10 bold predictions for the New England Patriots in 2022

Latest bold predictions for the Patriots

By: Jake Rajala

The New England Patriots aren’t pulling their foot off the pedal in the brutal AFC East. The cyborg head coach, Bill Belichick, has talent on his roster (such as QB Mac Jones, WR DeVante Parker, TE Hunter Henry, OLB Matthew Judon, and FS Devin McCourty) & he also has assistant coaches: Matt Patricia and Joe Judge back at this lab. With that said, I’m going to take a fun angle and untwine 10 bold predictions for the Patriots in 2022.

  • Mac Jones throws 30+ passing touchdowns

Mac Jones is no longer a rookie in the league and he clearly has a stronger taste of the NFL speed in his second season. Furthermore, Jones has new ammunition in his sophomore season – such as the new WR1 DeVante Parker. The former Phins wideout is still a year under 30 and I believe his ability shown in 2019 (1,202 yds and 9 touchdowns) isn’t too far behind him.

  • Hunter Henry makes the Pro Bowl

The former Los Angeles Chargers TE ousted a personal-best 9 TDs last season. I expect him to blossom in year two with the Pats – especially from a wiser QB1. I believe Henry can make his first Pro Bowl in 2022.

  • Josh Uche records double-digit sacks

BB shipped away the former Michigan Wolverine Chase Winovich and the new OLB starter is none other than Winovich’s former teammate at Michigan, Josh Uche. The young edge rusher has shined this off-season and I believe he is due for his best season in 2022 – which could absolutely be a double-digit sack campaign.

  • Devin McCourty makes the Pro Bowl

The Pats safety Devin McCourty is like fine wine – as he continues to shine in his old age (and he recently turned 35). He ousted three ints last season and PFF also gave him a potent 76.0 grade. I believe the three-time Pro Bowler will leave everything on the line in potentially his last season and garner a PB berth.

  • Matthew Judon is second-team All-Pro (at least)

Matthew Judon proved to be a monster pick-up by the Pats GM – as he recorded a personal-best 12.5 sacks in 2021. I believe he slightly improves – which will result in second-team AP honors (at least).

  • Christian Barmore is a Pro Bowler

The Pats x-factor on defense is Christian Barmore in my opinion. The Patriots 2021 second-round pick has freakish physical gifts and he also got his feet wet in year one. In year two – I foresee Barmore being unstoppable in the run game and improving in the passing game – which could lead to him obtaining Pro Bowl honors.

  • Ty Montgomery has 5+ TDs

The Pats inked the RB/WR Ty Montgomery in free agency – who has been with the Packers and Saints in his NFL journey. I believe he will be utilized best in New England & Mac Jones will stay efficient by hooking up with him in the red zone. I trust that he can unveil 5+ TDs in 2022.

  • Belichick smiles a few times

I know Belichick is an old-school philosopher & a bit of a hard-ass. However, he has tended to be more laid back in his older years. With that said, I believe he will be happy & even smile a few times in his 22nd season with NE. Yes, you read that correctly.

  • Nick Folk converts 40+ field goals for the Patriots

The Pats really leaned on their kicker Nick Folk to be a star in 2021 – as he had a career-high 39 attempts (and which he converted a personal-best 36 FGs). I believe he will be called on more than last season and he will shine by converting a whopping 40 FGs.

  • Damien Harris runs for 1,200+ yards

The 2019 third-round pick Damien Harris registered an impressive 15 rushing TDs and 929 rushing yds last season. I believe the future will only be brighter for the physical RB that is entering a contract year — hence, I believe he will up his single-season rushing yard tally to 1,200+ yards.

Projecting the New England Patriots record in 2022

What will be the Patriots record next season?

By: Jake Rajala

The New England Patriots are striving to return to the playoffs with second-year quarterback Mac Jones. They don’t carry a juggernaut defense, but they still have a talented, young QB and of course: the best NFL mind of all time in Bill Belichick. With that said, I’m going to project the highs, lows, and overall record for the Pats in 2022.

Week 1: at the Dolphins

The new-look Dolphins are noticeably more exciting with their WR duo and well-rounded defense than a Patriots team that has had fluky losses to the Dolphins in my opinion. I believe the Phins win 28-17.

