With every season the New England Patriots are getting further removed from their “glory days.” They made the playoffs with quarterback Mac Jones as a rookie last season and are hoping for improvement after getting annihilated by Buffalo.
You have to think that Jones will get better but his ceiling appears to be limited. New England is in transition offensively, with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels leaving to take over the Las Vegas Raiders. The way New England is replacing him is strange, too.
Bill Belichick deserves all the latitude in the world, but he may be trying a little too hard to prove his greatness right now with the way he is filling his staff in nontraditional ways. It might work because of his overall grip on the team, but I am not excited about it. (Basically, he is not going to have a traditional offensive or defensive coordinator this season.)
I am also not very excited about the way they have added to the roster this offseason. This team needs more playmakers all around the field yet they seem to be playing it safe. They upgraded the receiver position but that was a low bar, and on defense beyond linebacker Matt Judon there is not a lot that scares you.
I think I know New England will beat the bad teams but how they measure up against average to good ones is hard to see. Is the coach going to be able to continue to get them over the top? I am not confident.
New England Patriots Win Total
Over 8.5 (-115)
Under 8.5 (-105)
Best Bet: Under 8.5
The Patriots are well behind the Bills in the AFC East but they still might be the second-best team in the division. It all depends on what you think of Miami.
Whether that is the case or not, they have a very tough start to the season. They begin at the rival Dolphins and three of their first four games are on the road. With trips to Pittsburgh and Green Bay, the Patriots may not be favored in any of them and their only home game in the stretch is against the Ravens, who are tough wherever you play them.
The difference between a humbling year and a truly terrible season will hinge on their next two games, home against the Detroit Lions and then at Cleveland (without Deshaun Watson). Those are absolute musts and even though the team is in a state of flux I like the Patriots to win.
Next, New England has three winnable games with home games against Chicago and Indianapolis sandwiched around a trip to the New York Jets. If they get all of those they just might recover from a tough start.
New England has a Week 10 bye but after that, the competition really stiffens. In the second half of the season they have to play both of their games against the Bills. Only their second game against the Jets, which is just after the bye, would be considered a likely win.
The rest of their games are against teams that should be in the playoffs this season or were last year. The Pats were in that group a season ago but were outclassed. To me, they have made only minor improvements to the roster and I have concerns about the way the team is organized. Right now I am not just seeing how it comes together this season.
Belichick has to have a clunker every once in a while, doesn’t he? Their margin for error is as slim as it has been in 20 years so the under is the play.