Chris Gallagher | May 16th, 2020
Jarrett Stidham or “stid,” as referred to by those inside Gillette Stadium, get used to hearing that name this upcoming NFL season. For the first time in 20 years, the New England Patriots will no longer have Tom Brady under contract.
Last season, the Patriots looked to be in vintage form for the first eight weeks. They were historically dominant on defense, averaging 14 points along with 31 points per game on offense. The second half of the season was a complete turn of events for the Patriots as their defense was in disarray most of the time. The Patriots were forced to play on wildcard weekend where they ultimately lost to the Tennessee Titans. In the 2020 NFL season, the Patriots will be one of the most fascinating teams to watch in the league.
Jarrett Stidham is benched before week four
Four passes attempted in the NFL, that’s all for the former Auburn Tigers quarterback. All four came last season late in games that had already been decided, with one of them being a pick-six by Jets safety Jamal Adams. Lack of experience in the NFL will not bode well for Stidham. The Patriots host Miami week one. They then travel to Seattle in week two. To conclude the first quarter of the season, they face the Raiders and Chiefs. A tough schedule right out of the gate will lead Stidham to be benched in favor of veteran Brian Hoyer, adding even more question marks as to who the heir apparent to Brady will be.
The Patriots defense finishes bottom five in the NFL
Bill Belichick prides himself on one thing as a head coach, having one of the top defenses in the NFL. Over the past ten years, the Patriots defense has never finished lower than 15th in points per game. In the past five years never being below the top ten. However, the offseason was not kind as many top players left town for other teams. Linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts signed in Miami to join former coach Brian Flores and Jamie Collins and Danny Shelton headed to Detroit to join Matt Patricia’s Lions along with cornerback Duron Harmon.
These significant losses do not set up well for a Patriots defense that is already thin along the defensive line and in the backend of their defense. Along with having the hardest schedule in pro football that sees them play the Chiefs, Ravens, 49ers, Seahawks, and Texans. This will cause the Patriots to finish a bottom-five defense in the NFL putting more pressure on Stidham and the offense to score points.
The Patriots win the AFC East
The AFC East is one of the most wide-open divisions in football for the first time in a long time. The Buffalo Bills are the current betting favorite according to the sportsbook Bovada followed by the Patriots, Jets, and Dolphins. However, with 17 of the last 19 division titles belonging to New England, a changing of the guard looks possible heading into the 2020 season following the departure of Brady.
However, with many questions surrounding third-year quarterbacks Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills and Sam Darnold of the New York Jets, the Patriots will win the AFC East for the 18th time in the past twenty years. Led by a strong defense and rushing attack, the team will prove they do not need Brady to be division champs.
The Patriots will lead the NFL in rushing attempts
The Patriots offense has always been about throwing the ball over during the past twenty years with Brady at quarterback. The 2020 season will see offensive coordinator Josh Mcdaniels and Belichik implement a new system. It will focus on running the ball and playing stellar defense to win games. Featuring a rushing attack led by James White and Sony Michel, behind one of the best offensive lines in football, the Patriots will lead the NFL in rushing attempts as they aim to play to the strength of their defense, control the time of possession, and keep opposing offenses off the field in a new look next season.
Cam Newton joins the team midseason and leads the Patriots to the AFC Championship Game
The greatest surprise of the NFL offseason to date is that former MVP quarterback Cam Newton remains unsigned. With many starting quarterback jobs filled and teams comfortable with who they have along with injury concerns surrounding Newton, he finds himself on the outside looking in. This will change halfway through next season as Belichik will take the gamble of his career and sign Newton midseason to add life to the offense. A fully healthy Newton will have immediate success with the Patriots, leading them to the AFC Championship game where they will fall short in Kansas City against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
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