Week 2: at the Steelers

I firmly believe Mitchell Trubisky will have a personal best season in 2022, but I expect I do expect the Pats to outmuscle the Steelers in this contest. I believe the Joe Haden-less CB group will allow Mac Jones to throw three touchdowns – as I foresee NE winning 28-21.

Week 3: at the Ravens

It will be hard for Mac Jones to move the pig skin against the Ravens ultra-elite pass defense. Meanwhile, I expect Lamar Jackson, who mowed down the Pats defense as a rook, to march his team to a 28-21 victory.

Week 4: at the Packers

It’s clear the Pats have a difficult schedule from Week 1 to Week 4. I expect A-Rod to have a big game against the Pats – as I believe GB wins 35-28.

Week 5: vs the Lions

The Lions may take positive steps in 2022, but they won’t beat NE and BB. I expect the Pats to win 35-21, as the Jones-Parker connection should thrive.

Week 6: at the Browns

The Browns will probably not have Deshaun Watson in this contest. With that said, I believe the Pats win a close game by a score of 28-24.

Week 7: vs the Bears

I do believe the Bears have a Top-5 pick in the 2023 draft. I fully expect the young Justin Fields to struggle against the Belichick defense and I believe the Pats win 28-14.

Week 8: at the Jets

The NYJ may not have Robert Saleh or Zach Wilson in my opinion. I didn’t love Saleh without a healthy Nick Bosa in 2020 and he clearly didn’t shine last season. I believe NE wins 35-17 in this divisional fight.

Week 9: vs the Colts

I believe the Colts could honestly have the number one seed in the AFC next season. I also feel they pick up a pivotal win against Indy by a score of 35-21.

Week 11: vs the Jets

The Jets shouldn’t beat the Pats in their second face-off – as I project Mac Jones to throw four touchdowns and NE to win 28-14.

Week 12: at the Vikings

I feel like the Vikings will lift off with Kevin O’Connell and a healthy Danielle Hunter. I believe the Vikings win this game by a score of 24-17.

Week 13: vs the Bills

The Buffalo Bills are my Super Bowl favorite and they should flex their guns in this AFC East battle. I believe the Bills, who acquired Von Miller this off-season, will win 38-24.

Week 14: at the Cardinals

I imagine the Pats hurt the Cardinals secondary, but I like the Cardinals with DeAndre Hopkins un-suspended a bit more than the Pats. I believe AZ wins 28-24.

Week 15: at the Raiders

I foresee the Davante Adams-led Raiders having a pivotal victory against a fellow playoff-aimed AFC team by a score of 31-17.

Week 16: vs the Bengals

The Pats could really struggle in this game from my perspective. I believe Joe Burrow and his elite WR duo has a monster 42-21 victory.

Week 17: vs the Dolphins

I trust in Mike McDaniel and his team to really grow in the 2022 season and keep their foot on the pedal at this point. I believe the Phins win 35-21 in this pivotal AFC East game.

Week 18: at the Bills

I expect the Bills to play their starters and compete for the first seed in their final week. I believe the Bills win 35-21.

Final record: 6-11

Mac Jones’s outlook in 2022: Expect growth from the Pats QB

Mac Jones will improve in his sophomore season

By: Jake Rajala

The cheerful Mac Jones had an admirable rookie season – as he unveiled 3,801 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, and led his team to a 10-7 record (including a pivotal playoff berth). The former Alabama product has a larger chip on his shoulder in his sophomore season. It would be hard for Jones to not carry an infinite amount of motivation, as his team was blown out of the wild-card round by his despised divisional foe in the Josh Allen-led Buffalo Bills.

The Pats made a very underrated re-signing in WR Jakobi Meyers. The deep-threat WR garnered 126 targets and 866 yards last season. It will be a serious challenge for defenses to prepare for the speed of Meyers while stopping the Jones-Devante Parker connection. The former Dolphin wanted to be traded to Belichick’s squad and he will really strive to return to unveil outcomes similar to his 2019 season (1,202 yards and 12 touchdowns).

DeVante Parker is arguably the Pats best “WR” since the days of Wes Welker in 2012.

The Pats didn’t only gift Parker in Jones’s second season in the system, but they also brought back the versatile RB James White (who suffered a season-ending injury after three games) on a two-year contract. The Super Bowl LI hero nicely notched 751 receiving yds in 2018, 645 receiving yds in 2019, and 375 receiving yards in 2020. He can absolutely be a secret weapon for Jones out of the backfield.

The 23-year-old Jones will not only tear down a poster of Josh Allen each morning and practice with his most explosive offense thus far, but he will also prepare to face favorable competition in 2022. Bill Belichick and Jones ought to be licking their chops, as they have the 25th most difficult schedule. Tom Brady and a half of Gronk may be in Tampa Bay, but the tides appear to be really turning for Jones and his crew in 2022.

Remaining free agent targets for the Patriots

Who is the top free agent target for the Patriots?

By: Jake Rajala

The New England Patriots are one of the most mysterious NFL teams entering the 2022 season. They have a cyborg in Bill Belichick, an ascending QB in Mac Jones, but they haven’t made numerous dynamite off-season additions. The Patriots could easily be a Super Bowl contender if Jones noticeably improves. Meanwhile, it’s also possible that the new-look Dolphins and Josh Allen-led Bills finish ahead of the Pats in the AFC East next season. I believe the sleep-deprived Belichick could still add more fire-power and help the Patriots become a dark-horse Super Bowl contender in the early stages of Jones’s career.

Anthony Barr

I believe Anthony Barr is the biggest free-agent diamond in the rough at this point in time. Barr is still a very good football player, as he recorded three interceptions, 72 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 6 QB hits last season. The Pats controversially traded away the young stud in Chase Winvoch to the Browns, but they could potentially find his superb replacement in Barr.

Odell Beckham Jr.

The Pats can definitely strike the jackpot with the signing of OBJ. He doesn’t only have a lot of talent for a team in the back-end of next season and beyond 2022, but he almost signed with the Pats in 2021. Belichick should really work his magic and help his team have more juice in the explosive AFC playoff gauntlet by bringing in the Super Bowl LVI champion.

Dont’a Hightower

The Pats could help their LB position by bringing an old friend back in Dont’a Hightower. The 2019 Pro Bowler might not be an elite LB, but he can be a 2022 starter and great leader. After the Pats brought back Devin McCourty, it would be patriotic for the Pats to ink Hightower.

Ranking AFC East Quarterbacks right now

Is Mac Jones or Tua Tagovailoa the better AFC East QB?

By: Andy Davies

“Something beautiful is on the horizon.”

The AFC East is set to be another exciting one in what has been an eventful offseason. 

Tyreek Hill is now in the division, Stefon Diggs has a new contract, the Patriots have been quiet in the offseason and the Jets aim to try and gain some positivity ahead of the 2022 campaign.

Just how do their quarterbacks rank? Here is a ranking list of all four starting quarterbacks in the division.

1. Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills)

Allen is arguably a top-three quarterback so there is no way he does not end up the number on this list. Buffalo is arguably the AFC favorites for the 2022 season, especially with Hill leaving the Chiefs. Buffalo may face their biggest challenge to winning the division once again, but Allen is head and shoulders above the rest. 

Allen threw for 4,544 yards, 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2020 and 4,407 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2021. 

Only Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Matthew Stafford have thrown for more yards than Josh Allen since the start of the 2020 season. In addition, Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Mahomes are the only quarterbacks to have thrown for more passing touchdowns than Allen during that span

A cannon arm, a great ability to use his feet at the right time, and tremendous leadership. There are not many players you’d rather have in this league than Allen.

2. Mac Jones (New England Patriots)

3. Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins)

This one was tough to call as both players are very similar in their playstyle and stats.

Jones had 3,801, 22 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a 67.6% completion rate in 2021 during his rookie campaign, which consisted of 17 games as New England finished 10-7. Meanwhile, Tua has played only six more games than Jones and has 4,467 career yards, 27 career touchdowns and 15 career interceptions as well as a 66.2% completion rate and a 13-8 record as a starter

That gives Jones an average of 223.6 yards and 1.29 touchdowns a game. Meanwhile, Tua has an average of 194.2 yards and 1.17 touchdowns a game. These are very similar numbers, which makes the decision between them that much harder.

