The Evil Empire will look different for the first time in 20 years as Tom Brady waved farewell to the Patriots this past March for sunny Tampa Bay. While many have thought this would mark the end of the Patriots dynasty it would be foolish to count out Bill Belichick so easily. With a Monday Night football replay of the dreaded “Ghost Game” at home and a season finale Week 17 at Gillette the Jets should by no means be underestimating the Patriots in 2020.
- Buffalo Bills
- San Francisco 49ers
- Indianapolis Colts
- Denver Broncos
- Arizona Cardinals
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Kansas City Chiefs
Coaching – There is not much that needs to be said about Bill Belichick, his 6 Super Bowl Rings as HC of the Patriots speak for themselves as he is the unquestioned best coach in the league. He is 30-11 as HC of the Patriots vs the Jets including 8 straight wins. While BB controls the defense OC Josh McDaniels is in charge of the offense. McDaniels a divisive figure by many enjoyed tremendous success with Tom Brady as his QB. It had long been noted that McDaniels wanted a mobile QB to add another layer to his offensive scheme and he could never do that with Brady. Now with Cam Newton it’s going to be interesting to see what new creative scheme McDaniels comes up with.Personnel– While the Patriots looked to be heading into the 2020 with the unknown Jared Stidham at QB they inked a 1-year deal with former MVP Cam Newton in June. Newton has struggled with injuries the past 2 years but now fully healthy if he looks anything like he did in the beginning of 2018 Cam might prove to be an upgrade on 41-year-old Tom Brady. Joe Thuney, David Andrews, and Shaq Mason make up the most dominant interior OL unit in football and if LT Isaiah Wynn can finally stay healthy for a full 16 the Patriots will again have one of the best OL units in the NFL. Stephon Gilmore is the best CB in the NFL and is the reigning DPOY. JC Jackson and Jonathan Jones are two of the most underrated players in football and Devin McCourty is still there at safety as New England looks poised to again be the best secondary in football.
Potential Weaknesses– The Patriots have lost a lot of big names from their 2019 team. Jaime Collins, Kyle Van Noy, Danny Shelton and Tom Brady left in FA. They have also lost the most players to COVID 19 Opt outs as starters RT Marcus Cannon, MLB Dante Hightower, S Patrick Chung, and FB Danny Vitale elected not to play this year.
They also have major question at their skill positions. Julian Edelemen is now 34 years old and battled multiple injuries last year. RB Sony Michel and WR N’Keal Harry are the Patriots 2 previous first round picks who have struggled to live up to that billing. Mohmaed Sanu looked nothing like the player he was in Atlanta after coming to New England in a trade last year and they are relying on two rookies to play TE for them this year.
Matchup with the Jets– With all their roster turnover and COVID opt outs the Patriots are the most vulnerable they have been in 20 years going into a season. That being said they are still a tough matchup for the Jets. The Jets receivers will struggle going up against that loaded secondary and Bill Belichick can always manufacture a pass rush regardless of the talent in his front 7. It is hard to project how the Jets defense can matchup with the Patriots as their offense will look entirely different under Cam as it did with Brady running the show. But this is the best offensive line Cam Newton has played with in his career and he is on a revenge tour against the NFL for thinking he is washed.Sam Darnold in his 2 years has struggled in his games against AFC East opponents especially New England. If the Jets are going to get their first win against the Patriots since 2015 he is going to have to be the reason why. The teams that will succeed in this Covid NFL world are the ones that are the most prepared and best believe Bill Belichick will have the Pats ready when they face off with the Jets.