Where do the 2023 New England Patriots rank among worst scoring offenses in NFL history?

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talks with quarterback Bailey Zappe during the second half Sunday's loss to the Chargers.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talks with quarterback Bailey Zappe during the second half Sunday's loss to the Chargers.

Anyone who has watched the New England Patriots in 2023 could tell you this is not the team it once was.

Like most of the Patriots iterations in the post-Tom Brady years, this year's team is lackluster, but none of those other versions of this team have been quite as tough to watch as this one, this year.

Through 12 games of the 2023 season, New England is at the very bottom of the league – 32nd out of 32 – in scoring offense. The team has scored an average of just 12.3 points per game, a number brought down by three straight weeks of failing to score more than seven points in a game.

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Where does Patriots' 2023 offense rank historically?

The worst scoring offense in NFL history by points per game were the 1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who went 2-12 in their second season as an NFL franchise and scored just 7.4 points per game.

As of Week 13, the 2023 Patriots' 12.3 points per game would be tied for 28th in lowest scoring offenses of all time. The other teams with such a low offensive output were the 1970 New Orleans Saints (2-11-1), the 1976 Atlanta Falcons (4-10), the 1991 Phoenix Cardinals (4-12), the 2009 Oakland Raiders (5-11) and the 2010 Carolina Panthers (2-14).

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Who is the Patriots' Offensive Coordinator?

This is not how the 2023 season was supposed to go down.

The Patriots' offense in 2022 was oft-maligned.

Following former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' departure for the Raiders' head coaching job in 2022, New England head coach Bill Belichick refused to name a replacement. Instead, former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia called the offensive plays as a "senior football advisor" with the help of former special teams coordinator Joe Judge, who now had an "offensive assistant" title.

That year, the Patriots dropped from sixth in the NFL in scoring offense (27.2 points per game) in 2021 down to 17th (21.4).

This past offseason, Belichick hired Bill O'Brien to be the true offensive coordinator. He had previously served as the Patriots' offensive coordinator in 2011 and most recently was Alabama's OC in 2021 and 2022.

Under O'Brien (and two different quarterbacks) this year, New England's offensive production has only worsened.

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Patriots 2024 NFL draft picks

The Patriots have seven draft picks, one in each round, in the 2024 NFL draft. They hold their own pick for Rounds 1-6 and the Bears' seventh-round pick, which they acquired when Chicago traded for N'Keal Harry last year.

Through 13 weeks of the 2023 season, New England holds the second overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft thanks to their 2-10 record.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2023 New England Patriots offense among all-time NFL worsts