With Tom Brady out of the door and now in Tampa Bay, the Patriots are in a transitional phase. The defense is still one of the best in the league, but the offense still has some holes, even at quarterback potentially. The defense though lost a ton of talent as Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton, Kyle Van Noy, and Elandon Roberts have gone elsewhere. Jarrett Stidham and newly-signed Cam Newton will battle for the starting role to replace Brady. There have been some major changes in New England and it could impact the entire league.
NOTE – With signings happening, there have been some updates to some positional rankings, changing the overall rankings.
Make sure to check out all of our in-depth power rankings here.
- Overall – 82.677 (10th)
- Offense – 82.21 (14th)
- Defense – 84.51 (4th)
- Coach and Culture – 87.75, (4th)
- Home Field Advantage – 84, 11th (4% Defense, 2% Overall)
Quarterbacks – 77, T-21st (36% Offense, 27% Overall)
Stidham seemingly was the only option the Patriots had up until Sunday. New England hadn’t added a top free agent or use a draft pick on a quarterback and the only other option was Brian Hoyer, who isn’t a viable starter in the league. Stidham completed two of his four attempts for 14 yards and an interception last year in limited playing time. He seems to be the future of the team, even with the Patriots bringing in Newton.
Newton was signed on Sunday to a veteran minimum contract plastered with incentives. He has unfortunately been derailed by injuries the last two years as he missed the last two games in 2018 and missed the final 14 last year. Many have said he makes the Patriots Super Bowl contenders when he might not even make the team, let alone start considering how much faith the team has put into Stidham. Newton looked nowhere near the player he once was during Carolina’s Super Bowl run last year and very well might be past his prime. Hoyer is familiar with the system and threw four touchdowns last year when he started in place of the injured Jacoby Brissett in Indianapolis.
Running Backs – 78.5, 22nd (4% Offense, 3% Overall)
Sony Michel is a bit of an unknown at this point. He has had injury concerns since coming into the league and could miss the start of this season due to foot surgery. Michel’s production plummeted from his rookie year where he averaged almost a full yard per carry more than his sophomore campaign. Last year the offensive line was plagued by injuries and should be able to pave the way for Michel better this year as the starters return instead of playing backups for the majority of the year.
Rex Burkhead had 65 rush attempts as well as 27 receptions and totaled 581 yards and three touchdowns on the year. New England has been known to use a multitude of running backs and scheme them accordingly to the team they are playing against. One week, Burkhead could have two touchdowns while the next he could be active but not record a single carry or reception.
James White has standalone value even with Michel in the offense as White is great in the passing game. He had 72 catches for 645 yards and five touchdowns last year and could take a major hit with Brady’s departure. White added 263 yards and a touchdown on the ground. While his production will take a hit, he will still likely be a focal point of the offense. Brandon Bolden and Damien Harris round out the depth chart. Bolden played good in limited action last year while Harris was a third-round choice last year and needs more time to develop.
Pass Catchers – 77.5, T-26th (17% Offense, 8% Overall)
Julian Edelman will once again be the first option out of the slot coming off of a 100-catch season where he had over 1,100 yards and six touchdowns. With the rest of the offense potentially switching to a run-oriented scheme due to the unknown at quarterback, his production will likely drop but his importance in the offense will still stay. Mohamed Sanu was acquired midseason last year to provide a spark but didn’t really do so catching 26 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown.
Last year’s first-round pick, N’Keal Harry was injured for the majority of the year and he showed flashes where he had 12 catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns. New England is hoping Harry and Jakobi Meyers are players who the Patriots can use in their future as their two dynamic receivers. Meyers had 26 catches for 359 yards last year.
The Patriots added two veterans with Marqise Lee and Damiere Byrd. Lee was plagued by injuries last year and took a backseat as DJ Chark became the number one option in Jacksonville’s offense. Bryd was a part of a deep receiving core in Arizona and had the best year of his career last year. He will likely be the deep threat in New England’s offense. Matt LaCosse will likely begin the season as the starter at tight end following a 13 catch season last year. Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi were both selected in the third round of the draft and will be fighting for a spot in the starting offense further this season.
