FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots have developed a bad habit. It’s a trend uncharacteristic of a team that won the Super Bowl eight months ago, and something that’s going to have to be rectified.

The 2017 Patriots have performed better in the first half than the second. They’ve come out of the gates pretty well, only to wilt when it counts.

That won’t bode well if it continues. Maybe the Patriots can get away with going cold in the second half against teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whom they beat last Thursday. And maybe they can do it against the New York Jets on Sunday. But looking down the road, it probably won’t work next week against a revenge-seeking Falcons team who will want to pile on the points from start to finish.

Like their penchant for taking stupid penalties and their continued communication issues, this is another trait that just doesn’t compute. It’s so un-Patriots-like, but the numbers don’t lie.

The Patriots have scored 97 first-half points with a mere 51 in the second half. They’ve been scoreless once in the third quarter, once in the fourth, and produced only a field goal in those quarters four times.

Quarterback Tom Brady thinks it’s a small sample size and the problem will work itself out.

“We scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter in the Carolina game. The Houston game, I would say, wasn’t a great second half. We didn’t play very well in the (Kansas City) game at all. So I just think there’s still a lot of football left, and hopefully that may or may not even out over the course of a year,” Brady said.

“I don’t think, really, things change for us. I mean, we’re trying to go out and execute at a really high level and sometimes we don’t really get the job done. So our inconsistency has maybe led to some of those (numbers) but we’d like to score all the time.”

The Patriots still rank third in the NFL in points, but it’s hard to overlook the fact they come out like gangbusters in the first half before going into a second-half malaise. Opponents must be adjusting, and the Pats haven’t been able to counter as well as they have in the past.

It’s not like they’ve been going to a ground-and-pound style in the second halves of games, running the ball more and slowing things. That happened in New Orleans and to some extent against Tampa Bay, but not in any other game.

“It’s a point to be made that we can start fast and just need to maintain that the whole game,” receiver Danny Amendola said. “That’s what you have to do to win games. You have to sustain, you have to score throughout the game. It’s two halves. Everyone knows that . . . it’s definitely on us. It’s on everyone on offense to make adjustments themselves and try to get points on the board as much as possible.”

As for defense, there hasn’t been much positive except for showing some signs of improvement against the Bucs. Then again, the Pats almost lost in the closing seconds. After holding Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston in check most of the game, he threw for 228 yards in the fourth quarter.

Winston had just 106 yards in the first three quarters.

Had Nick Folk not missed three field goals, it might have been a different story.

The Pats are being outscored 71-51 in the second half, 51-28 in the fourth quarter. As Coach Bill Belichick would say, that’s not what you’re looking for.

“Yeah, the biggest thing we talk about is the fourth quarter and wanting to be better,” defensive captain Devin McCourty said. “But you can put all that together, coming out of halftime, playing in the fourth quarter. That last game (against the Bucs), yards-wise, we gave up a third of our yards just in the fourth quarter. Bill’s been harping on our conditioning. But to put your finger on exactly what it is, I’m not sure.”

The Patriots typically pride themselves on conditioning and being able to outlast opponents physically and mentally. If you watched the “Do Your Job 2” documentary, one of the significant elements brought to light was their constant hill running.

Have they lost that edge?

“When you talk about playing in the fourth quarter, that factors in conditioning, being able to finish a game,” McCourty said. “So we’ve talked about that, too. (Belichick) always pays attention to things like that. The only thing we can do is try to improve.”

The Jets are a good place to start.