2021 Record: 10-7
2022 Win Total: 8.5 Wins
Over 8.5 -125
Under 8.5 -105
Yards Per play: 14th 5.7
Yards per pass attempt: 8th 7.6
Offensive QB Sack percentage: 8th 5.13%
Yards per run: 26th 4.6
3rd down conversion rate: 7th 43.95%
Turnover Margin: 11th +0.3
Yards Per Play allowed: 10th 5.3
Yards per pass attempt allowed: 5th 6.2
Yards allowed per rush: 26th 4.6
Defensive QB sack rate: 18th 6.01%
Notable losses: Brandon Bolden RB, JC Jackson CB, Josh McDaniels OC
Notable additions: DeVante Parker WR, Matt Patricia OC
1st Round Draft Pick(s): Cole Strange OG Chattanooga
Strength of schedule: 25th (1 Easiest, 32 Hardest)
The Patriots had a surprise season given they started rookie quarterback mac Jones for every game. The dynasty that won’t die continued with a ten win season that got them into the playoffs. Unfortunately once they got there, they were quickly dismantled by the Bills in a 47-17 blowout loss. Looking at their 2021 schedule doesn’t provide assurances that this was a quality playoff team. Of the ten games they won, they faced the following list of quarterbacks:
Zach Wilson (rookie)
Davis Mills (rookie)
Mike White (1st NFL game ever played)
Josh Allen (Windy game they won 14-10)
Trevor Lawrence (rookie)
That is hardly an impressive list and you can argue that Herbert was really the only elite quarterback they beat all season.
The Patriots finally get to see their offense without Josh McDaniels who has been their offensive coordinator since 2012. Starting with the running game the Patriots should have plenty of talent in order to run the ball successfully. Damien Harris has carried several defenders on his way to the endzone and should only improve this season. Rhamondre Stevenson and James White also bring different skill sets to the table and will provide good depth options. At receiver the Patriots return most of their key pieces and add ex Miami wideout DeVante Parker. Parker has shown flashes of brilliance as he had over 1,200 receiving yards in 2019 for the Dolphins. Up front the Patriots have plenty of experienced offensive lineman. Trent Brown, David Andrews, Mike Onwenu, and Isaiah Wynn all begin their 3rd or more season in the league. That should be plenty of veteran leadership to elevate the play of first round draft pick and left guard Cole Strange. Perhaps the biggest question mark is who is the offensive coordinator. New England elected to hire Matt Patricia as their offensive line coach. Patricia was fired in Detroit after going 13-29-1 in 2.5 seasons as the head coach. The Patriots also hired Joe Judge as a quarterbacks coach. Joe Judge was fired from the Giants after posting just a 10-23 record in two seasons. I’m not confident either of these individuals will design an effective game plan. From a talent and experience standpoint, the Patriots have gotten slightly better. From a leadership standpoint, the Patriots have gotten fairly worse. I’d expect this side of the ball to play worse than last season.
New England will have plenty of veteran leadership in 2022. Deatrich Wise Jr, Davon Godchaux, Lawrence Guy, Matthew Judon, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Malcolm Butler, and Jalen Mills all begin their 5th or more season in the league. The Patriots are projected to not have a single rookie starting on defense. That chemistry and experience should do wonders for a defense that is taking a big step up in class in 2022. Outside of their 25th ranked strength of schedule, the main problem I see is the loss of JC Jackson. Jackson recorded eight and nine interceptions in 2021 and 2020 respectively. The Patriots elected to sign Malcolm Butler who is famous for his interception in Super Bowl XLIX. While I doubt Butler is able to replace what Jackson provided, he should at least be able to keep the secondary from imploding.
This may finally be the season that things unravel for the Patriots. I expect their offense to decline, I expect their defense to get exposed with a tougher strength of schedule. Unless Mac Jones rises to a level that is unexpected, I suspect that the Patriots finish with eight wins or less. At 8.5 -105 I like betting the under and it’s a bet I will make personally.