFW's Paul Perillo
The numbers say the offense ranks among the top 10 in the league, but when Sony Michel hasn't been a part of it that ranking would drop significantly. Michel has been productive when he's been healthy, topping 100 yards on four occasions in his rookie season.
When that happens the Patriots are virtually unbeatable. He provides the balance that allows the passing game to pick its spots rather than being forced to carry the load. When Michel has been out of the lineup, the offense tends to struggle as Brady is forced to do too much on his own.
Michel has shown surprising power running between the tackles and has also turned in his share of big plays in the running game that the Patriots have lacked in recent seasons. He's averaged 4.5 yards per carry, which allows Brady to sprinkle in play-action passes and keeps the offense in manageable situations.
When the offense has been at its best this season (think Kansas City), Michel is usually at the center of it.