Now that the schedule is out, here’s an extremely early game by game prediction.
WEEK 1: vs. Miami Dolphins – Win. Despite some big off season additions, Miami’s quarterback (whoever that will be) won’t be able to break down the Pats defense.
WEEK 2: @ Seattle Seahawks – Loss. Jarrett Stidham won’t be able to break down Seattle’s defense, and Russell Wilson is able to do enough to get the win here.
WEEK 3: vs. Las Vegas Raiders – Win. Stephon Gilmore and the secondary are able to lock down Las Vegas lack of true weapons, and Stidham is able to pick apart a weak Las Vegas defense.
WEEK 4: @ Kansas City Chiefs – Loss. Patrick Mahomes does his part and a revamped Chiefs defense is too much for Stidham.
WEEK 5: vs Denver Broncos – Win. Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy provide a challenge for the secondary, but the front 7 is able to stifle Drew Lock and the run game enough for the win.
WEEK 6: Bye Week
WEEK 7: vs San Francisco 49ers – Loss. Battle of the defenses. Ultimately, Jimmy Garappolo is able to do more than Stidham and gets the win.
WEEK 8: @ Buffalo Bills – Loss. With Josh Allen having some new playmakers on offense, plus a stellar defense, they get the win here.
WEEK 9: @ New York Jets – Win. Sam Darnold still is seeing ghosts, and Stidham has an easy day at the office versus a subpar Jets defense.
WEEK 10: vs Baltimore Ravens – Loss. The reigning MVP Lamar Jackson is still too much to handle for the defense, as the Ravens run all over the defense for a win.
WEEK 11: @ Houston Texans – Win. This game could really go either way, as the Texans are a mess of an organization right now. Assuming that new additions Brandin Cooks and David Johnson will be healthy and productive is certainly a stretch, but if they are, this game could very easily go the other way.
WEEK 12: vs. Arizona Cardinals – Win. Home field here certainly helps, as Kyler Murray and his new entourage meet their match with the New England defense.
WEEK 13: @ Los Angeles Chargers – Win. Justin Herbert gets stifled by the defense and the running game has a field day against the soft front 7.
WEEK 14: @ Los Angeles Rams – Win. The defense held this team, when it had more weapons, to 3 points in the Super Bowl. Now without Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks, Bill Belichick will able to able to contain Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods with ease.
WEEK 15: @ Miami Dolphins – Loss. Even without Tom Brady, the Miami curse sticks with the team. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Devonte Parker have big games and put the game away.
WEEK 16: vs. Buffalo Bills – Win. Having already seen how Buffalo now operates first hand, Belichick is able to successfully draw up a game plan to stop Allen and company this time around.
WEEK 17: vs New York Jets – Win. Another encounter with New York yields the same result, and helps carry momentum towards the playoffs.
FINAL ANALYSIS: I have the Patriots going 10-6, and reaching the playoffs again (either wild card or winning the division). There are a couple games here that I could go either way with, and honestly this is probably a best case scenario. The way the season has to go for this to happen is the defense has to play well enough in order to allow Stidham the ability to learn and grow as a quarterback, and be able to start putting things together towards the end of the season. If they ultimately end up in the playoffs, I would bank on an early departure for the second year straight, as getting through the likes of Kansas City and Baltimore this year seems nearly impossible.
(Originally posted on May 7, 2020)