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32 Teams in 32 Days: New England Patriots

Key Additions 

Mike Gillislee: Gillislee was one of New England’s quieter free agency acquisitions this offseason, but could be a large part of their offense this season. Formerly of the Buffalo Bills, Gillislee sat behind star running back Lesean McCoy and was a solid compliment to him as a number two back. As apart of the Patriots, Gillislee has the chance to become a productive member of this offense.

Brandin Cooks: Acquired via trade with the New Orleans Saints in exchange for a first round pick, wide receiver Brandin Cooks is set to become Tom Brady’s new favorite target. His ground-breaking speed and catch radius skills will give this offense a new dimension. Cooks will benefit from his fellow receivers as he won’t be constantly double-teamed, since Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski will catch defensive coordinator’s attention.

Stephon Gilmore: Formerly of the Buffalo Bills, star cornerback Stephon Gilmore joined the Patriots in free agency this offseason. Gilmore is a good mix of being a ball hawk as well as a sound tackling corner. He and Malcolm Butler will form one of the league’s top cornerback duo and help New England compete for another Super Bowl run.

The Offense

The offense is one of the best in the league. 40 year old quarterback Tom Brady remains among one of the best players in the league and shows few signs of regression. The receiving corps is loaded with depth and the addition of Brandin Cooks makes this group elite. If healthy, tight end Rob Gronkowski is easily the best at his position. The offensive line is a top 15 unit, and if left tackle Nate Solder comes back healthy from injury and plays well, this group could be at the brink of being a top 10 unit.

The Defense 

The defense isn’t as good as the offense, but it’s still a top 10 unit. The defensive line is young but could see an improvement this year with a solid season from Trey Flowers and Malcom Brown.

The linebackers are lead by star linebacker Dont’a Hightower and can see more veteran leadership from free agency signing David Harris, formerly of the New York Jets. Other players like Elandon Roberts and Shea McClellin round out a solid unit.

The secondary is by far the biggest strength on this defense. Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler will prove to be a solid duo. Safeties Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung make this secondary an elite group.

Team Schedule and Season Outlook

Best Case Scenario: (14-2)

I don’t buy into the 16-0 hype that’s around this team. Although this team could reach those heights because of their talent, the schedule is too difficult to go undefeated. Playing the AFC West and the NFC South will be challenging and they’re bound to lose to teams that are worse than them.

If they go 14-2, they’ll only lose to competitive teams like the Chiefs, Raiders, Falcons or Steelers. They’ll need to forget about winning Super Bowl LI and focus primarily on this season.

Worst Case Scenario: (11-5)

I think their worst case scenario is their most realistic scenario. Winning back to back Super Bowls is a struggle in itself. Add the fact that their schedule is loaded with playoff contenders, and they’ll have a tough time winning more than 11 games. It won’t matter too much since they’re bound to win the division, but they are not a shoe-in to have a first round bye. Look for the Patriots to have a small Super Bowl hangover.

My Predictions

Week 1: vs. Kansas City

Result: (0-1)

Week 2: @ New Orleans

Result: (1-1)

Week 3: vs. Houston

Result: (2-1)

Week 4: vs. Carolina

Result: (3-1)

Week 5: @ Tampa Bay

Result: (4-1)

Week 6: @ NY Jets

Result: (5-1)

Week 7: vs. Atlanta

Result: (5-2)

Week 8: vs. LA Chargers

Result: (5-3)

Week 9: Bye Week

Week 10: @ Broncos

Result: (6-3)

Week 11: @ Oakland

Result: (6-4)

Week 12: vs. Miami

Result: (6-5)

Week 13: @ Buffalo

Result: (7-5)

Week 14: @ Miami

Result: (8-5)

Week 15: @ Pittsburgh

Result: (9-5)

Week 16: vs. Buffalo

Result: (10-5)

Week 17: vs. NY Jets

Result: (11-5)

In conclusion, the Patriots will make the playoffs by winning the AFC East (again). Their tough schedule and recent Super Bowl win will make this team underwhelm compared to their lofty expectations.

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