Not sure how bold any of mine will be, but they're just predictions:
- 9 or 10 wins, maybe a playoff berth, could win 1-2 playoff games if we make it in but no ring
- The passing game will still be frustrating, but it'll be more like 2019 where the problem is clearly the receivers and not the QB
- JJ Taylor will be our #2 RB and keep Stevenson from playing much as a rookie (but it's okay because Taylor will be really good)
- Meyers will be more productive in the passing game than either of our expensive new tight ends or Agholor
- Pass rush and run defense will be significantly better than last year thanks to Judon, Uche, Hightower, KVN. Possibly Godchaux and Barmore as well, although I need to see more from them
- JC Jackson will get a lot of picks and allow a lot of TD; the secondary in general might disappoint, especially while Gilmore is out
- I'll try not to jump on this bandwagon, but people are going to start calling Dugger a bust because he'll still be mediocre in coverage
- Nordin will be demoted to PS by October, Folk won't be as good as he was last year, and we just get an entirely new kicker midseason and start this whole process over again in March for the 3rd consecutive year
If these things happen, it won't be a sexy year for the Pats, but valuable groundwork will be in place and I'll be satisfied.
Much closer to what I expect.
However, this team hasn't played one single snap together as a team against real NFL caliber players during a real NFL game.
There are a lot of new players, rookies, and vets that opted out last year. It's not just all going to magically come together because we wish it. Mistakes will be made. Communication issues will happen. How long it all takes to come together, anyone's guess.
I'll wait for the season to begin, watch intently and root for the team. I have no expectations or prognostications so carry on.
Much closer to how I should
approach these threads. But I can't help myself...
* Mac Jones production: 3400 yards if a 17 game starter. I think I said 18 TD, 13 Int.... that's probably the low side of what I think is possible/likely. Funny how low that 18 passing TDs prediction looks when Cam's out of the building.
* Pats backfield leads the league in rushing yards and TDs, and flirt with 2 1,000 yard rushers (thanks for that extra game to make those bones, NFL.) I'm going with Harris and Stevenson
*Rhamondre Stevenson breaks out and becomes a 3-down back for certain games, and is a major nightmare for opposing defenses. It's still going to be a role-playing, committee structure, but unless he gets banged up, I see him as hogging more roles than we might expect. (I should acknowledge here that I am high on him based on his play against 2s and 3s, but can't shake the feeling that he'll be something special.)
* People here will declare Nelson Ahlgolong a bust who can't get open deep, because unless we're in a shootout, our default mode will be keeping out of shootouts, controlling the pace of the game, and beating the shlitz out of teams at the LOS. Why, oh why do we keep trying to "misuse" him in intermediate routes? Darn you Josh MacDaniels, Darn you to HECKKKKKKKK.
* BB will be just fine with high firepower acquisitions amassing middling stats. The acquisitions were not made to create Mac Jones' flying circus. They are there to make sure Mac Jones has a shot to win games with his arm when necessary,
and to not throw him into this season with a bare cupboard.
* Patriots defensive backfield - and entire D - increasingly gets credit as an "elite" unit. Then they either get "exposed" at some point, or become one for the ages, based on a tiny number of plays -- as is always the case. A suffocating D is suffocating until it's not... and the really great ones are only great once the season's over. I think we'll look back happily at this unit, and maybe... maybe...
we'll look back at it in awe.
* Tom Brady sends a private secret encrypted message to Bill Belichick pledging his undying love for the team and organization, and begging to be permitted to play here as Mac Jones' backup for league minimum.
Okay that last one is just to make the other ones look less ridiculous if only by comparison.