How do you feel about the New England Patriots against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday?

Still worried after that 21-point meltdown by the defense in the fourth quarter of last week’s 42-27 opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs?

Still shaking your head at Tom Brady’s 44 percent passing completion percentage?

Well, in the immortal words of Aaron Rodgers, “Relax.”

It’s way too early to be worried. The Patriots are too talented, too smart, too well-coached to falter for long.

And they’re too resilient to let a loss – even one as stunning as the opener – disrupt them. Since 2003 the Patriots are 42-6 following a regular-season loss. This is a team that knows how to bounce back.

But …

There should be some concerns. Especially with the offense.

Yeah, with Brady calling the signals they’ll be fine, but it might take some time.

They need to find someone to replace Julian Edelman.

As much as the Patriots talk about moving on and playing the next man up, Edelman’s absence was at the core of New England’s offensive difficulties last week. And it was never more evident than in the decisive fourth quarter.

Until then the Patriots had been able to match anything the Chiefs threw at them. Kansas City would score, the Patriots would counter to regain the lead.

But in the fourth quarter that all changed.

Without Edelman, who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a season-ending knee injury in the preseason, no one stepped up to make the big play. That was never more evident than on New England’s first series of the quarter.

Trailing 28-27, New England faced a third-and-2 at the Kansas City 41. Brady took the snap, threw a short pass to running back James White on the right and … White was stopped inches shy of the first down. New England went for it on fourth down and for the second time in the game, Mike Gillislee was stopped cold.

The Patriots never threatened again. On their next three series, Brady went 0 of 6 and was sacked three times. Brady was 3 of 10 for 35 yards in the fourth quarter. They were 0 of 4 on third-down conversions in the fourth.

Granted, the Patriots were shorthanded. Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell was placed on injured reserve before the game. Danny Amendola, who had been considered first in line to replace Edelman, left with a concussion while returning a punt and didn’t play again. He’s also out Sunday against New Orleans.

Phillip Dorsett, recently acquired in a trade with Indianapolis, had only been on the roster for five days and wasn’t ready to contribute fully against the Chiefs.

The slot receiver position is vital to New England’s offense. Edelman has led the team in catches in three of the last four years, finishing third in 2015 after an injury ended his season. Before him, Wes Welker led the team in catches for six consecutive seasons, starting in 2007.

It’s arguable that Edelman and Welker elevated the slot receiver, or the possession receiver, to one of the most important positions in football. They made the catches to keep drives going.

Now Brady has to find that guy again. And it doesn’t necessarily have to come from a slot receiver. Amendola, who caught six passes for 100 yards in the opener before his injury, can play that role, but this offense is diverse.

They have the best tight end in football in Rob Gronkowski and an exceptional backup in Dwayne Allen.

They have White, a running back who can be a matchup nightmare in the slot. After all, he only set a Super Bowl record last February with 14 catches. Then there’s Dion Lewis, the running back other teams covet but the Patriots wisely have kept. He’s one of their most elusive backs. White and Lewis can play in the slot in some formations.

At wide receiver, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Dorsett can run through any secondary. But they need the underneath receivers to keep the defense honest and not simply retreat to a deep zone.

It will come.

And the offense might have to jell as soon as Sunday. The Saints, with Drew Brees, can score in bunches. The Patriots might need to match every point in a shootout.

This is a big game for the Patriots. Even though the AFC East is weak and they should win it again, no one wants to start the season 0-2.

They know what it’s going to take to win. “We’ve got to be at our best mentally, physically, emotionally,” said Brady.

After last week, you know he’s going to be ready. And you know what he can do when he’s challenged.

So relax.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH