I need football back in my life. Correction, I just need sports back in my life. We know that the NBA and NHL are moving. The MLB can’t get out of their own way. That leaves us with the NFL. The NFL is slated to start on time. The only problem is that COVID might make a second splash in September. But assuming the NFL season starts on time, let’s talk Patriots. The Patriots have one of the more interesting teams coming into 2020. Obviously, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are in Tampa. A number of Patriots went to the Dolphins and Lions. So with that all in mind, let’s look at their schedule and make some predictions, shall we?
Week 1: vs. Miami Dolphins (9/13, 1:00 PM)
The Patriots find themselves kicking off the post-Tom Brady era against divisional foe Miami. Don’t forget, Miami has a lot of former Patriots on that sideline. Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts are a few big names to start with on Miami’s sideline. The thing to remember is this: Miami had one of the worst defenses in 2019. Sure, they added other pieces into the mix. But personally, I think this is the game that people get excited about the Patriots again. Jarrett Stidham will show people he’s going to be just fine taking over the reigns and the Patriots start the season on the right note.
Final Score: Patriots 28 Dolphins 17 (1-0)
Week 2: @ Seattle Seahawks (9/20, SNF)
This will be the first tough test of the season as the Patriots hit the road to take on the Seahawks in week two. Playing in Seattle against that 12th man is extremely tough. Russell Wilson is still Russell Wilson and can hurt you in more ways than one. Chris Carson leads the way in the backfield while D.K. Metclaf, Tyler Lockett, and old friend Philip Dorsett round out the receiving game. All in all, Stidham will fall back to earth a little bit and the Seahawks will be way too much for the Patriots to handle.
Final Score: Seahawks 31 Patriots 20 (1-1)
Week 3: vs. Las Vegas Raiders (9/27, 1:00 PM)
The Raiders are interesting here as they come to Gillette Stadium in week three. They have some young receivers, notably Henry Ruggs III from their 2020 draft class. But here’s a few things to think about with the Raiders. Derek Carr is not the 2016 Derek Carr. He’s taken some big steps backwards. The Raiders offense as a whole? Barely averaged 20 points a game in 2019. The Patriots are back home with a Raiders pass defense that was bottom tier in 2019. If Stidham limits the turnovers, the Patriots should win this game easily.
Final Score: Patriots 31 Raiders 14 (2-1)
Week 4: @ Kansas City Chiefs (10/4, 4:25 PM)
Let’s not pretend this game will really be close. The Chiefs are the best team in the NFL. Patrick Mahomes is now a Super Bowl MVP as well as regular season MVP. They have 11 of 12 offensive starters back. This one might get REALLY ugly.
Final Score: Chiefs 42 Patriots 17 (2-2)
Week 5: vs. Denver Broncos (10/11, 1:00 PM)
This is a battle of young quarterbacks going at each other: Drew Lock vs. Jarrett Stidham. Maybe it’s the Patriots fan in me, but I can’t see Denver coming in and beating New England in New England. Bill Belichick and his defense will stifle Lock and will get the Patriots back to over .500.
Final Score: Patriots 27 Broncos 17 (3-2)
Week 6: Bye
This bye week is HUGE for the Patriots going into the 49ers game. Giving Bill Belichick a whole extra week to prepare? Especially without Brady? Good luck San Fran!
Week 7: vs. San Francisco 49ers (10/25, 4:25 PM)
Normally, I give the clear edge to the 49ers. A stout defense, an improving Jimmy G, and a top five tight end in George Kittle are very scary. But that extra week can be a big factor. Kyle Shanahan will play a part in this too. I can see Shanahan making a bonehead decision at the end of the game that allows for New England to sneak out with a win.
Final Score: Patriots 24 49ers 21 (4-2)
Week 8: @ Buffalo Bills (11/1, 1:00 PM)
This has all the indications of a letdown game. The Bills should be drooling at the mouth to FINALLY overtake the AFC East. Their defense is one of the best in the NFL. They traded for Stefan Diggs in the off-season to give Josh Allen a top receiving target. They’re going for it this year. Buffalo hasn’t been a tough place for New England to play. This time though, Brady isn’t in their back pocket. Bills Mafia has their day of glory as the Bills find their way with the Patriots.
Final Score: Bills 28 Patriots 21 (4-3)
Week 9: @ New York Jets (11/9, MNF)
LOL. It’s the Jets, it’s Sam Darnold, c’mon now. Remember last year on Monday Night against the Jets? Yeah, expect more of the same this time around.
Final Score: Patriots 35 Jets 10 (5-3)
Week 10: vs. Baltimore Ravens (11/15, SNF)
This is one of the worst possible scenarios for the Patriots. Play the Jets on Monday night and then have to play the Ravens at home on a short week. The Ravens have reigning MVP Lamar Jackson with a solid defense and a coach in John Harbaugh who isn’t afraid of the Patriots. Could Jackson take a step back? Possibly. But I don’t know. I said on Legends Lingo this could be a surprise win for the Pats. But man, do I sound stupid after thinking about that now!
Final Score: Ravens 35 Patriots 24 (5-4)
Week 11: @ Houston Texans (11/22, 1:00 PM)
The Texans had their victory against the Patriots last season. That also was only a 28-22 win IN Houston. This Texans team is a team that I have no idea what direction they’re going in. When you trade away a Deandre Hopkins type of player for an injury risk in David Johnson, that’s a head scratcher. This is game that people expect the Patriots to just lay down and roll over. But honestly, it might be surprising to see the Patriots come in and take care of business. Plus, Houston’s pass defense was one of the worst in the NFL last season. Hopefully Jarrett Stidham puts on a clinic this game.
Final Score: Patriots 31 Texans 24 (6-4)
Week 12: vs. Arizona Cardinals (11/29, 1:00 PM)
The Cardinals are an up and coming team in the NFL. Kyler Murray looks to make a jump in year two. Cliff Kingsbury looks to get the Cardinals in a good spot in the NFC West. But for 2020, I think the Cardinals are still a year or two away from making that jump. Also, the Cardinal pass defense was the second worst in the NFL, only better than the Lions. This is another week that Stidham could have a big day.
Final Score: Patriots 28 Cardinals 17 (7-4)
Week 13: @ Los Angeles Chargers (12/6, 4:25 PM)
The Chargers are similar to the Patriots quarterback wise. They drafted Justin Herbert from Oregon to be the next good Charger quarterback with Philip Rivers now in Indianapolis. It’s a short week, but honestly, the Patriots should win this game just on having more talent alone.
Final Score: Patriots 24 Chargers 14 (8-4)
Week 14: @ Los Angeles Rams (12/10, TNF)
This is a game that will be an unexpected loss. The Rams lost Todd Gurley, but still have Jared Goff. It depends which Goff that Patriots get that night. Will it be the Goff that led the Rams to the Super Bowl against the Patriots? Or will it be the Goff that the league saw in 2019? A pit in my stomach tells me that in this one, the Patriots get 2018 Goff.
Final Score: Rams 27 Patriots 24 (8-5)
Week 15: @ Miami Dolphins (12/20, 1:00 PM)
This is the last game I expect the Patriots to lose in the 2020 season. It’s Miami and it’s a house of horrors. Sure, the Patriots took care of business in week two of 2019 last season. But that was also having Tom Brady, Josh Gordon, and Antonio Brown in that offense. I love the Patriots, but you can’t help but be afraid of Miami at least once a season.
Final Score: Dolphins 24 Patriots 14 (8-6)
Week 16: vs. Buffalo Bills (12/28, MNF)
Monday night football in Foxborough, MA against the Bills? That’s the only motivation I would need! The Bills beat the Patriots earlier this season with these predictions. Plus, a playoff spot could be on the line these last two weeks. The Patriots will show up when it matters the most. Buffalo will make a few mistakes that cost them in the long run and all of a sudden, the division could be up for grabs. Hey, crazier things have happened, right?
Final Score: Patriots 24 Bills 17 (9-6)
Week 17: vs. New York Jets (1/3, 1:00 PM)
Blowout. I don’t even think this game is close. The Jets stinks and the Patriots might need this game for either the division or just a playoff spot in general. Give me the Patriots against the Jets all day until they show they can at least be competitive in a game.
Final Score: Patriots 33 Jets 7 (10-6)
Non Patriots fans will call me biased. Others will call me plain crazy. But guess what? The Patriots still have a pretty good football team. They’re getting younger and faster, which is exactly what they needed. There are still good veterans in Julian Edelman, Stephon Gilmore, Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater, and others that still have a lot left in the tank. 10 wins isn’t as crazy as you might originally think. Could they go 9-7 or 8-8? Sure. But the way the NFL is, any team can beat any other team on any given game day. So tell me I’m an idiot. Tell me I’m crazy. Or, even tell me you can see where I’m coming from. Either way, let’s talk about it on my twitter or @CouchGuySports.