People often refer to Tua’s win-loss record as a starter. Well, Jones made the playoffs as a rookie and Tua has yet to make the playoffs or play an entire season in either of his first two years in the league, which is why Jones gets the edge over Tagovailoa. 

There are no real questions around Mac, who is seen as the best quarterback so far out of the 2021 class whereas Tua faces question marks daily and continues to live in the shadow of fellow 2020 draftees Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert. Mike McDaniel could be the key to unlocking Tua’s potential but right now, Jones is the better QB, but it is very close and very susceptible to change now the Cheetah is in South Beach.

4. Zach Wilson (New York Jets)

There is no doubt about this one. Wilson was picked second overall in the 2021 NFL Draft and has yet to convince anyone. The Jets literally traded for Joe Flacco to return to the Big Apple.

His relationship with Braxton Berrios and the protection from Mekhi Becton will give Jets fans offseason hope but Wilson’s performances did not provide any source of encouragement in 2021. In the 13 games he played, he ranked 30th in passing yards (2,334), 29th in touchdowns (9) and 30th in quarterback rating (28.2). He also had 11 interceptions to add to a woeful first season as a pro.

Wilson showed signs in BYU that he can be a good quarterback, but the way his first season went, he has a lot to prove in his second season.

New England Patriots free agency rumors

Latest Patriots free agency rumors

The New England Patriots have officially brought Malcolm Butler out of retirement, according to Yahoo Sports. It appears that Emperor Belichick’s plan is coming together as he expected. Matt Patricia returned the last offseason and now his former Super Bowl hero corner has returned to the Belichick kingdom.

I don’t expect the Pats to reel in overly shiny armor for Mac Jones moving forward, but I do expect them to make a few more underrated moves. The Patriots CB Jonathan Jones is recruiting Stephon Gilmore, but I don’t foresee him returning on a cap-friendly contract. It would make a ton of sense if the Bengals, 49ers, or Raiders ink Gilmore.

If the Pats are fixed on adding another free agent CB and they aren’t able to reunite with Gilmore, it may be wise to ink Janoris Jenkins. Jackrabbit isn’t “washed up” and he was a quality contributor on the AFC one seed in Tennessee last season. He hauled in three interceptions in the past two seasons combined and he also has 18 combined pass deflections in the past two years.

There has been speculation that the Patriots should target a WR soon and it would make sense if that’s their next move. The former Bills star Cole Beasley would be a very interesting fit in the Patriots. He has 82 receptions in each of the past two seasons and he would be a nice security blanket for Mac Jones from the slot. Danny Amendola and Mohammaed Sanu have experience with the Pats and they could be good value pickups, as well.

It would be ideal if the Pats add veteran talent at CB and WR before the NFL Draft. Expect Belichick to keep his foot on the pedal in the AFC East division that just introduced to Tyreek Hill.

Free agent wide receiver targets for the New England Patriots

OBJ is the top wide receiver target for the Pats

The New England Patriots were led by the brave rookie Mac Jones in 2021. Jones didn’t go gentle into the good night, as he unleashed 3,801 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, and 13 interceptions last season. His performance helped him bake the Pro Bowl and Bill Belichick become more relaxed towards him. Well, at least one of the points mentioned above is true.

Jones was a pleasant QB last season, but he has a lot of work to do if he wants to become the next special QB in New England. The Pats will surely look at the wide receiver free agents in 2022 to lure in a shiny weapon for the young Mac Jones. Here are a few faces that would make a ton of sense.

Odell Beckham Jr.

The Patriots were very close to inking the former NYG WR Odell Beckham Jr. in 2021. I expect OBJ to be more interested in joining the Pats for two reasons. He witnessed the growth of Mac Jones throughout the 2021 season and I also imagine his chances of returning to the Rams took a major hit after his injury.

The cap-strapped Rams will likely bring back Von Miller and spend their resources on profiles outside of Beckham Jr. Belichick is also no stranger to signing big-name and slightly dramatic wideouts (Randy Moss, Antonio Brown, Josh Gordan).

T.Y. Hilton

The New England Patriots should revamp their WR position with a couple of new faces. It’s worth noting that the Pats could cut ties with Nelson Agholor outside of letting Meyers leave, as well. With that said, I’d love to see Bill Belichick ink the speed-demon T.Y. Hilton. Jones could really benefit from the skillset that Hilton offers.