Offensive Line – 89, 3rd (24% Offense, 12% Overall)
New England’s offensive line was plagued by injuries, forcing the offense to stumble as the season went on. With all five starters healthy now, the offense should be firing on all cylinders. Isaiah Wynn needs to prove he can stay healthy this year after not being able to stay healthy last year, forcing Marshall Newhouse into the starting role. Joe Thuney was given the franchise tag during the offseason and could potentially be traded before the season for a high pick if the team chooses. David Andrews and Shaq Mason return on the interior, while Marcus Cannon still mans the right tackle spot.
Jermaine Eluemunor and Korey Cunningham were acquired during the preseason last year and will return as reliable depth while Hjalte Froholdt and Yodny Cajuste look to develop after being selections in last year’s draft.
Run Defense – 80.5, 18th (6% Defense, 2% Overall)
New England finished eighth in rushing defense last year but lost Shelton and Collins in free agency. Beau Allen, Lawrence Guy, and John Simon all return on the front three while the linebacking core is a mix of moving pieces due to the losses of Collins, Van Noy, and Roberts. Deatrich Wise is depth on the interior while Adam Butler is a pass-rush specialist.
Pass Rush – 81.5, T-16th (21% Defense, 10% Overall)
New England lost almost 20 of their 47 sacks during the offseason with players moving teams in the offseason. Butler had six sacks on the interior last year, while Chase Winovich and Simon had 9.5 sacks combined playing in limited roles. Dont’a Hightower had 5.5 sacks last year and is back again as the mainstay at the linebacking core. Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings were both selections on day two of the draft with super high upside to team up with Winovich as a young pass-rushing trio.
Linebackers – 81.5, T-14th (15% Defense, 4% Overall)
With Van Noy and Roberts leaving, Hightower is the only for sure thing at the linebacking core. Ja’Whaun Bentley was decent last year in his limited playing time and other then that, the Patriots have Brandon Copeland and Shilique Calhoun. Uche and Jennings should battle with Copeland and Calhoun for those starting roles.
Secondary – 87, 2nd (26% Defense, 17% Overall)
The Patriots had 25 interceptions last year, the most in the league. They left their three top cornerbacks one-on-one a ton last year with Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, and Jonathan Jones. J.C. Jackson was excellent last year as well with ten pass elections and five interceptions. Joejuan Williams has played sparingly so far and doesn’t really need to with the top four ahead of him. Justin Bethel and Lenzy Pipkins are the two depth pieces at the cornerback spot.
Devin McCourty had five interceptions last year as well and will be back again this year alongside his brother. Patrick Chung has gotten a lot of flack from some Patriots fans and those fans were upset with his new contract extension. The Patriots have a ton of depth at the safety spot as well with Terrence Brooks returning and added Adrian Phillips who played in a ton of three safety sets for the Chargers. Kyle Dugger was the first selection the Patriots made and could play like more of a linebacker than safety in this system.
Coach and Culture – 87.75, 4th (19% Offense, 28% Defense, 15% Overall)
With Brady’s departure, the offense takes a major hit. The offensive line is still excellent but the receiving core desperately needed upgrades and the quarterback position is still a bit of a mystery. Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels return, making the blow of Brady much less than it would be on another team. New England comes in sixth for offensive coach and culture.
The secondary is one of the best in the league and has a ton of depth. Hightower returns and is the main man in the linebacking core but will need some help from Uche and Jennings for the defense to be the same it was last year. Winovich will likely continue to produce sack production and will be in line for more playing time this year. The Patriots rank second in defensive coach and culture.
The Patriots are in a difficult spot. They have a championship-caliber defense while their offense isn’t great and there are issues regarding the quarterback position. The coaching staff is excellent at knowing the weaknesses of opposing teams and exposing them on a weekly basis. As long as Belichick is the coach, New England will be in contention for the playoffs.
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