The Tom Brady era in New England is over, as Bill Belichick will have a new starting quarterback for the first time since going 5-11 with Drew Bledsoe in 2000. Since then, all the Patriots have done is win six Super Bowls and made the playoffs in 17 of the last 19 years. With such a tremendous track record, it is no surprise that New England’s over/under is nine wins, but that is on the high side due to the Patriots’ lack of talent this season. They had a tremendous defense in 2019, but both Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung have opted out of the 2020 season.
Captain Cam Newton enters the fold for the Patriots, and he is one of eight captains this year. The other ones are as follows: RB James White, WR Matthew Slater, C David Andrews, DE Lawrence Guy, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, CB Jason McCourty, and FS Devin McCourty. In addition to Newton, the Patriots have many fresh faces, including a large influx of offensive line and tight end help. Belichick also grabbed multiple Power Five conference linebackers in the draft in Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings. As far as free agency, the Patriots brought in WR Damiere Byrd and RB Lamar Miller. New England hopes that this duo can pay dividends for an offense that lost WR Phillip Dorsett, who signed with the Seattle Seahawks, and WR Marqise Lee, who opted out of the season.
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2020 Patriots Draft Picks
Kyle Dugger, S (Lenoir–Rhyne)
Josh Uche, LB (Michigan)
Anfernee Jennings, LB (Alabama)
Devin Asiasi, TE (UCLA)
Dalton Keene, TE (Virginia Tech)
Justin Rohrwasser, K (Marshall)
Mike Onwenu, OG (Michigan)
Justin Herron, OG (Wake Forest)
Cassh Maluia, LB (Wyoming)
Dustin Woodard, C (Memphis)
Notable Other New Faces for the Patriots
Cam Newton, QB
Brian Hoyer, QB
Lamar Miller, RB
Damiere Byrd, WR
Beau Allen, OT
Xavier Williams, DT
Brandon Copeland, LB
De’Jon Harris, LB
Justin Bethel, CB
Adrian Phillips, S
Notable Patriots in New Places
Tom Brady, QB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Phillip Dorsett, WR – Seattle Seahawks
Mohamed Sanu, WR – released
Danny Shelton, DT – Detroit Lions
Jamie Collins, OLB – Detroit Lions
Elandon Roberts, LB – Miami Dolphins
Nate Ebner, S – New York Giants
Duron Harmon, S – Detroit Lions
Stephen Gostkowski, K – Tennessee Titans
Notable Patriots on the Injury Report
Jarrett Stidham, QB –questionable for Week 1 with a hip injury
Damien Harris, RB – questionable for Week 1 with a hand injury
Sony Michel, RB – should be ready for Week 1 after activation from PUP list (foot)
Lamar Miller, RB –questionable for Week 1 after undergoing ACL surgery
Devin Asiasi, TE – questionable for Week 1 with an ankle injury
Patriots Who Have Opted Out of 2020 NFL Season
Brandon Bolden, RB
Danny Vitale, FB
Marqise Lee, WR
Matt LaCosse, TE
Marcus Cannon, OT
Najee Toran, OL
Dont’a Hightower, LB
Patrick Chung, S
Patriots Offense Predictions
Everyone knows what has changed with the quarterback position in New England. Gillette Stadium will be the host to a very different man under center in 2020: Cam Newton will be leading Belichick’s Patriots in 2020. The 2011 and 2015 AP Offensive Player of the Year has recently been plagued by injuries and played just two games in 2019. Newton also is 0-8 in his last eight starts, but he did have a successful nine years in Carolina after being the Panthers’ No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 draft.
Patriots Running Backs: Can You Trust Damien Harris as the Starting Running Back?
The Patriots running backs are always a fickle venture for fans, analysts, and opposing teams. To illustrate this point, the ballad of one-hit-wonder Jonas Gray is a fun one to remember: in 2014, he received 37 carries and ran for 201 yards and four touchdowns. Then, due to a “team infraction,” Gray was benched. Gray had carries in just 12 more NFL games in his career and scored only one more touchdown. To make a long story short, do not trust running back news out of New England.
Nevertheless, here are some quick hits about the 2020 Patriots backfield. Second-year running back Damien Harris, who is dealing with a hand injury, was receiving the first-team reps before the injury. Maybe Sony Michel will take over as the starter again, but he and Lamar Miller are recovering from their respective injuries. Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears has compared J.J. Taylor to Dion Lewis, so Taylor could end up getting many targets for the Patriots this season. However, James White is still in the picture, so it seems that Taylor will only be featured if White goes down with an injury.
Patriots Wide Receivers: Who Should Be the Patriots No. 2 Wideout?
The Patriots have plenty of receivers on the roster, but will any of them produce anywhere close to as much as Julian Edelman? Most likely, the likes of N’Keal Harry, Gunner Olszewski, Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, and Matthew Slater will be the receiving leaders this season. Of course, Belichick loves to make moves during the season, and he even took a chance on Antonio Brown last season. Unfortunately for the Patriots, Brown only was able to play one game last season. Heading into 2020, the Patriots hope that second-year receivers Harry and Meyers make a jump this season. However, it may be up to former return specialist Olszewski to step up.