The long-time Colt ousted 10 touchdowns from 2020 and 2021 combined. If the Pats lose Jakobi Meyers, it would especially be nice for them to target Hilton.

Keelan Cole

Belichick should seek a diamond in the rough when free agency kicks off and he could find an underdog in Keelan Cole. The undrafted free agent had 642 yards and five touchdowns in 2020 with Gardner Minshew.

He only recorded 449 yards and one touchdown with the Jets last season, but those numbers might seem surprising given his place on the depth chart and the ability of the Jets young, starting QB.

Let’s Relax About QB Mac Jones

Don’t sleep on QB Mac Jones

By: Jason Willis

On the Week 5 edition of ESPN’s NFL Primetime Booger McFarland said “Mac Jones is playing the position as well as you can ask a rookie too.” Ask many around the NFL and you will likely hear similar comments. If you discuss the matter with Patriots fans you will quickly forget if you’re talking about Mac Jones or Joe Montana in his prime. At one point he was even the betting favorite to win Rookie of the Year. However, let’s take a step back.

When Mac Jones was selected out of Alabama in the first round of last year’s NFL Draft, he was the fifth quarterback selected. Going to the New England Patriots with the fifteenth overall pick, this looked to be a great landing spot for a passer with much to prove. Simply, he was almost never tested at Alabama. His team was the most talented in the country by a long shot and as such things came easy for them. 6/11 offensive starters are playing in the NFL right now and more will follow come next year’s draft. So while he threw 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, and just four interceptions, he very rarely faced adversity.

Of course, this is not the end all be all. Mac Jones has always has uncanny accuracy and ball placement. Even if the guys he was throwing to at Alabama were wide open most times, Jones always threw an easily catchable ball in the perfect spot. My worries with Jones stemmed from his ability to adjust to NFL speed. Could he make NFL throws into tight coverage? How would he respond to pressure? Would he have the confidence to continue throwing down the field? With these worries, I gave Mac Jones a third-round grade. My hope was that he could sit on the bench initially as he adjusted to the game at the NFL level. This looked like it may happen as the Patriots once had Cam Newton on the roster. However, following a strong pre-season from Mac Jones, Newton was released.

With the starting job now Jones’ to lose, the Patriots and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels wasted no time. Early on it was obvious that they would not be limiting the playbook for the youngster. Instead, the playcalling would be very similar to what was ran when Tom Brady was there. Lots of mesh, slant/flat and drive concepts with shots off of play-action. Throwing all of this at him so early in his career is certainly a bold move.

The biggest weaknesses for Mac Jones at this point is his timid play style. He simply does not take the chances needed from a starting NFL quarterback. The causes for this are likely numerous. First off, he is slow to process like most rookie quarterbacks. Despite playing SEC football, the NFL is a much faster, more complicated game and it takes all rookies time to adjust. This slow processor limits his ability to attack defenses however because even when receivers pop open, Jones is too late to see it. The other reason for this is his limited arm talent. He simply does not have high-level arm talent to stretch the field or throw the ball to the opposite sideline. This of course is most worrisome in his development. He can get acclimated to the NFL game sure, but can he ever overcome his physical limitations?

This timidness handicaps the entire offense as defenses are now going to force Jones to beat them over the top and to the sideline. Opposing teams will let him have the three-yard dump-offs if they know he won’t try and take them deep. Against the Houston Texans last week, Mac Jones attempted just two passes over twenty yards. With the exception of the Saints game in week three, he has just eight of these passes. The Saints game stands out as a total anomaly but also offers some hope. In that game alone he threw the ball 20+ yards twelve times but had just one completion. Currently, he is 28th in the NFL in yards per attempt.

Not many took Mac Jones seriously as an NFL prospect. As such the bar was set low so even meeting expectations has created some excitement. Alas, we must still be honest. Sam Monson at PFF put it very well. While a three-year-old tying his own shoes is impressive, at some point it is going to become expected. That is where we are now with Mac Jones. He currently has 1,243 yards, five touchdowns, and five interceptions. Even though he hasn’t had the ugly games similar to Zach Wilson’s four-interception game or the ugly passes like Trevor Lawrence’s flea-flicker, it’s because he’s not even trying to create big plays. Big plays are not the only thing lacking, however, as Jones does not routinely test tight windows. Much of this can likely be attributed to the fact that he never had to do so in college. If Jones would show the willingness to attempt these throws more often like Wilson and Lawrence, it would go a long way towards feeling comfortable about his NFL future.

