It would be an understatement to say that this past offseason was the most important offseason in New England Patriots history. Last season marked the first time the Patriots had a losing season in 20 years. Much of the Patriots' lack of success a season ago came from the fact that Covid-19 caused a few key players to miss games and some players to hold out the entire season. But it is safe to say that allowing the greatest quarterback of all time to depart with little to no push back will always be known as the main reason for poor play, especially considering that quarterback went on to win a Super Bowl in his first season away from the team.
After 20 years of sheer dominance, losing has become unacceptable in New England. Therefore, once free agency rolled around, Bill Belichick showed that he was not messing around, spending upwards of $230 million to improve the team. Despite all of the money the Pats threw around in free agency, there are still a couple of positions that could use some improvement.
Wide receiver is a position that Belichick assessed in free agency when they acquired Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. However, even though those two add solid depth to the wide receiver position, neither of those players supply very much top-end talent at the position as they are both number two receivers at best. Then again, one could argue the Patriots haven’t had a top end outside wide receiver since Randy Moss, so it is not unusual for the Pats to not have a true number one receiver.
The next mystery with the Patriots, and what has been the million-dollar question since the NFL draft, has been who will be the Patriots starting quarterback come week one? Going into preseason, and all throughout preseason, it seemed like the predetermined week one starter was going to be Cam Newton. That is, until Newton was surprisingly cut following the third and final preseason game, thus allowing rookie QB Mac Jones to step in right away as the starter week one.
The Patriots will be kicking off week one this week against the Miami Dolphins, where we will see two former Alabama quarterbacks and teammates face off against each other for the first time, Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones. It is safe to say that Jones will be under a microscope to start the season because fans want to see if Jones can truly be the successor to Tom Brady. Obviously, Jones likely will not reach the heights that Brady has reached in his career, but if you’re telling me that Jones can be a guy who can consistently make the playoffs and can maybe win a Super Bowl or two, then that would definitely be a win.
Season Prediction: 12–5 Wild Card
If you ask me, I believe that the 2021 Patriots can and will be significantly better than the 2020 Patriots. The Pats front seven on the defensive end will be a force to be reckoned with this season and they will absolutely win games on defense. If you ask me, I believe that going from Cam Newton to Mac Jones is an upgrade as well. At the end of the day, with the Patriots’ easier schedule, not only will they make the playoffs, but don’t be surprised if they win a few playoff games as well.