Patriots Tight Ends: Gronkowski Is With “Tompa Bay,” So What Should the Patriots Do?
The Patriots will be looking very different with rookies Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene as the two tight ends at the top of the depth chart. Ryan Izzo returns to the Patriots for his third season, and undrafted rookie Jake Burt rounds out of the roster’s notable tight ends. In 2019, Asiasi caught 44 passes for 641 yards and four touchdowns for UCLA. Keene scored five touchdowns at Virginia Tech last year but brought in just receptions for 240 yards. New England may not be utilizing tight ends much in 2020.
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Patriots Defense Predictions
Most football fans must remember how the vaunted Patriots defense dominated the first half of the 2019 NFL season. New England jumped out to an 8-0 start to the year, but then fell to Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens in Week 9. After a bye week, the Patriots got back to their winning ways and held the Philadelphia Eagles to 10 points in Week 11 and the Dallas Cowboys to just nine points in Week 12.
Can the 2020 Patriots Duplicate Their Tremendous Defensive Performance Last Year?
The Patriots’ downfall in 2019 was due to their offense, but the Patriots cannot depend as much on their defense in 2020 without Hightower and Chung. However, Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Adrian Philips, and the twins Devin and Jason McCourty make up a decent defense headed into the season.
The Patriots also have rookie safety Kyle Dugger, who won the Cliff Harris Award for the top small-school defensive player. They signed LB De’Jon “Scoota” Harris, who went undrafted.
The Patriots signed Harris to a three-year contract with a $15,000 signing bonus. There are many reasons that the Patriots will be a top-10 defense, but being a top-five defense might be a stretch.
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Patriots Special Teams Predictions
Will Nick Folk or Justin Rohrwasser be the Week 1 kicker for the Patriots? Belichick may wait until the last minute to release this answer. After drafting Rohrwasser, the Patriots decided to sign Folk in late August. Last year, Folk replaced the ineffective Stephen Gostkowski, who is now a free agent after playing with the Patriots from 2006 to 2019. Folk has a long track record in the NFL that dates back to his rookie Pro Bowl season in 2007. He made 14 of his 17 field-goal attempts and made all 12 of his extra-point attempts last season.
In 2019, Rohrwasser made 18 of 21 field-goal attempts and 35 of 36 extra-point attempts for Conference USA’s Marshall Thundering Herd. He scored the same number of points (89) as he did for Marshall in 2018, but with a better field goal percentage in 2019 (86 percent). With Rohrwasser leading his conference in field goal percentage last year, Belichick thought that the young kicker could bring his success to the NFL stage. Unfortunately for Rohrwasser, Folk may take on the starting role again in 2020.
Patriots Head Coach Predictions
Much can be said about Belichick’s brilliance, as he has led the most successful football franchise in the last two decades. No one knows how many more years he will coach, but both of his sons are part of his coaching staff, and he may be handing over the reins to them in the future. The upcoming season will mark the first year that Stephen and Brian Belichick will be position coaches for the Patriots. Stephen, now 33 years old, played college football under Greg Schiano at Rutgers and has been with the Patriots since 2012. He enters the 2020 season as the outside linebackers coach. The younger brother Brian, who joined the organization in 2016, will be the safeties coach, which was the position held by Stephen last year.
The Belichick family saw the Patriots score the seventh-most points last season, as Bill found the best ways to highlight Brady’s short-yardage passes. His running backs have continued to play a large role in the offense, and they most likely will do so again. With Sanu released and a lack of talent at the wide receiver and tight end positions, Newton will most likely form a close bond with White, similar to Brady’s one. With a running quarterback in Newton, we will see how Belichick finds new ways to make his offense unique.
Patriots Predictions for Week 1
In Week 1, the Patriots will be looking to avenge their Week 17 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins’ 0-7 start to the 2019 season included a 43-0 loss to New England. Then, the Dolphins bounced back to win the final two games of their season. Miami defeated the Patriots, 27-24, behind 320 passing yards and two touchdowns from Ryan Fitzpatrick. New England was one of the best turnover teams in the league in 2019 but lost the turnover battle, 2-0, against the Dolphins in the Week 17 contest.
The September 13, 2020 matchup between the Patriots and Dolphins began with a 5.5-point line in favor of New England. Bettors have moved the line to six points and 6.5 in some books, so bettors can still get value, as the Pats do have a decent chance of winning this game by seven or more points. The over/under of 43 and 43.5 is among the lowest of Week 1, as bookmakers do not think Newton’s Patriots and Fitzpatrick’s Dolphins will be scoring much. Fitzpatrick is expected to start as Tua Tagovailoa appears to begin the season as the backup.
Patriots Predictions for 2020 Season
The nine-win over/under for the 2020 season makes it very difficult for bettors to take the over. Surprisingly, the over/under has not decreased during the summer months, so the under may be the way to go with the Patriots this year. Also, New England’s +1800 Super Bowl futures bet is much too high.
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