Thus far, Mac Jones is playing timid, albeit, safe football. Simply, he looks like a rookie quarterback and that is okay. However, as sports media and fans, the anointment of him as seemingly the best rookie quarterback should stop. Is the book closed on Mac Jones’s career after five games? Of course not, but at this point, he has been a below-average/bad quarterback on a below-average/bad team.

NFL Week 1: Previewing rookie quarterbacks

Which new faces will shine the brightest?

By Calvin K (Twitter: @Calvin_SGF)

After a long and tumultuous offseason, Week 1 of the NFL season has finally arrived. There will certainly be plenty of storylines to unpack from the 15 remaining games on Sunday and Monday, not least of which will be the performances of this year’s rookie QBs. Five quarterbacks were selected in the first round of this year’s NFL draft, and three of them will start right away for their teams, bearing the burden of fan optimism from day one. In this article, I’ll be previewing those three games, analyzing the quarterbacks, and giving my final score predictions for each.

1. Jaguars vs. Texans (Trevor Lawrence)

Lawrence was the clear choice at number one overall for Jacksonville, and he’ll get to start his career with perhaps his best possible opening matchup, the dismal Houston Texans. There are no bright spots on this Texans defense, so Lawrence should definitely be able to make some noise in Week 1. Houston’s trade of starting cornerback Bradley Roby to the Saints further exacerbates their secondary problems, and it’s clear by now that the Texans’ year has been lost before it’s even begun.

Lawrence will have three solid WRs at his disposal, with Marvin Jones, D.J. Chark, and Laviska Shenault leading a group that could put up decent numbers this year. Running back James Robinson was the lone bright spot for Jacksonville last year, and if he can continue his level of play from last year, the Jags’ running game could be a problem for opposing defenses. Houston isn’t likely to get much done on offense, either, with a journeyman starting QB in Tyrod Taylor and a hodgepodge of mediocre RBs and WRs (outside of their one solid weapon, 27-year-old Brandin Cooks). The divisional rivalry could potentially add some atmosphere to this game, but viewers of this matchup are likely in for a slog, with the Jags taking victory with relative ease.

Prediction: Jaguars, 21-10

2. Jets vs. Panthers (Zach Wilson)

Wilson, this year’s number two overall pick, will also have an opportunity to succeed in Week 1, as this Panthers secondary became one of their biggest issues last year. The addition of cornerback Jaycee Horn with the eighth pick in the draft will certainly help matters, but it’s unlikely that Horn makes a big impact in his first career game. That will leave Wilson with a chance to pick apart Carolina’s defense, and with a reliable Corey Davis and explosive Elijah Moore at his disposal, he could rack up some good stats and potentially even win this matchup.

Wilson was one of my favorite prospects in this entire draft class, and my quarterback rankings actually predict him to have the best career out of all 2021 rookie QBs. His ability to launch bombs from anywhere on the field is undoubtedly the best in his draft class, and he has an underrated ability to consistently make good decisions from both inside and outside the pocket. This Jets defense will be hurt by the loss of young edge rusher Carl Lawson, but this is still a well-coached unit led by a defensive-minded HC in Robert Saleh. Carolina will certainly be a threat with Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, and Robby Anderson leading this offense, but I’ll predict that Sam Darnold continues his struggles and is unable to lead the Panthers to a victory.

Prediction: Jets, 27-21

3. Patriots vs. Dolphins (Mac Jones)

Jones was selected at number 15 overall by the Patriots, and with the release of Cam Newton, it’s now clear that he has earned the right to be New England’s starter from the beginning. He’ll have easily the toughest matchup out of all three of these QBs, facing a Dolphins team that has a tough, emerging young defense.

