Crunch time for Belichick?

In 26 years ago as a head coach, Bill Belichick has never gone four years in a row without winning a playoff game.

Belichick is now on the cusp of doing that for the first time.

Last year was the third time he went without a playoff win for a third year in a row.

The first two times were his first three years with the Browns and then the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Patriots. He won a playoff game in his fourth year with the Browns and then went 18-0 before losing the Super Bowl in 2011.

That is why this is such a critical year for Belichick and his future as a coach.

There are differing opinions where the Patriots are as a team. Fansided reported only three teams in the AFC – the Jets, Jaguars and Texans – are worse than the Patriots. And noted they have just one Pro Bowler, Matthew Judon, on defense.

And Belichick spent big in free agency last year, including signng two expensive tight ends, and still didn’t win a playoff game. And now he’s lost play-caller Josh McDaniel and maybe the job to Matt Patricia, who is noted more as a defensive coach.

And last year, they had a seven-game winning streak but then lost three of their last four and then were blown out in the playoffs by the Bills, 47-17.

Meanwhile, The Athletic’s view is that Belichick is getting too much grief.

Regardless, owner Bob Kraft seems to be getting impatient.

“More than anything, it bothers me that we haven’t won a playoff game the last three years,’’ Kraft said at the league meetings in March.

It may bother him more if they go a fourth year without winning a playoff game.

Now the question is whether Belichick can end his three-year drought and win a playoff game this year.