Cornerback Xavien Howard’s contract situation has been resolved, and he is back with the team and ready to play in 2021. This is crucial for the Dolphins, as they now get back a top-five NFL corner with the ability to lock down practically any elite receiver. Miami’s defensive line is led by edge rusher Emmanuel Ogbah (nine sacks in 2020), and Raekwon Davis and Christian Wilkins should also be serviceable starters. Jerome Baker has also been able to get sacks from his inside linebacker spot (seven last year), and this secondary also has additional solid pieces, such as Byron Jones, Jason McCourty, and an interesting second-year talent in Noah Igbinoghene. This defense will make it hard for Jones to put up monster passing numbers, but Jones’ ability to consistently make good reads could mean he still has a good game. He’ll likely be relying on tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry as establishing underneath presences, and WRs Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers should be involved as well. This game will certainly be an exciting one to watch, but I’ll take Miami over New England in this one, although it should be close.

Prediction: Dolphins, 23-20

Why the Pats could return to being AFC East champions

Belichick will lead Pats to an AFC East title

By: Pat Pitts

The Patriots received a culture shock finishing their season in Week 17, then watched as their former face of the franchise won another Super Bowl. Their 7-9 record ranks as the second worst season Belichick has had in New England. In 2000, the Patriots finished the season 5-11. The next season turned out a bit different. 

History repeats itself. 

If I was asked to summarize the Patriots’ 2020 season, I would not be nice. It was like reading about a tragic car crash in the newspaper. The more you read into it, the worse the incident becomes. 

A new year means a fresh start. Thank you football gods.

The Bills winning the AFC East snapped an 11-year consecutive streak of the Patriots sitting atop of the division. A historic streak that may be in jeopardy by how the Bills looked last season. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs mirrored Brady & Moss in 2007 at times. The Dolphins caught the eyes of fans after barely missing the playoffs behind a rookie QB. It is going to be a competitive division this year, but not for Jets fans. 

Sorry. 

The Patriots will reclaim their throne at the top of the AFC East this season. The Bills and Dolphins have talented, young rosters ready to compete for a Lombardi, but they are missing one thing. A head coach who has won more Super Bowls than both of the franchises combined.

Belichick needs to prove to the football world he can win without Tom Brady. He trails his former QB in that department. This is the year he will even the score and it starts with the division. 

These three reasons are a few of many reasons why they will win their 18th division title in 21 years. 

A rebuilt offense

The 2020 Patriots lacked a lot of things but mainly star power. Cam Newton can play scapegoat, but look who his receivers were. Jakobi Meyers and Damiere Byrd led the team in targets. Belichick knew he had to make an upgrade. 

The signings of Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor are leaps and bounds better than the mediocrity Newton threw to last season. In addition, however, Newton gained two of the league’s top five tight ends in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. As a result, the offense becomes an instant improvement without a down of football played. 

In 2011, the Patriots relied heavily on their two TE system in Gronk and Hernandez. The duo ranked two and three in every major receiving category, targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns. With Newton’s regressing arm, these two will be more significant in the offense than fans realize. 

Defense wins a championship, again. 

Belichick’s championship teams consisted of TB12 and stalwart defense. Guys like Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest, and Ty Law were the core of the first dynasty, while Dont’a Hightower, Stephon Gilmore, and the McCourty Bros. carried the torch into the second one. 

Who’s next in line of the throne? 

The Patriots signed a few players to help with their 25th ranked defense against the run. Matt Judon (EDGE), Devon Godchaux (DL), and former Patriot Kyle Van Noy (LB) help the cause with their run-stopping ability and getting to the quarterback. 

They even upgraded their passing defense, signing Jalen Mills and placing a second-round tender on J.C Jackson, who had a breakout season finishing top three in interceptions. Training camp will bring many eyeson who will pick up the torch into the third dynasty era. 

History always repeats itself.

I look at sports a bit differently than most people. Nevertheless, there are patterns within all sports, specifically in certain franchises. The Patriots have a few of these patterns, but one stands out in particular. 

Since 2000, the Patriots have not won the AFC East three times However, the 2000,2002,2008). The season following their failure to capture, they won the division. Two of those three times, they played and won that year’s Super Bowl. 

Yes, it is a bit out there, but history repeats itself. Constantly. 

The New England Patriots are destined to climb back up the mountain, even without Tom Brady. Bill Belichick knows the game better than he knows his own family. He understands how to win and win often. So whether division winners this season. I guarantee it.  

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